We went camping a lot when I was a kid. Most summer vacations were weeklong trips to a KOA or a state park. There were several weekends throughout my childhood where mom had to work and since dad was a teacher with weekends off, he would throw all the gear in the back of his Suzuki Trooper and we’d head for the campground. What are you supposed to do with small children, anyway? You take them to the woods, teach them how to put up a tent, build a fire and let them run around until they’re exhausted.
As a child I loathed camping. We went a lot. I mean, a lot. And camping in Florida is maybe, a little bit, just like being in hell for an overweight child. It’s always 100 degrees in the summertime. Also, fat girls are not prone to any type of strenuous activity or really, movement of any kind. Exercise is directly correlated with sweating and fat children already sweat more than normal children just by simply standing in one spot. So, I always dreaded having to put the camp gear together because I knew it was going to be a long weekend of profuse perspiration while having to perform manual labor.
Camping is not all rainbows and sunshine, swimming in the lake, and singing Kumbaya in front of the fire while you roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories. For our family it included but was not limited to: having to stop 15 times on the way there for one of the kids to pee or dad pulling off the side of I-95 to reprimand us for pinching or kicking each other–Dad she won’t stop looking at me! Standing in the hot sun, puzzle-piecing together tent poles that are bent or missing altogether. Dad screaming: “GOD BLESS AMERICA! WHERE ARE THE STAKES! WHAT DID YOU DO WITH THEM!” for the whole campground to hear, then pulls everything out of the back of the SUV only to realize they were left on the front porch. Ants getting in the food, ticks behind your ears. Raccoons digging through the trash and having to clean it up the next morning. Discovering there are holes in the tarp during a rainstorm. Discovering there are holes in the air mattress when you wake up on the cold, hard ground. Spiders in the tent, dirt in your shoes, and dirty underwear from the previous user left on the shower floor. Roaches the size of your hand in the bathroom stall. Oh, and never forget to bring your own toilet paper. Always such a good time!
We started out tent camping but then dad got smart and we eventually upgraded to a popup camper, which wasn’t necessarily less work but it cut the set-up and breakdown time in half. We got more time to run around making friends with the other kids in the neighborhood and we definitely got to sleep in more comfortable beds. As we got older we got to invite friends to our weekend trips when mom couldn’t come and my dad had his camping buddy, Mr. Rick, who would also had a popup camper and two young kids our age.
I will admit that I have some pretty great memories from our camping trips. I learned how to ride a bicycle at Manatee Springs State Park. I saw a pelican for the first time at a campground in Key West when I was in the 3rd grade. I discovered my love for hot air balloons at Spirit of the Suwanee State Park when I was in middle school. I will never forget the hundreds of Daddy Long-Leg spiders inside the screened-in room attached to the side of the camper, during our trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. We were there for a week and I spent most of the week freaking out and crying because I refused to go in there until dad killed them all and could prove to me that they were dead. The first time I ever held a boy’s hand was at Anastasia State Park. As we walked down to the communal fire pit he grabbed my hand and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was 10. I loved going to see the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review when we stayed at the Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney World and we always got brunch our last morning there at the restaurant on site. The mini waffles in the shape of Mickey Mouse were a must.
Our enthusiasm for camping eventually died out. Mom became a store manager and dad went back to school to get his PhD. My sister, brother and I also grew up and became more involved in school and our lives. My parents sold the camper and family vacations became few and far between. But when we did go they were cruises to Mexico and Alaska, cabin rentals in the mountains and resorts on the beach. No complains from the kids and there was significantly less sweat involved for me unless I was in a bathing suit on the sand or by the pool.
There has recently been lot of talk of reliving the glory days and purchasing a new camper. One for my parents, obviously, but to be used for family excursions, as well. My parents fond memories of our camping trips consist of the kids doing all the work while they sat in their lawn chairs with their feet propped up on the icebox, reading the latest Faye Kellerman novel while slurping on a diet coke and snacking on Pringles. They forget pulling over on the side of the road, no hot water or power half the time, it being either extremely hot or extremely cold and the infamous screaming at each other to shut up, its not my fault! I didn’t do it, she did! Dad!
