Because I am a most excellent husband I went around the house turning off all the lights except in the kitchen and bathroom. The television and dvd player I switched off at the wall. I even shut our bedroom door, which we never do. The kids were asleep and the house was unusually dark and silent. So in other words, I had achieved perfect sleeping conditions.
“I’m going to bed,” Tracey had announced a few minutes earlier. It was barely 9.30 – nearly two hours earlier than usual for her.
“No worries,” I said, puckering up and tilting my head to the side to take possession of a goodnight kiss, but at the same time not quite managing to tear my eyes away from my computer screen. I was watching some The Big Bang Theory moments on Youtube.
“I’ve got a big day tomorrow and I need to be switched on,” she continued.
That got my attention.
“Did you say you need to be turned on?” I asked eagerly, Youtube forgotten.
This idea didn’t even get the chance to crash and burn. It stood motionless and ill-conceived on the runway.
“Not tonight,” said Tracey. I’m paraphrasing. Her actual words were, “You touch me and I’ll kill you.”
Grinning, I turned back to my laptop.
“Goodnight,” I said.
But she wasn’t quite done.
“Use those,” she said. Something landed on my keyboard. ‘Those’ were headphones. “I really need to sleep and that’s way too loud. And please don’t wake me up when you come to bed.”
Knock backs are common as kids around here, but I can’t remember my wife ever handing me headphones before, so she obviously really meant business.
“Don’t you worry about it,” I told her, and I began my trek around the house making sure she had the best chance of a full night’s sleep. “You won’t even know I’m here.”
And two hours later, when it was time for me to tottle off to bed, I really put in the effort. Even though I have no night vision I turned the last of the lights off before heading to the bedroom. I’ve lived in this house for twenty years so even though I’d taken my shoes off to avoid noise I wasn’t worried about stubbing my toe or anything.
I put my hand out and the kitchen bench was exactly where it should be. I ran my finger along it to the end and put out my other hand. Fridge. I took another two small steps and reached for the freezer. Perfect. And between the fridge cabinet and the freezer – the door frame for our bedroom. Right where it should be.
I’m so good at this, I actually recall thinking to myself at this point.
All that remained was three small steps to the bed, then to run my hand along the bed frame, turn right, three small steps, slip into bed and wait for praise in morning.
I stepped through our doorwa-
“Oooowwwsshhhhiiiit!” I bellowed, clutching at my face, which had suddenly exploded in pain.
“Bruce! What the bloody hell are you doing out there?” And again, I’m paraphrasing. She didn’t say bloody.
You know how I mentioned we don’t normally shut our bedroom door at night…?
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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