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Arthur Meiselman

Sleeping Alone

Some archaeo-anthropologists believe that once sentience and language developed in the earliest and now arguably the last biological incarnation of Humans, our earliest ancestors heard their own voices in their minds, awake and asleep They believed they were hearing the voices of the 'gods'. One half of the brain speaks, the other half listens—a self with benefits. It's been called: the Bicameral Mind. Today it's called schizophrenia and facebook-twitter. The self alone with the self.

We all sleep alone... in our own bed, in our own room, in our own home. The presence of someone in our home while we sleep is sometimes a strong presence, more often not. In our room, definitely there behind the orbs. In our bed, a fellow traveler, lids open or closed. That someone might be another human, a dog, a cat, a gecko or a bolster or a stuffed something else or other.

Sleeping, not making love, with a presence in our own bed can be romantic, huggably reassuring before and after sleep, protected, restful yet not restful, ligament stiffening, and ultimately, personally disturbing. It all depends on the other presence and myriad variables... I think you know what they are. If only we could tweak-control our senses, put them in 'privacy mode' with a level of 'security alert'.
Reassured sleep sans presence.

My favorite sleep-vehicle is the water bed. Controlled warmth, shape-shifting to the weight centers of the body, sensitive to the rhythms of the breath and the heart. Retroactive, I think, to the embracing comfort of the womb without the menacing contortions of the fetal position. This boat of sleep usually weighs around 2000 pounds. It's a dreamcatcher. I've always loved its embrace. But... and a big but, the slightest motion from an insect scambling across the surface, a cat jumping on or off,  the not-so-slight move or turn of another body near you uncatches your dreams, takes you surfing the wave, awake. It's truly a one person boat.

Water beds aside... how long can you sleep with someone in the same bed? Days, months, years?

Personal relationships are woven with threads of compromise. In bed, shared privacy, shared intimacy, opening the coat of persona to reveal what is usually invisible to other eyes, all shared with either joy or anxiety. Add to this... inexorable aging as the abandon of youthful deep sleep is increasingly diluted and REM belongs more to a rock band and less to the aging sleeper. As the shallows progress, the need to change positions often, to stretch the limbs without touching anything, to roll without rolling on or being rolled upon becomes an insidious challenge to those threads of compromise.

Now, please, I'm not referencing my current status quo. No, I've been gifted with the dangerous tool of falling quickly into a very deep sleep. Dangerous because I don't hear alarms or smell smoke or feel a beckoning touch. It takes a ridiculously hard shaking to wake me. (Obviously I'm currently without water bed.) I sleep in a steady stream of dreamcatching and I remember some of them when I wake. But I'm a creature aging in time. After I fall, after three or four hours, I awake. If there's no one next to me, I fall back to my dreams. If there's someone there, I simply can not go back to sleep. Simply can't.

I once slept with a woman for 20 years and during the last year, the threads of compromise unraveled. I could no longer sleep deep enough. That was a long time ago and a long time to share a bed. Years. Never happened again.

I love to fall asleep with someone. I love to wake in the morning with someone. But how long can you sleep with someone? Days, months, years?

Hours? Minutes? Insomnia and sleeping potions aside... the answer is really another question. How long can you not sleep with someone in the same bed?

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Arthur Meiselman is a writer and the Editor of Scene4. His latest books include The Lyriana Nocturnes and Of Modigliani in Midnight Mourning. He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms.
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©2017 Arthur Meiselman
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine

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May 2017

Volume 17 Issue 12

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