In the past I have sort of secretly enjoyed Earl’s business trips because it meant that I had the whole bed to myself and could get a good night’s sleep. There was no tossing and turning nor triple-digit decibel snoring coming from the other side of the bed, just myself curled up enjoying the quiet of the night as I slept peacefully.

After over 9 years of living together, I’m finding I miss the big lug when he’s out of town. I can’t get a good night’s sleep when he’s gone. My dreams, which I usually remember quite vividly, are just a hazy bunch of mismatched images. The room is exceedingly quiet, to the extent that I leave the radio on with NPR whispering BBC news and commentary into my slumber.

When Earl is home, he can be restless and have difficulty sleeping, so he usually retires to another part of the house; checking out what’s on television, messing around on his computer, whatever. I sleep through all of this activity because I subconsciously know that he’s nearby.

I don’t know who had the idea that married/partnered/shacked up/whatever couples need to sleep in the same bed all night long. In the past I’ve believed that you go to bed, get all wild by doing everything short of swinging from the chandeliers (though that could be fun too) and then roll over to your extreme sides of the bed so that you could get a good night’s sleep. As I get older, I’m finding that I’d rather follow up the wild part with just snuggling and settling in for the night, like two bears getting ready for their long winter’s nap.

Earl is in Asheville, North Carolina as I type. He’s taking a flight late this afternoon to Charlotte and then hopping a plane to home. I’m hoping that Hurricane Ophelia holds off long enough so that his flights will bring him home safely.

I don’t think I can sleep again tonight in an empty cave.