Alas, they’ve decided they’re getting to the age where planning for retirement is a necessity and feel the need to invest in a vehicle to fulfill their desire for adventure and relaxation. My siblings and I were hoping for a three-story vacation home on the side of a lake somewhere along the Appalachian Trail. One we could borrow for romantic getaways with our significant others. One that didn’t require assembly. But each visit home there is a new brochure laying on the coffee table for different brand of travel trailers. Now it seems their decision is set in stone and they’re just deciding between an AirStream or a Coachman.
I think they stole the idea from our neighbors who traveled to a different state each summer when they retired and became empty nesters. They would ask my sister and I to babysit their cats for them when they would go away on trips. They had magnets on their refrigerator for each state they visited. This was probably twenty years ago, and even then they were only missing a few states, which I thought was amazing. How do people have so much time to go to all the states!? One day after we fed the cats we gave ourselves a self-guided tour through their two-story house. I have never admitted that and to this day I still feel terrible to being such a sneak. We didn’t take anything, I swear.
I have to admit though; the idea of getting to go camping with the family again excites me! Yeah, my parents have their luxury suite on wheels and my siblings and I will probably be stuck putting together another tent riddled with holes but, they’re new memories that we get to build with my nieces and Chris who has never been camping a day in his life and said “your parent’s know I’m a black man, right” when he heard that the family vacation this summer was a camping trip.
A Pryor Family Vacation is never without screams of frustration and at least one: “God Bless America! Where the heck are the ______ (fill in the blank).” But, there will be memories made and hopefully funny stories to be told for many years to come. I hope my parents get to have 50 magnets to put on their fridge in the shape of the US and that we get to be along for the ride to a few of them.
I worry obsessively about things that should really not bother me and probably wouldn’t bother most people. I allow them to snowball into something much bigger than they actually are. I get overly emotional sometimes even a bit hysterical. I know, ridiculous. But it’s true.
My parents have told me that I am the child they worry about the most. I have put them through hell. They’ve told me that they’ve laid in bed many nights worrying about what bad decision I’m going to make next or when the next bout of depression or panic attack will be. They worry about me worrying, I think.
I remember when I decided to move home to Florida I would stay up for days straight trying to figure out how I would pack everything, how many hours it would take for me to get home, how much money it would cost, if I would still be able to keep my old room. If I’m going to keep my old room where would my bed go? Would it fit? Were mom and dad going to clean out the closet before I got there? Would I get a job? If I don’t get a job what am I going to do for money? I hope I don’t run into anyone I know. If I run into people I know what will they think of me? They’ll probably judge me because of my tattoos. No, they’ll judge me because I had to moved home. I’ve gained so much weight since high school. I’m a fat, tattooed slob that gave up. I worried myself sick, literally. I threw up almost every day before I made it back to Florida. I exhausted myself. I cried a lot. I called home a lot. My dad said: “Kim, you do not need to be worrying about this,” a lot. Yeah, I’m 27.
I spend a large amount of time stressing about work. Not about the amount of work I have to do or the difficulty but I’m always on edge about getting fired. I have never been fired from a job and I take pride in having a strong work ethic. But, I’m scared that I’m not informative enough, or I lack excitement and enthusiasm with new admits or I’m just throwing around all the wrong information. Or, that I might mess up someone’s financial aid or degree plan by giving them bad advice. I worry that I’m not professional, that my jokes are inappropriate, that my sweaters are too faded or my shoes are scuffed. I worry that they think I’m lying when I have a cold and use my leave. I worry that they’ll find out about my blog and fire me. I worry that if I’m not 10 minutes early then I’m late. I worry that they don’t think I’m smart enough.
Three of my superiors wrote recommendation letters for me for my graduate school application and I’m just today giving them Thank You cards. I’m worried they think I’m ungrateful. I mean, I felt sick to my stomach over this. Because I was admitted weeks ago and never gave them a formal thank you note.
