Who Is Sleeping In Your Bed?




I am asleep and you are not. There I am. Sound asleep, eyes closed in blissful repose seemingly unaffected by what unfolded earlier. My chest rises and falls in a slow rhythm, my breathing relaxed and regular. There may come a time when you want to halt that breathing. You may wish to place one of those full pillows across my peaceful face and press down with all your strength and will. You may wish to press it tight against my mouth and nose, leaning what bodyweight you have in order to prevent my frantic scrabbling hands from ripping away the pillow so I can breathe once again. That desire, although you will not do it, few have the willpower to see it through, may well appear time and time again and sooner than you think. The image of snuffing out such a toxic life through the concerted application of something so innocuous as a pillow. It is unlikely to be the only image which takes up residence in your head. Pictures of slips off cliffs, a hit and run, a toaster in the bath, some obscure and undetectable poison administered in a setting where there would be more suspects that Cluedo. So many murderous scenarios which you may well come to envisage say exactly as you are now. In our bed. In the middle of the night.

I sleep soundly, the sleep of the just and the righteous. The earlier incident has not troubled me. Or is it that I have fallen asleep in the stupor of drink, the alcoholic fumes having coaxed me into a coma? Then again, might it be a reliance on certain prescription drugs that I repeatedly avail myself of which has rendered me dead to the world? It may be any of those things, but whichever it is, I am asleep and you are not. You remain awake because you cannot sleep. You are sat, knees drawn to your chest, eyes fixed on me as your mind whirls. Amongst all the tumbling thoughts, the whirling considerations and the surging memories, one thought above all dominates, repeats and looms large.

Who is he?

What has prompted such earnest consideration? It was an isolated incident. Perhaps a savage rebuke when all seemed peaceful. A pleasant day that suddenly was torn apart by the acidic tongue which sprayed cutting remarks in your direction. You remember how I looked. It did not seem like me. I appeared possessed. Eyes darkened, brow furrowed, mouth twisted and expression set in one of hatred. You had never witnessed that before. In fact, you found the way I looked more frightening than what I said. Where did that come from? You are struggling to remember how the argument began. Something to do with not listening, that was it, but how it escalated. The irritation lasted but a moment before anger, rage and fury erupted and you found yourself shrinking away from this verbal violence. This had never happened before. Everything had been so wonderful. Yes, you had heard a couple of people remark about my temper but in all those blissful months you had never seen it appear once. Even during testing times, I remained calm, serene, almost glacial at times when the pressure mounted. That was part of why you admired me. My ability to keep my head. So what just happened but a few hours earlier? Who was that? It did not seem like me, but it had to have been me, there was nobody else in the room.

Now you sit in the still of the bedroom. The low glow from the lamp to your left shining across my features. There is no anger etched upon my face now. I look just how I always look when I sleep, as if nothing in the world could matter. You have often stayed up and watched over me, happy to stroke my chest or my brow, my occasional murmurs of satisfaction and the slight upturning of my mouth denoting the contentment that I derive from your attentive ministrations. So, I lie there, just as I would any other night. Sleeping. Calm. Tranquil. I am just the same as I always am on every other night when you have watched over me. Yet, still the question comes again. Who was that who appeared earlier?

Following the eruption, I went out and left you. You did not know what to do at first. You felt shell-shocked. Once you had gathered yourself you telephoned your best friend and explained what had happened, providing her with every detail of the wonderful day beforehand and every frame of the storm which blew up in an instant.

“Oh it’s nothing,” she said in her familiar reassuring voice, “couples argue, Pete and me we are always having rows. Let him cool off, he will be fine. Now, tell me about that new book you mentioned the other day, is it any good.”

Your best friend brushed it off. Perhaps she was right. After all, don’t all couples fall out at some time? Of course. Your parents did not do so, not often anyway, so perhaps you have an unrealistic idea of how you should get on together. Despite her reassurances you remained worried and called your sister.

“Blimey, that is a surprise,” she remarked after hearing your recollection, “he is always so lovely, I didn’t think he had it in him. He will be back. They always come back, he is probably feeling a bit of a tit for shouting at you and just needs to go and have a beer or something. Seriously, it is nothing to worry about.”

But worry you did. The succession of calls was made to other friends, your brother and your grandmother. They all rolled out reassurance and posited platitude in order to assuage your concerns.

“Oh don’t be so sensitive, you’ve had your first argument, welcome to the club.”

“I bet he is stressed, probably working too hard, you did say he has been working long hours recently. I bet he comes back with an apology and flowers. Just give him some space for an hour or two.”

“I would go berserk if I had to live with you sis, no, seriously, he is just letting off steam, you two are great together.”

“Oh your granddad had a foul temper but we never went to bed on an argument. That’s how we were married for fifty years. You expect too much; you have to work at a relationship my dear.”

They all thought along similar lines. It is part and parcel of a relationship. It just hurts because it is the first time. You want to hug me and say sorry for worrying so much but you do not want to disturb me. You chastise yourself for thinking too much into it. Of course, you always over-think things and as everybody said I came back. I returned after a couple of hours, smiled and took you in my arms as if nothing had happened. You did not want to talk about the incident. That black mark on an otherwise golden day and therefore you did not. Your relief at my smiling return was so great you did not want to let go of me and we stood hugging for several minutes. The rest of the evening passed with dinner and a film before heading to bed together where I fell asleep in an instant.

