The orange light from the bedside clock burned through the darkness, shouting that it was 2 am. I’m not sure what had awoken me, but my shirt was drenched in sweat. A cool breeze wafted in through the window, though, so unless the temperature had dramatically changed in the last several minutes, my dreams had not been pleasant. That’d been happening a lot lately.
I rolled over in bed and found that I was its only occupant. My girlfriend wasn’t there, but I didn’t have to wonder where she was; a thin line of light crept under the bedroom door, telling me exactly where she was. She was still up, working on something. That had also been happening a lot lately.
I dragged myself to my feet and shuffled out into the living-room, where I found her hunched over her computer, headphones in her ears.
“It’s pretty late,” I said, “Are you coming to bed?”
She sighed and pulled her headphones out, then looked at me, exasperated. “What?”
‘Oh good,’ I thought, ‘she’s in a mood again.’ “I asked if you were coming to bed.”
Her eyes shot down to her computer screen. “I’m working on something,” she said. Then her eyes came back up to meet mine.
“It’s important,” she said, lowering her voice.
“Sleep is also important,” I said. Sometimes she gets wrapped up in her projects and forgets about the rest of the world. “Don’t you have that meeting tomorrow?”
Looking back down at the screen, she brushed some hair behind her ear and said, “I’ll sleep when you’re dead.”
Taking a deep breath, I leaned against the wall. “I think the saying is ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’”
Her eyes came back up to meet mine. She considered me for a long moment, her eyes dark and her expression moody. “I’m aware,” she said finally, “it doesn’t apply to this situation.”
Suddenly uncomfortable standing in the living-room in my boxers, I shifted my feet. Her gaze didn’t let up.
“Now, if you’re done,” she continued, “I’d like to finish ordering these knives before the sale ends.”
Without another word I shuffled back to the bedroom, but I didn’t sleep.
You can listen to me read it here:https://www.dropbox.com/s/2cn6238t26tobmh/LateNightShopping.mp3?dl=0
There’s also a related shirt up on RedBubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/imasillypirate/works/23539253-ill-sleep-when-youre-dead