It was cute at first—how Zoe* would fall asleep in seconds and announce her triumph with a stubborn little snore. For fun, I used to time how long it took between the end of our nightly conversation and the first soft rumblings from her side of the bed. (The record: 11 seconds.) It was a quirk, I reasoned, one of many that made Zoe special, different, mine. Before long we fell in love, there were more nights together, and her "quirk" began to lose its luster. Her snoring regularly woke me up and kept me there. The days after we shared a bed, I often felt singled out by gravity. After weekends together I'd be completely shot, a Monday zombie, happy but inert.
The turning point happened after sex one night when she actually drifted off while I was talking to her, punctuating the offense with a dismissive snore. In retaliation I began to nudge her, shove her, outright move her whenever she made the slightest peep. If she woke, I'd mumble a few sharp, sleep-deprived words in her direction, my back turned. I even carped "You need to try harder not to snore!" before slinking out of bed one morning.
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After a year together I'd become desperate, a low-functioning lethargic with a short fuse. I loved Zoe more than ever, but held her responsible nonetheless. She took action in the form of a Breath Right strip and it actually worked. Her nightly serenade was reduced to almost nothing, which would've been thrilling if not for a minor snag: I still couldn't sleep. It was more pronounced when we shared a bed, which made we want to do it less. Yet I wasn't sleeping great on my own either, despite needing to sleep solo just to catch up on winks from time to time. Do You Sleep Together, Or Alone?
I kept it to myself at first—all of it. After the fuss I'd made, I didn’t have the courage to tell Zoe it'd been me all along. It was partly why, a few weeks later, I found myself agreeing to move in with her. After all, she said, we didn’t have "that sleep thing" to worry about anymore. "Right," I croaked, despairing silently. My ruse ended when Zoe caught the flu this past winter and it kept her up a few nights in a row. "I'm not the only one who snores," she announced, before padding off to the bathroom.