A week ago, while John went skiing with friends (newsflash: I hate snowsports, so I didn't go), I stayed up during all hours of the night - not going to bed until 12 or 1 a.m.
Was I indulging in some kind of secret past-time that I didn't want my husband to know about? Or catching up on bad TV? Not really (although, I did binge-watch the entire Season 4 of House of Cards over two days). It's just that I don't sleep well when he's not beside me.
But it goes beyond that: I can't relax when John's not home. I pad around the house in my socks, jumping at every noise, startled by my own reflection in a dark window, muscles tensed and fists clenched. I check the locks on our front door not once, twice, but three times. I hold my breath as our alarm counts down to its "armed" mode. Unsettled.
Sure enough, the day he came back, I was like a puppy scratching at the front door. But then a curious thing happened: nearly as soon as he walked in, I felt ... sleepy. So sleepy that, when we went out for a celebratory dinner (celebrating the fact that he was back, duh), I nearly dozed off into my favorite bowl of pasta (Gamberoni, if you really want to know).
"What's wrong with you?" he asked, as he nearly had to half-carry me home at 9 p.m.
"I'm shhhoooo shleeepy," I whined into his jacket, my face obscured by his scarf.
Indeed, over the next few nights, I muttered my excuses after dinner and headed straight to bed: at 8:30 p.m. I thought I was coming down with something, until I realized that ... I was sleeping so well because I felt safe again.
And there's only one other place I feel like that at: my home in Washington (that's State, not D.C., for all you non-PNW folks). Back in my childhood home, tucked well under my comforter (I can still imagine the feeling of my mom's hands tucking in all the corners around my legs, like she did when I was little), the familiar sounds of the oil furnace roaring outside my bedroom door, my Hello Kitty clock with its steady, loud ticking and my parents' footsteps overhead - I feel safe. And so very loved. It's the same kind of safety and love I feel in my home here in London, when John's in it.
It wasn't until he visited my parents' house for the first time that I realized all these cues I took for signs of "safety" were actually a little strange: "That clock is so loud," he complained, putting a pillow over his head. "And that furnace is so noisy!" But I smiled, revelling in all the recognizable noises that made me feel utterly, and completely relaxed. Settled. Safe.
Is it just me, or do you sleep better when you're in a specific place? Or in bed with a specific person?