31. In Your Dreams

31. In Your Dreams

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters


In Your Dreams

I have my own little world, but it’s okay—they know me here.

~Author Unknown

My husband, Sam, is a big guy. At six feet, four-and-a-half inches tall, and two hundred and fifty pounds, when you meet him it’s like shaking hands with a football player. In fact, in college, that’s just what he was. But, like many men his size, Sam is also gentle. He gives great hugs, he’s terrific to snuggle into on the couch, and when you are walking through a dark parking lot after a late-night movie, you don’t have to worry about being jumped.

I love Sam’s size, but it has come at one price: sleep. Along with the mere size of him in our bed, my gentle giant also happens to be an active sleeper. His sister assures me that he has always been this way, something she experienced often during their family trips as kids. While asleep, Sam regularly kicks out with his legs, flaps or flails his arms, talks to different people, and, from what I have been able to hear, he always tells the truth. We have a joke that if he cheats on me, he’ll be the first one to tell me.

Thirteen years ago, in the beginning of our relationship, we shared a queen-sized bed. Almost every night I would wake up, alarmed and in pain after a kick to my calf or shin.

“Ow!” I would scream. “Sam! That really hurt!”

“Honey, someone was trying to attack you. I was protecting you. I am so sorry,” he would say, and then roll over and go back to sleep.

“The only one attacking me is you!” I’d say, royally annoyed.

The third time his elbow came crashing down from over his head onto the top of my skull, I decided our queen-sized-bed days were over. Sleeping in a helmet was not in my future.

Now, seven years later, in our king-sized bed, I am safe from the kicking and the flailing—most of the time. It’s only when he’s on his side facing me, and my Bend-It-Like-Beckham takes a big kick at the goal during his imaginary U.S. Cup championship game, that I get nicked.

Along with the physical, his mouth is also active in sleep. Sam has a stressful job, and his subconscious takes over at night. I have heard him experiencing road rage, fending off the enemy during a war, and cursing like a teenage boy. In fact, I never know what I will hear.

One night, I woke up to roaring beside me. I looked over at Sam, growling like angry tiger. “Roooar! Roooaaar!”

“Sam,” I said, “who on Earth are you roaring at?”

He flipped over and said, “Sorry, there was a polar bear at the window. I was trying to scare it away.”

Of course there was a polar bear at the window.

One night, he was on his back, struggling to get out his words. He was angry, yet the anger was in how he said the words, not how loud they were.

“Get off… my property….” he said, brows wrinkled.

I wondered who was on our property.

“Get… off. Get off my property… with… those… cigarettes!” he yelled.

I smiled to myself. Who knew he was so anti smoking?

When Sam is fighting off an intruder or hurling curses at a nonexistent coworker, I like to save him from his dream. Why let him linger in misery? I’ll wake him up. But sometimes I don’t wake him up. I listen to the strange talk and try to go back to sleep. This is especially true when the dream appears to be a good one.

Not long ago, I woke up to a rhythmic movement from Sam’s side of the bed. Sam was repeatedly thrusting his hips back and forth. Here we go again, I thought. Lucky him. He landed a good dream this time. As I waited, feeling the mattress move up and down, up and down, I started to wonder. Who is it? It’s probably not me. And where is he? Probably somewhere good. Maybe the Caribbean. Despite the increase of speed and movement next to me, I waited. But after a while, I realized that the action was not dying down. Suddenly, he picked up the pace even more. His hips were racing, the bed was moving, and I was being bounced up and down.

“Sam!” I yelled. No nice wife this time. He rolled over onto his back.

I stared, waiting for him to explain himself. I knew enough not ask, “What were you dreaming about, honey?”

Then Sam burst into laughter.

“What!” I said. “WHAT is so funny?!”

“Honey,” he said, “when you woke me up, I was just about to win the Kentucky Derby. I was making the last round to the finish line!”

Doesn’t he know that a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound man can’t be a jockey? Actually, in Sam’s dreams, anything can happen.

~Gwen Daye

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