“I’m sorry I slept so late,” he says, and I’m confused.
Because I had just heard him starting to stir, to get up out of bed, and my first thoughts had been Oh, I hope he got enough sleep.
I hope I haven’t disturbed him.
He works so hard during the week. And unlike me, he has to keep regular hours, since he’s often coordinating with other people. He used to have face to face meetings pretty much all day. During these pandemic times, this happens virtually now. But even though we’re all working around distance, we’re still bound by time.
He gets up earlier than I do most days. Creeps into the shower. A lot of times, I hear him and register it. But I’ll force myself back down into sleep space. Into lucid dreams that I’m still exploring. As I hear him start the water. As I hear it stop. While he puts on his clothes and moves his laptop into the living room and away from the docking station in the bedroom.
I’m clinging to sleep then. Or at least pretending to. Sometimes I get up for the day then, at the same time he does. And I only play asleep, lingering behind in the bedroom for a bit so he — an introvert and not a morning person — gets some alone time when he first wakes up. It may sound weird and unnecessary, but he likes it. He’s the sort who expends energy simply being around others, even if you say nothing at all to him.
But when I’m asleep, it’s almost as if I temporarily don’t exist.
Most weekdays, however, I do get an extra hour of sleep. Which means that when the weekend comes, I’m typically out of bed first, rising at my normal weekday time, while he catches up on his weekday sleep debt.
And I’m glad for this, glad he has a chance to get caught up. So when he apologizes for sleeping late, it doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. I have to flip it around in order to understand. I think about all the times I’ve felt guilty about being able to rise later on weekdays, and I’ve tried to apologize, and he’s waved it away as something absurd.
Because neither of us views it as a competition. We want the best for one another, even if we don’t get the same thing ourselves, at least not in the moment.
I’ll try to remember that the next time I feel guilty for something good that comes my way that not everyone can have.
I wonder if I’ll get used to being in a relationship where we both want the best for one another.