I spent a good two weeks going over and over a financial aid presentation I was supposed to give to 200 prospective students and their parents. The night before my presentation I didn’t sleep. I went over it twice and timed it with the stopwatch on my phone. The next morning 35 people showed up and I nailed the presentation. I was so excited about it when it was over because it was a piece of cake. NBD. But, I worried about it for two weeks and almost cried I was so nervous about it.
So, this last week I’ve had high stress and anxiety. Over things that don’t really matter but I think it might make me feel a little bit better if I put it out there. So here is my list of just things that have been bothering me.
First, Chris and I are going to Disney World for Spring Break. I do not get on roller coasters. I’m terrified of having a brain aneurysm or the jolt from the take-off or the stop will dislocate my spine and I’ll be paralyzed. I cried hysterically the first time I went on Splash Mountain. We purchased the family picture from the ride. The one they take when the flume drops. Everyone in the photo has their hands in the air, beaming with excitement. I, on the other hand, am the only person in the photograph gripping the rails in front of me, mid-blood curdling scream, if you look up close, you can see tears of fear streaming down my face. So, no, I’m not into anything that has “Mountain” in the name or could potentially end your life. That being said, I’m mostly worried about frustrating Chris by not getting on anything other than like It’s A Small World and Peter Pan.
I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday. I haven’t taken my cholesterol medicine in a few weeks and I just had blood work done. I know the numbers will be high again and my doctor will be disappointed in me and tell me that I need to lose weight. Therefore, I worry that I’ll die of heart disease at an early age because I love bacon and avoid the gym to eat Chipotle.
I’m worried that I have no eggs left and I won’t be able to bear children. If I am fortunate enough to have children I’m afraid I’ll be an old mom because Chris wants to wait until we’re established, responsible adults, which, Hi, is a long way off for me.
I’m scared that I’ll die in a car accident because my car will run off the road into a lake or a ditch and I won’t be able to get out. Chris recently bought me one of those knives that cuts your seat belt and breaks your window, just for my peace of mind. I will take several alternative routes if I know there is going to be traffic over a body of water and I’m stuck on a bridge for an extended period of time. I don’t care if it’s longer.
I also have pretty terrible social anxiety. This has been an ongoing issue for me. My friends make me feel guilty about not going out with them and only seeing me once or twice a month. Chris hates that we only ever go out to eat and I have lived here almost two years and still don’t know where the best bars in town are located. I don’t like large groups of people. I don’t like parties or clubs. I rarely go to bars. I’m not big on chit-chat. I leave places early. I avoid goodbyes. Mostly because I worry about what other people think of me. How I look. The things I say; whether I’m funny or not. That people think my humor and sarcasm is heartless or that I’m too negative; that I really am a mean-spirited and selfish girl. I’m worried that that’s true. I’m trying to establish compromise in my relationships. This is very hard for me because I’m not open to new things.
On top of all that I feel like I really hurt a friend’s feelings by not offering her a place to stay in a time of need. I probably should have but Mark was not interested in another person sleeping on our couch, which I understand. But, I still feel like a terrible person. And she probably thinks I am one because we just danced around the subject with passive aggressive comments over social media about how I’m a bad friend for not offering up a pallet on my floor. “Haha Kim, You’re such a bitch, I would let you stay with me…Just sayin’!” That kind of thing. But honestly, I worried for a good three days about whether or not this was something I should really worry about and then worried about the kind of person I am and how I portray myself to other people, especially people I care about. I worried about how much I cared or didn’t care about her situation and finally had to talk myself into letting it go. Adele Dazeem, Idina Menzel (?) would tell me to let it go. Let it goooo, Let it goooo! She seemed to not be too upset about it when I told her I asked Mark and it was a no go for her sleeping at our place. So I feel like I stressed for no reason.
