Not those tales. Please.
Like many couples, McIrish and I have our bedtime rituals. His involves brushing his teeth, then getting into bed and lying down. Mine involves brushing my teeth, taking my weird neurologic medications, putting the last glasses in the dishwasher, because if I were to die, those glasses would stay on the counter into perpetuity. Then I wash my face with whatever miracle product I’ve bought that week; moisturize—no, I’m sorry, apply elixir, THEN moisturize, then maybe smear on another miracle product or two.
Thus—glowing—I venture into the icy cold bedroom. We sleep with the windows open because we are hardy Yankees, thank you very much. This doesn’t keep me from complaining about the frigid floors and yelping about my poor chilly feet. I then get into bed, tell McIrish to move over and make room for Huggy Pillow and me. I fix the blankets perfectly so they come up to my chin and no further.
“All set?” McIrish asks.
“Yes,” I say, then remember that I didn’t apply hand cream. I get out of bed and smear my hands with cream, then get back into bed.
“All set?” my sainted husband asks again.
“Yes. Except can you tuck in the covers so the cold doesn’t get me?”
He does. He turns out the light.
“I think I have a brain tumor,” I say. “That, or I’m suffering from nervous exhaustion. At any rate, I need some anesthesia and a nice long coma.”
“Okay. Good night.” He falls asleep instantly, which irritates me, because I’m planning my funeral and /or lengthy hospitalization. So I do my magic trick (don’t tell him). I touch his foot with just one frigid little toe. He jolts awake.
“What?” he says.
“What?” I answer, all innocent and adorable. “Wanna cuddle?”
McIrish is not a cuddler. I am. This means I snuggle next to him, and he moves away, and I snuggle closer because I’m so cold, and he inches away, and I snuggle closer, certain that my death from hypothermia is imminent, and he inches away.
I snuggle closer—I always win this game—then fall into vivid dreams of Robert Downey Jr. or Meryl Streep or tidal waves and sharks, which I generously narrate for him.
It’s never boring. Is it restful? Not really, but so far, so good! Twenty-five years and counting.