People say you’ll appreciate every second they sleep, but that’s not true. They sleep too soundly. Motionless. It deceives you. Janet had woken up too many times, looked over with a conscious mind that said this was ridiculous, a stomach full of dread when she touches… He was always warm, no matter how cold he looked.
“I don’t like him in the bed with us,” she told Alex.
“But he doesn’t stay asleep when we move him.”
“I’m afraid of smothering him,” was something she couldn’t bring herself to verbalize.
So she took to sleeping on the couch. Then she took to walking, at night while the rest of the world dozed.
One house always had a light on. Janet found comfort in this. A comrade. A fellow sleepless soul. She made sure her route passed that house each night.
She noticed things. Toys in the yard. Infant swing hanging from a tree. Exer-saucer on the side porch.
And she notice the figure inside. A man. He sat in the same place every night. With a bottle next to him.
She noticed only one car. And the toys never moved.
One night she rang the bell, and when he wordlessly answered, she said, “I understand. I understand what happened. I know why you drink and why you live alone.”
He said, “You can’t understand.”
“I do. We’re the same.”
“I seriously doubt that.” His face showed doubt, curiosity, hope, and something like hunger.