I know that this is utterly ridiculous and it may even sound made up but this is a very real and serious issue for me. I feel like my heart is going to explode in my chest and I have no control over my emotions or my feelings, I get clammy and break out in cold sweats. I lose sleep, I make myself sick, I cry a lot. If only it allowed me to stop eating, if anything I’m confronted by food, it calms me down a bit, I suppose.
Thankfully, it hasn’t gotten that bad in a while but this last week was a rough one for me. I’m always on the edge of a panic attack about one thing or the next. So, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do moving forward. Other than suck it up and try not to freak out and take more naps. And no, I’m not interested in Xanex or Prozac.
I have always kept a shoebox full of junk. There are small trinkets of things I can’t let go of. Old pairs of sunglasses, buttons with funny sayings on them, comment cards given to me from former guests I had the pleasure of serving, old notes passed between friends in middle school. I keep my box underneath my bed. I very rarely pull it out and look through these items and I’m only reminded of their presence when I’m searching for a missing sock or earring and pull up the bed skirt and see that it’s still tucked away, between old books and picture frames.
They are memories from different times and places that I like to be reminded of from time to time. Like a certain scent that reminds you of your grandmother’s house in the summertime or a song that reminds you of the day you got your first car and you drove around town with the windows down and the radio up.
About a month ago, out of the blue, mid conversation about something unimportant Chris says to me: “How long are you planning on keeping those letters that you have under your bed?” I know exactly what letters he’s talking about. I was taken aback by the fact that he even knows I have letters under my bed and I felt a bit disappointed in him for going through my things. He told me he saw them when we we’re fixing the box spring last fall. He said he took note of the name scribbled on the top of the envelopes. I said: “I don’t know, I never thought about it before. But I’ve never had any plans to dispose of them.”
The letters are from my ex boyfriend from when he was in jail in 2006. There are probably two-dozen or so. I’ve never re-read them since that time; I just keep them in my junk box. I would say for no reason but I’m sure there are numerous deep in my subconscious for why I haven’t disposed of them yet.
Last night I was laying in bed, thinking about these old pins that I have kept since high school. They too are in my box of junk. I crawled down onto the floor and dug around for the box beneath my bed. I pulled it out and placed it on my lap. As soon as I lifted the top of the box the letters popped out at me. I hadn’t forgotten that they were there; I just never have any desire to look through them again. I haven’t even opened the box since I moved into this apartment over a year ago. Although, last night, for the first time in eight years, I picked the first letter off the pile and opened it.
The glue had resealed the letter so it was like opening it for the first time. I felt like I was doing something very wrong. Like I was sneakily listening in on someone else’s conversation. I felt really dirty and then, as I read, I felt really sad. Sad for so many different reasons. The letter took me back to the reason I got the letters in the first place, where I was living, the color of my sheets on the bed where I sat when I first read them, the old beat up Nissan Sentra I drove, the College Algebra course I was taking at the time. It was winter, February 2006.
It was the year that I decided to stay in a relationship that intricately stripped back the layers of who I was and left me with nothing but a broken heart and a shattered spirit. I have never cried more or felt more stress, anxiety and loneliness than that period of my life. I was with him for about a year and a half before he picked up and moved to Asheville. I soon followed him to the mountains upon my graduation from college in 2008. But our first year together in 2006 was a turbulent one.
Over the course of our relationship, I ruined friendships and built a very thick wall between my family and myself. I did all but listen to their plea to get my act together and ultimately I chose a path for myself that forced me to learn lessons you never want someone you love to have to learn. Because of my decisions, I am now versed in desperate love, devastating loss and unending defeat. I now know that If you give someone else power over you, they can use that power to break you down and manipulate you into doing things that riddle you with crippling sadness, shame and regret for a very long time to come.
I was so young at the time; ripe for the picking, craving for the skin to be broken. Before I met him I thought that I was a good, strong, smart, funny, attractive person and I was exactly what he needed to get clean and sober and on the right track. In the end, my unconditional, obsessive love for him allowed him to take advantage of me. He allowed me to believe that I had no self-worth and it’s taken me almost 7 years now to realize, once again…I am amazing, smart, beautiful, and most of all, loved.
