I have a confession to make.
It might shock some of you, but I’m hoping you won’t judge me too harshly.
I’m dating two different men.
Ok. So you all know Chris, the sweet, patient, exceedingly calm and easy going man who has been the center of my world for the last year? Well, he’s still here. And we’re doing fine.
During the day.
But sometime back in December I met this other guy.
It wasn’t something I planned, or was even looking for.
But it never is, is it?
Believe me, my life would easier if he weren’t around, but I don’t think he’s going anywhere and I can’t ignore what happening any longer.
His name is Ambien Chris and I only see him at night.
It started slowly. I saw only glimpses of him once, maybe twice, in a month. It wasn’t until very recently that I started seeing him more regularly. Sometimes even several nights in a row.
He has very little in common with Real Chris.
Where Real Chris is gentle and patient and always puts me first, Ambien Chris is impatient and focused on his own needs.
Take the first time I met him, for example.
Real Chris had a broken collar bone and was in constant pain while waiting for surgery. Real Chris slept with roughly 2 dozen pillows under and around him to make sure he wouldn’t move or be moved by me.
But Ambien Chris feels no pain.
Ambien Chris wanted to spoon.
Ambien Chris wanted me to do things that would make Real Chris, with his broken collar bone, cry at the thought of them.
I tried to reason with Ambien Chris, but he would have none of it. The more I tried to convince him to go back inside his pillow fort, the more insistent he became that his shoulder was fine.
Finally, as a last resort I burst into tears begging him just lay down and stop moving his arm. He stared at me with a confused look for a few seconds before finally saying, in a tone laced with irritation and confusion, “Fine then. So we’ll just go to sleep.” As if this had all been my idea.
Real Chris is very organized and routine oriented. Ambien Chris is illogical and possibly a prankster.
Real Chris irons his clothes every night for work. He uses a specific cup to pour water into the iron, which he keeps on the top shelf of his closet.
Last week Ambien Chris took that cup down from the closet and brought it downstairs where he hid it in the rarely used powder room. Real Chris didn’t find it for several days.
Ambien Chris interrogates his daughter.
One morning at breakfast Real Chris asked his younger daughter what time she’d gotten home the night before.
Her: What do you mean? You were up when I got home.
Chris: No I wasn’t.
Her: Yes you were. You came down and stood with me in the kitchen and asked me a million questions.
(Chris and I looked at each other, eyes wide and our mouths open.)
Chris: You met Ambien me!
Me: OMG did he say anything weird?!
Her: No. (Then she rolled her eyes in the way that teenagers do while Chris and I laughed hysterically over what could have happened during her first run in with Ambien Chris. )
Ambien Chris has no concept of personal space.
One night I’m laying in bed with my back to Ambien Chris. I’m drifting off to sleep and as I’m lingering in that hazy twilight between awake and asleep, WHAM! something hard slams into the underside of my ass, jolting me awake and scaring the crap out of me.
My heart pounding, I sit up wondering what just assaulted me, and slowly realize it was Chris’s knee, which he moved in his sleep.
When my pulse finally starts to slow, I lay back down in the same position and quickly drift back towards sleep. And as I enter the twilight stage, WHAM! his knee connects soundly with the underside of my butt. Again. Fortunately I have ample padding to absorb the impact, so while it didn’t hurt, it did jolt me wide awake. Again.
Trying to contain my irritation, I slide a few inches to my left, away from him and toward the edge of the bed.
Just as I’m about to drop off into dream land, I’m vaguely aware that Chris has also moved a few inches to his left, and before I can think about that, WHAM! I’m kneed in the posterior once again.
Now I’m pissed.
I flip over onto my back and say out loud “What the hell!! Leave me alone!!” and Ambien Chris responds by snuggling closer to me.
My irritation subsides a little and I decide to try to fall asleep on my back with him curled into my side.
As I drift off to sleep, I unconsciously roll over on my left side and pull my knees up, which is my preferred sleeping position.
WHAM! Ambien Chris nails me again.
I wonder for a moment if the snuggling was his way of lowering my defenses.
I straighten my legs so my butt won’t be in his knee’s trajectory, and feel a rush of satisfaction as I hear his leg move and feel his knee barely brush me.
But as soon as I fall asleep, I curl my legs up again and next thing I know, WHAM!
Point, Ambien Chris.
I flip over onto my back again, this time landing half on top of him. I pick up my pillow and in a fit of uncontrollable frustration proceed to beat him with my pillow for at least 15 seconds.
This has absolutely no effect.
“What is your problem!!” I cry out, as it dawns on me that I’m sleeping next to a stranger. I vaguely wish Real Chris were here to help me with Ambien Chris. Ambien Chris reminds me of that drunk frat guy in college who would randomly pass out in your bed or on top of you on a couch and was too heavy to push off by yourself.
I brainstorm solutions that include sleeping on a pile of clothes on the floor before I decide, for some reason, to lay facing him and pull my knees up to where my butt would have been.
A few minutes pass and I see his leg begin to move under the blankets. I watch as his left leg straightens and then bends at the knee and begins its sweep up toward me.
THUD. His knee connects just below my knee, but doesn’t hurt me at all.
Ambien Chris lets out an annoyed grunt.
“HA!” I exclaim, thrilled. “How you like me now, bitch?!” I say out loud over his unconscious body, talking not to him but to Ambien Chris, who I know can hear me.
I lay back down and wait and less than a minute later, he makes another attempt and once again, instead of the supple and warm reception of my posterior, he finds the cold hard reality of my knees. I grin against my pillow as he grunts again, and then rolls over, away from me, with an irritated sigh.
Point and Game: Mer
Ambien Chris is also condescending and a little bitchy.
After several nights of nearly falling off the bed trying to dodge Ambien Chris’s knees and arms I decided to start fighting back.
I let him knee me in the butt twice before I punch his thigh.
“What’s wrong?!” Ambien Chris asks partly sitting up.
“You’re kicking me.”
Ambien Chris responds by rolling over onto his stomach. Then once situated, lifts his head and says, in a tone dripping with condescension and sprinkled with irritation, “THERE. Is that BETTER?”
Clearly Ambien Chris feels I should be honored to have him knee me all night.
Another night, I was laying on my back and was awoken by Ambien Chris flopping his body down half on top of me. And not in a fun way.
I put my elbow against his chest and pushed until he rolled onto his back. Upon landing he said with irritation, “Arggh. Happy now?”
And most recently, he was doing a combination of kneeing me and wiggling his whole body so the bed shook, so I started punching him in the thigh until he woke up with a panicked “What’s wrong?!”
“You’re kicking me.”
Ambien Chris let out a heavy sign before he rolled over on this stomach and scooted over so he was almost off the edge of bed. Then he picked his head up, looked me right in the eye and said ‘How about THIS?! Does THIS work?”
“Why yes, Ambien Chris. That works just fine.”
Real Chris has no memory of these interactions and he’s always apologetic.
But I tell him he doesn’t need to apologize for Ambien Chris. Ambien Chris is responsible for his own actions.
Especially since I’m not going to apologize to Real Chris for the bruises I give to Ambien Chris.