I turn out the hallway light before easing the bedroom doorknob to the right. Sometimes the hinges creak, but if I press down on the knob while slowly opening the door I can usually enter the room silently.
The darkness of the bedroom is complete to my unadjusted eyes.
Other areas of the house remain illuminated all night. For example, there is always a light on in the kitchen. Although this house is treated to a professionally applied bug repellent perimeter each month, I still can’t allow the kitchen to be dark at night.
This is an old habit instigated by the scary things I would occasionally see when turning on the kitchen light at night in Boston many years ago. I don’t really feel strong enough to revisit those memories, but suffice it to say that for a while in Boston I shared my apartment with small mammals who did not contribute to the rent.
Ultimately they drove me out of my cute walk-up apartment. The worst part of having them as roommates was their noisy night skittering and the shock we all mutually experienced whenever a light was turned on suddenly.
I learned quickly it was better to just leave the light on to spare myself from the surprise.
Almost forty years later I still haven’t broken that habit.
But it is not necessary to turn a light on in this darkened bedroom. I have been going to sleep in this room for decades. I know exactly where everything is located.
It is four steps to the foot of the bed where my husband is already sleeping. He is the reason for stealth. He needs his sleep and will be up very early in the morning.
I delay my own sleep later than I should and prefer not to be up early in the morning.
Now that I am Ambien-free I hope for seven hours of sleep. I wish for seven non-stressful hours; seven uninterrupted hours. Sleep has become a chore I must accomplish. Being a procrastinator I put it off as long as I can.
So instead of adhering to Ben Franklin’s famous adage about early to bed and early to rise…I adhere to sneaking into bed late. I recently read an article explaining we would all have a very different concept of healthy sleep habits if Benjamin Franklin had kept his thoughts on this subject private. And honestly, who wants to wake up early enough to catch a worm anyway?
I walk across the carpet parallel to the foot of the bed. Six steps and I arrive at my side of the mattress.
Quietly, I make the left turn and glide to the nightstand.
I kneel down to briefly hold my phone under the bed while I plug it in to charge. This hopefully muffles the small sound it emits. I know you are charging, I always think furiously, just be quiet.
I position my glass of water by the clock and finally I slide slowly under the covers.
I lie very still.
My husband turns over a couple of times but remains asleep.
It is 2 am and I have made it to bed.
Another successful insomniac sneak.
Another post-Ambien behavior revealed.