So, as I read the letter I wondered why I was still holding on to the stack of sad memories. Now that I’ve read only one, I realize that they don’t bring up any happy times for me. I’m reminded of who I used to be. I feel so sorry for that girl. She was so pathetically in love and oblivious. Blinded by desire for a change in someone. Needy.
I also felt like I was hurting Chris’s feelings. That in some way I was betraying him by reminding myself of all those old feelings and how I used to be in love with someone who belittled and stunted me for a period of time. I do not talk about that life or my experiences with Chris. I cannot explain to him the decisions I made and the people I chose to surround myself with. It does not translate to the life I have now. I am so infinitely distant from that girl. I understand her but I cannot make him understand her.
I do think that I am a better person because of everything I went through then. I do still speak to him from time to time and I’m actually quite proud of the man he has become. He has grown up too and from what I can tell from our brief conversations, he is in a good place. He has become a happy and healthy individual, or at least that is what I picture in my head. That is what I hope for him. I have no hard feelings. We were both young, naive kids from two separate worlds. I honestly believe, despite how much hurt there was, he helped form the woman I am today.
So, maybe it’s okay that I’ve held onto the letters. I put them back in the box and pushed it back under my bed. I didn’t read any more than the first letter on the stack. I don’t feel like I needed to. Maybe sometime I’ll come around to throwing them out. But, I’m not ready to let them go. I’m not sure why but the idea of chucking them in the trash gives me an unpleasant feeling. For now I will keep them tucked away in my junk box under the bed between the old books and the picture frames.
I’ve moved 18 times since I was 17 and I’ve had 13 different sets of roommates over the last 10 years. None of my experiences have been good. Probably because I’m a type ‘A’ personality and things must always go my way. I am a difficult person with which to deal. My current living situation however, has been the best living arrangement as of yet. For the last year and a half I’ve lived with one of my good friends. We communicate well enough that we even renewed our lease for a second year. This is something I have never done with any of my former roommates. In fact, I think all of my prior living situations involved tears of sadness and frustration, several calls home to Mom to vent and a few lease terms ending early. To my knowledge, we have no major complaints thus far. Although, Mark, my roommate, refuses to read Pryorities until I write something about him and since he’s not very interesting, I’ve really had to do some serious brainstorming for content.
We did not become friend in the 6th grade when we first met. In middle school he sat at the “cool” table in the back of the lunchroom with Kelly, Jessica, Crystal and John. We were all in Mr. Dauer’s band class together. To me, they were really cool and I was really not. Middle school was hell for me. Not only was I in band but I was really fat and awkward and thought I was funny but none of my jokes worked in my favor. My adult life mirrors my middle school years except that now I could give two shits about the “cool” kids.
At some point I worked up the nerve to befriend Kelly and Jessica and would make my way over to the back table on occasion. I never really talked to Mark though. He was really intimidating to me because he had this way about him. Even to this day, he still gives people this look like what they’re saying is incredibly unimportant and they’re the most annoying person to have ever interacted with him. He is also by far the best eye roller I have ever met in my life. He’s not doing anything with his life, I should really approach him about hosting an eye-rolling info session at the community center for tween-aged girls going from middle school to high school. I mean, I think he’d really have an impact in that arena. Noted. But, every time I approached the back table during lunch I knew, 47% of the time, I would get a monotone “Hi, Kim” with a sarcastic half smirk and an eye roll. The other 53% of the time was a brazen turn of the head. This PBnJ is better than whatever you have to say.
Jump to freshman year of college: Mark and I were both smart enough to be accepted into the best state university in Florida but dumb enough to be deferred to the summer session. This is when we became good friends. We both didn’t know anyone and we were in a big college town. We would ride around the city together after class and go to the mall for bourbon chicken from the food court. He would talk to me about his girlfriend troubles and I would whine about the best friend I’d been in love with for the last four years of high school. I forced him to change my windshield wipers, fix the radio in my car when it broke and change out the brake lights when they died.