I showed no concern at what had gone on. There was no apology but you didn’t mind. You hadn’t any desire to re-visit what had happened, at least you did not want to do so with me, but you have not been able to help doing so for the last two hours as you have sat here in bed, looking at me, wondering and pondering. Those words were so venomous, that expression so hateful, even now the memory makes you feel on edge. Still, everybody you spoke to reassured you and they must be right mustn’t they, if they all thought along similar lines? People who have had longer relationships than you. They clearly know something about it and everybody played it down. It must be you over-reacting to a spat, a frightening one, but perhaps that was all it was. A one-off. An isolated incident. You hope it is because you did not like that person who I turned into, not one bit. You do not want to meet him again. He is not the person you fell in love with. He is not the person you adore and care for. He is not the person you moved in with and want to be with for the rest of your life. You did not recognise him. Whoever he was, he does not belong in your bed.

There I sleep. At ease. Content. Untroubled. You think you know me. You think you know who sleeps in your bed with you.

You have no idea.

That’s how easily it starts and neither you or anybody else knows the truth of who is sleeping in your bed.

23 thoughts on “Who Is Sleeping In Your Bed?

  1. MB says:

    Joy is right Jane! Good riddance!

    1. Jane Hall says:

      Just feel like a soldier that’s been in a war for 30 odd years. I am learning a new reality. My brother kindly told me “Some soldiers don’t make it – they have PTSD and hang themselves” Thanks Brother. I miss having someone to talk to (when he was sane/nice and I miss the hugs. Will I meet someone again? I hope so. But first the healing.

      1. MB says:

        Virtual hugs from me Jane. I know it’s not the same. Take your meds if you have them. Don’t try to prove anything by white knuckling it. You’ll make it through. Sounds like your brother is supportive through a bit of sick humor there. If he thought you were a suicide risk, he wouldn’t play. Sounds like he loves you. Talk to the folks here. They are very nice, welcoming, comforting and most of them will “get” what you’re going through. You will find validation and support if you need to reach out.

      2. Jane Hall says:

        Thanks MB – appreciate your kind words.
        Not on meds.
        I am OK, my family are supportive.
        Had two vivid dreams last night. My X hugging me and his mum berating me. Then another vivid dream – My X was on a syringe driver (palliative care patients are put on syringe drivers) and I left work to see my X
        My sister just says the dreams are all part of the healing process.
        It could take me 2 years or more she said.

        Onward and upward.

  2. Jane Hall says:

    Oh the times this has happened!

    Once he was ? unwell and having a hypo (low blood sugar) attack – I called the ambulance as he wouldn’t respond to me at all. Once the paramedics had left – and of course he woke up for them straight away, he berated me and was totally evil and venomous!!

    If I was working the next day he would fart away in bed – shift around, get up, start talking – ranting about my family or some imagined slight against him.

    The times – especially towards the end of our terrible relationship – when he would lie next to me, pretending to sleep soundly while my heart pounded. But when I got up and went downstairs he would be up straight away wide awake.

    It used to amaze me how he could have a massive rant and cause World war 3 and then sleep like he was full of peace and ignore me affected so traumatically by his evil behaviour.

    I sleep well now he is gone. Joy.

    1. LYNN says:

      Gosh Jane sounds aweful x

      1. Jane Hall says:

        It was awful. Having to go through Healing now. Been on my first short break without him. By the sea. Therapeutic. Went by myself but there were others there alone for the Quiet day on the Wednesday. I am proud of myself, getting this far. Sometimes I do miss him, but I know that there is no going back. Only forward.

  3. Healing Victim says:

    Mine at times would have his leg jerking in bed. Now I think of it, maybe it was the secrets and lies hidden in his body of evil. Maybe his brain was out to lunch, BUT the body can hold on to stress. That is how many people get sick. Holding in secrets abuse lies evil. WOW I hope he gets a death sentence illness that monster. Happy Sleeping…

  4. LYNN says:

    I remember one morning me shuffling around in the dark to get ready for an early start at work but despite my attempts to be as quiet as a mouse I still managed to wake him up. He wasn’t going to work, he was on holiday and could just have gone back to sleep when I left but he was so angry yelling and shouting at me, accusing me of being selfish and thoughtless. Strangely he often fell asleep with the TV blasting but if I couldn’t sleep and put my computer on very quietly in bed he would immediately wake up and again berate me for my selfishness and thoughtlessness. Bloody shister

    1. MB says:

      Double standard. What an asshole! Getting in that big of a foaming dither, he could forget going back to sleep after that!

      1. LYNN says:

        Ha thanks gang for the support your all great. I remember when we were walking around a town trying to decide which restaurant to eat in and all of a sudden he exploded that I should know how hungry he was and I was so selfish keeping him waiting to eat!!!! I have quite a few of those sick stories x

    2. NarcAngel says:

      If a shister is an asshole then I agree.

      1. HG Tudor says:

        It is shyster. Usually applied to ball-washing bastards.

        1. MB says:

          A con-man. We use the word shyster a lot here. Used car salesman, ambulance chasing attorneys, you know the type!

          1. NarcAngel says:

            However you spell it he’s still an asshole lol.

          2. tigerchelle78 says:

            Or rather as us Brits would say it : an arsehole! Emphasis on the arse!

  5. MB says:

    Have you ever been concerned about going to sleep, HG? Or just hide all the pillows from her?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Ha ha of course not, nobody would be so stupid.

      1. MB says:

        Never say never. Nah, I’m sure you’re so sugary sweet nobody would ever want to hurt you HG!

        1. MB I don’t think he is sugary or sweet. At least I don’t picture him to be.

          1. MB says:

            You are correct tigerchelle. I was being a little bit snarky there. He is positively delightful to some and positively awful to others. I consider myself fortunate to be in the former group and would very much like to stay there.

        2. tigerchelle78 says:

          I see HG as confident, cunning, and calculating….. I guess we all conjure up different images of him in our minds eye. We could all be wrong, who knows?!

          1. MB says:

            Oh yes…we do 😉

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