My friend recently ended a terrible relationship. Finally. At least, I think she really means it this time… Then again, I thought it was over the first time he cheated on her. And I also thought it was over about three other times. (I won’t go into detail as to why… this is my blog, after all, not hers. I’m sure she would not appreciate me spreading her business all over the internet…) Anyway, this time I truly believe the split-up is final. Why? This time she said, “I have slept like crap all week. I know it is going to take me a while to get used to sleeping alone again.”
Yup – they are done. I could relate completely. She was not talking about the sex. She was explaining the way she cuddled into him while she slept. She curled up into his side each night. How does a Cat Lady respond?
“I know exactly what you are talking about. I don’t sleep as well without Oreo.”
I remember sharing a bed with my sister while I was young when we slept in hotels. I hated it. Every move she made bothered me. If she dared cross that invisible line which centered the bed I grumbled her name and shoved her aside. Is her arm inching toward me? Swat! Not anymore… If she slept through my violent complaints, then I laid awake staring at the ceiling, fuming. At times I even crawled out of bed to sit on the floor (where I was safe from any unwanted physical contact) so I could vent the rage such sleep-deprivation caused. As if the fear of her accidental touch wasn’t enough – she also snores! At a young age I adamantly declared, “I do NOT sleep well with others!”
What would I do if I ever get married? We’d sleep Ricky and Lucy style! Case closed.
Then God gave me Oreo. After my old cat died, I prayed for a new cat that liked me best. I did not want to fight my family for his attention. I wanted to be favored. Although my prayer was completely self-centered, God answered it. It was quickly evident that I was Oreo’s favorite.
How he survived kittenhood, I will never know. Each night I scooped up that 2 pound pile of fur and carried him off to bed. Each morning I woke up completely on top of him. I’m somewhat amazed I never found him crushed. I would reach under the covers and pull him out. Although sleeping directly underneath someone who is 50 or 100 times your size does not sound terribly comfortable, it must be. Or at least it must be for a cat. How do I know? I know because when I moved to the side, he stayed where he was (no matter how dangerous the situation seemed to me) and because I always found him purring.
Nonetheless, Oreo now weighs 14 pounds rather than 2. Although a 14-pound critter still sounds small in comparison to a grown human, I assure you he is not small. You see, Oreo still sleeps with me. Somehow that little beast rules the vast majority of my bed each night. The tables have turned. I no longer wake up to find him pinned down beneath my weight. Instead I wake up unable to turn over because he is sleeping on top of my legs. Or I only have half of the sheet. He is hogging the remainder in a corner. Maybe I wake due to a numbing sensation in my arm since my arm is currently his body pillow. No matter the situation, one thing is always clear. When I go to sleep, Oreo will make his presence known through the “art of cuddle”.
Although I pretend his bed-hogging is bothersome, I truly love it. Oreo has transformed my anti-touch sleeping philosophy. Now I struggle to sleep alone. I prefer to drive for a half hour at 2am to sleep in my own bed with my own cat than to spend a night at my parents. If I am at home and he is dozing in the living room I often seek him out and drag him to bed. I just don’t sleep as well without him. There is something about a feline snuggled against my side that gives me peace as I snooze.
As my friend explained her current conflict, I nodded with true appreciation. When you are not accustomed to it, it really is hard to sleep alone. Whether you are newly divorced or recently widowed, whether you were dumped by your sweetheart or you cut off sleeping arrangements due to moral convictions, whether your pet died or your stuffed animal was stolen – I wrote this blog to encourage you. You will get through this. The fear of lonely sleeping can be conquered. Or if all else fails and after months you still cannot sleep alone – buy a cat. Take a trip to the SPCA and claim an adorable new sleeping companion. You won’t regret it.