Fall rolled around and our smart friends, Aaron and Jenna moved up to school. Jenna and I lived in one dorm together and Aaron and Mark were roommates in the dorm a stone’s throw away. We’d go to concerts in the student union, free movies in the student life building, eat dollar breakfast at midnight on Saturdays and feed the ducks at the town lake.
One afternoon, after class, the four of us went to the record store. The store had all the latest albums that you couldn’t find at Best Buy or Circuit City. It was a hole in the wall for hipsters in 2004. It was where I usually spent my financial aid refund each term and would go to eye the older, bearded, flannel shirt musicians that worked behind the counter. There was a section in the side corner of the store where they would put out free, old posters and fliers for bands they were recycling through. This particular afternoon Mark and I eyed a poster for one of the bands that we were all really into at the time. It was a thick, cardboard, 3’ by 3’ cover of their latest album and we both had to have it. After some bitching and complaining on my part, Mark gave into me with his classic roll of the eyes. I took it home that afternoon and nailed it to the wall.
The next day I came back from my afternoon class, only to find that there was no poster nailed to my wall. Now, in my defense, the reaction I am about to describe is pre mood disorder diagnosis. I freaked out. I mean, my face turned red, my hands got sweaty, my voice was shrill with anger. “Who did this! Was it Mark!? God damn it! It was Mark wasn’t it!” I screamed at my roommate, an innocent bystander. With frightened eyes, she urgently admitted out of fear for her life that my friend, Mark, knocked on the door earlier that morning and she had no choice but to let himself in and take the poster. You bitch! I thought, why would you just let someone in and let them take what is mine.
I immediately picked up my LG flip phone and called him as I stormed out of the dorm. Taking the stairs because, fuck the elevator, I was not about to wait for it to get to the fourth floor. He didn’t answer. I frantically speed-walked across the parking lot and up the stairs to Mark’s dorm room. I pounded on his door until Aaron answered with, “Kimbo, whatcha doin?” He was so cool, calm and collected. “Uh really, Aaron? I know you’re in on this, too. Where is Mark?! Where is my poster?!?!” I demanded. Mark walks out of his room into the common area with this face of bewilderment like he’s just woken from a nap by an unexpected earthquake. He says: “Kimmy, what’s wrong? What are you freaking out about?” I just glare at him with through squinted, evil eyes. “Oh, don’t even. I know you have it. Where is it! Give it here! Where is it! Just give it to me!” I could tell that he didn’t know whether to laugh or be alarmed by my reaction to his intended practical joke. He acted like he had no idea what was going on for a good five minutes and then finally turned it over in annoyance. I’m pretty sure he didn’t talk to me for a good week and a half. Not because of the poster, but because I’m a crazy bitch.
One night during our sophomore year we went to Sonic for dinner, just down the road from our new apartment complex. Over chicken fingers and tater tots he told me he’d decided to move back to our hometown and go on tour with a band that was recently signed to an up and coming indie label. I was a little disappointed in him for giving up on school but excited for him all the same. Mark is a talented musician so it was an important adventure for him at the time but I was going to miss my friend.
Other than random Facebook posts, I didn’t see him again for another five years. We both happened to move back home around the same time and I ran into him at the annual Thanksgiving Eve homecoming at one of the local bars. I don’t think I have ever been so excited to run into an old friend. He moved home to become the Dining Room Manager at the local country club and I needed a job, so he hired me. A year later we were both offered new opportunities in a town an hour north from home and we conveniently both needed roommates. We have lived together ever since.
