So Beautiful When You Sleep

The Insomniac, graphite on bristol paper, 15" x 22"

I was once dating a man I Iiked very much. He was handsome and bright and financially stable. We were both in the arts; we liked the same coffee houses; we read the same authors; we lived in the same part of town. Our sex life was amazing: wild and tender, sensuous and quirky, never boring.

He was the perfect man for me...except for the part about not sleeping.

I need a good night's sleep in order to function well in life. The best nighttime sleep is in the arms of someone you love, don't you agree? But this man was not a sleeper. He barely slept at all. Instead, he spent the entire night staring at me while I slept. 

To make matters worse, he woke me every half hour to tell me how beautiful I looked when I was asleep. At first he'd say. "You're so beautiful when you sleep." And I'd say, "Thanks" and slip back into slumber. Then he'd wake me again and say, "You're so beautiful sleeping in the moonlight." and I'd say, "Thanks."  Half an hour later he'd wake me again and say "Have I ever told you you're beautiful when you sleep?" and I'd say "Yes." After the fifth or sixth time he woke me I'd have trouble getting back to sleep, especially since I knew he was staring at me.

I know some of you are saying "This problem is the kind of problem I want to have, good-looking people waking me all night to tell me I'm so beautiful when I sleep." Before I dated this man I might have agreed with you, because not everyone thinks I'm beautiful when I sleep. But after ten days of being awakened constantly all night, I wished it would stop. I felt like I did when I was in the hospital recovering from major surgery and  they kept waking me every half hour to check my vital signs.

On the two-week anniversary of our romance, I awoke on my own to find him sitting beside the bed. He was scribbling on a piece of paper. At first I was relieved that he'd finally stopped waking me up all night, but then I grew suspicious.

"What are you doing?" I said.

"I'm writing a poem about watching you sleep," he said. "So far I only have the title."

"What's the title?" I said.

"Silent Night," he said.

"That title has already been used," I said. "It's the title of a Christmas song."

"That's the only title I can think of," he said.

"Why don't you call the poem 'So Beautiful When You Sleep?' " I said.

"Because that's not what it's about," he said. 

And that was the end of that.