I slept on the couch last night.
No arguments preceded this. Not even a harsh word. If anything, there was some affection and mutual congratulations over a party well-done and a reasonably clean house after a busy weekend. It was uncannily quiet in the house, after X fell asleep, since Emily has gone to my mother’s for a week and the house just feels different when she’s not in it. As though her very presence echoes down the hall even when she’s sleeping.
No, there was no drama to be had. Except for the brief moment of, “Oh, whoops,” when I realized I had signed on for an overtime shift at work and had forgotten to turn my phone on. Happily, I didn’t miss any calls in that hour, and I wasn’t startled or confused when the phone did ring, later on.
I just prefer to sleep in the living room when I’m on call. That way, I can sleep with a low light on in the kitchen, enough to be able to write down a phone number but not enough to ruin my night vision. And I can guiltlessly take a phone call without actually sitting up or moving around; I’m sure Willem would eventually stop making his irritated-but-sleeping noises at me if I returned a call from bed, but first of all that’s kind of a failure of confidentiality and secondly it’s just creepy. I feel a very strong need to have pants on whenever I speak to a client, even if it is from my home at 3:00 in the morning.
It’s a secret pleasure of mine, too, sleeping in the living room. I don’t do it often, because sleeping next to my husband is (usually) better, but there’s something about just letting sleep wash over me, just drifting away without bothering to move down the hallway and into my own bed. Especially since that process, the couch-to-bed migration, is not a simple A-to-B process. There’s the check to be sure the doors are locked, and then a kiss on the forehead and straightening of covers for Jacob, and a tiptoed peek at Emily up in her bunk. Then I need to trip over the cat, stumble through the darkened bedroom to switch the air conditioner from “Freeze Your Toes Off” to “Merely Circulate Cold Air,” and then finally make it to bed. There’s a lot of thinking and movement and general awakening that happens in that trip.
So when I can get away with sleeping on the couch without causing weird emotions or getting that what-are-you-doing? look, I enjoy it. It has always baffled me, a little, that common cliche that sleeping on the couch much be the result of an argument that ended badly – or didn’t end at all. Do people really do that? Go sleep there, or make their spouse do so, just because they’re still mad?
I know, the truly healthy thing is to follow the “Don’t go to bed angry” rule, but some nights it’s just late and I’m tired and dammit, still mad. But in those circumstances, I’d much rather punish Willem with my continued, irritable presence, particularly because I possess the ability to sleep at a moment’s notice under any conditions, and I know he’ll lie awake and glare at the side of my peacefully slumbering head for hours.
We have to carve out our snide little amusements where we can, sometimes.