He listens to my frustrations with work and lets me vent about small bickering’s between Chris and I. He doesn’t eat my food when I’m not home unless is my provolone cheese. He cleans up after himself and he pays the bills on time. He’s one of the only people who actually laugh at my jokes because we both find humor in other people’s drama and unhappiness. He’s home when I need him to be and he’s gone when I need a day to myself on the couch in my robe. Lately, though, he’s been moping around the apartment like a lost puppy. His last “break up” was apparently devastating enough to where he can only be consoled by binge watching episodes of South Park and House of Cards while stuffing his face with Breyers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. I feel like we are on the same cycle right now. It’s very stressful. I try my hardest to send him to the store as much as possible so he can hit on a single mom or a lonely cashier. Publix is by far his favorite location to pick up women. It comes so easily for him to attract the ladies because he looks like the missing member of Fall Out Boy. I cannot figure out why he’s so sad. But, at the end of the day, it’s worked out quite well. He is not only my roommate but he is a good friend to me. I hope he reads this and rewards me by not coming home for at least a week.
I find myself laying in bed on most nights lately, next to my beloved other half, humming a parody to Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.”
And He Can’t Stop,
And He Won’t Stop,
I Can’t Sleep, Sleep ain’t coming,
Can’t do nothin’ but Blo-og-ing.
This has nothing to do with the fact that I’m super into blogging right now but everything to do with the fact that Chris will not shut the fuck up. If snoring were a sport worthy of Gold in the Olympics, we would be living in a 15-bedroom mansion, chiseled out of marble, in the Swiss Alps. All paid for through our endorsement deals with Serta and Lunesta. I’d say “a girl can dream” but it does not apply to my current situation because every time I even try to nod off and shut my eyes, I’m basically just taking a few prolonged blinks.
He works the night shift 40 hours a week and is currently a full time student. Most importantly, he is a full time chauffeur, masseuse, therapist, dishwasher, and chef, (i.e. boyfriend.) I get it. He’s worn out. He’s not just worn out, he’s exhausted. I totally understand that. But there is no explanation for the noise that comes forth from his voice box. The sound is not human. Thankfully, there are nights where he will come in after me because he wanted to finish up some homework and I’ve been lucky enough to pass out before him. Even then however, I’m jolted from my slumber out of fear. There’s a tornado, take cover! Nope, just Chris. His arms scattered across my chest, legs wrapped around mine and his nose and mouth directed right toward my ear, not a foot away.
And there is no waking him. He is the soundest sleeper I have ever met. Alarms do not work. Pinching, kicking, kissing, and pushing off the bed, hot water, and cold water, screaming; nothing works. You’d think he was knocked out by Mike Tyson. But, when that one in one hundredth attempt finally works, you’re done for. It’s over. Danger: Do not approach the hibernating bear. He will turn into a ferocious beast and he’s coming for you. That’s an exaggeration, he most just turns over with a mumbled: “What, I was snoring? I don’t snore. Go back to bed.”
I’ve tried it all and I even sleep on the couch sometimes, which I hate because I want to sleep next him. We bought new pillows and Breathe Right Strips but those are a joke in and of themselves. Sleeping on his back is the worst because it fills the whole room and practically wakes the neighbors. When he sleeps on his sides the noise is either in my ear or bouncing off the walls and right back out at us. It’s amazing to me that he doesn’t wake himself. And if he sleeps on his stomach, it’s only muffled by the fact that his face is dug into the pillow and the hypochondriac in me is scared he will suffocate. This is when pushing and shoving and shaking ensue.
I did a bit of WebMDing on what causes snoring and the impact it can have on a person’s life. I’m now devastatingly convinced that he might die from “carotid artery atherosclerosis, the risk of brain damage and of stroke” and now insistent that we call his dentist first thing on Monday morning and have an appliance called a “mandibular advancement splint” molded just for him. I also have been persistently alluding to an appointment to have a sleep study done. You know, because we have so much money. Realistically, I understand that in the meantime I’ll have to invest in some earplugs and hope that they drown out the bombing vibrations from his vocal chords.
This morning, when I awoke, I noticed that he’s lying on his side, watching me as I sleep. I smile good morning and slide myself into the crook of his arm and rest my head on his chest. My favorite place to be. He says, “How did you sleep?” I say “fine.” He says, “You know what babe?” “Hmm?” I sleepily reply. “You’ve been snoring loudly all morning. You woke me up an hour ago.”