Sleeping Patterns 2
by Mai Sieu Phong
When I got out of the shower, he was still asleep, curled up in the spot I
had vacated minutes ago. I’m not surprised. It’s dead early in the morning
and dawn won’t come until another good hour. Duo’s turned into a rather
heavy sleeper-- Sleeping was one of his most favorite things to do. It was
on the same list as cuddling and making out.
I look out the window and repress a shiver. It’s eerily, dark outside with
the rain thundering against our window and the wind howling past the house.
I’m tempted to crawl back into bed with him again and he’ll open his arms,
welcoming me warmly, but I know that I can’t. Preventers had sent me a
mission and I have to leave and go the space port in less than half an hour.
He’d gotten so angry with me when I told him about my assignment. It was
urgent and important, but it had meant that I would have to be away from him
this Christmas. The thought of being alone this holiday makes me sad as
well, but we both know that protecting innocent lives has a greater
We’d gotten into many fights over the same topic. He’d quit Preventers a
while ago, tired of playing soldier. We’d played that game most of our
lives already and he went back into the business that he loved, salvaging
parts and the like. He had asked me to leave as well, but we both knew that
this was the life I had chosen since I was young. I wanted to make the
world better for everyone. Better for him.
I tiptoe out into the kitchen and hoist myself up onto the counter to reach
for the highest shelf in the cupboard over head. It’s much too high for him
and he’d never even bother putting stuff up there much less check. I pull
out a small package, carefully wrapped in green and red wrapping paper and
secured with curly ribbons and a big bow.
I place the Christmas present on the nightstand and leave a note telling him
to wait until Christmas morning. He’ll die of curiosity when he wakes up,
but he’ll be good and wait because he knows that I’ll find out if he
doesn’t. Duo’s a horrible liar. I can tell by the way his voice raises to
a higher pitch than normal and the way his eyes tend to blink more rapidly
when he’s nervous. I’ve gotten to know him so well these past ten years.
He’ll probably be mad at me for leaving without as much as a “goodbye”, but
he looks to peaceful to disrupt. Besides, we’ve already spent the entire
evening making love, our way of saying farewell. His hair was loose tonight
and it was spread all around him. I smile, knowing that he’ll have one hell
of a time untangling it in the morning.
I remember the first time we’d slept together with his hair loose. I’d
gotten stuck in it as well in the morning and he had cause such a ruckus as
I tried to pull loose and almost pulled his scalp off as well.
He stirs when I can’t resist the urge and kneel down beside the bed to brush
his bangs out of his face. Ten years ago, he would have had a knife pressed
harshly against my neck as a reflex, but time has made us adjust well. His
body knows that it’s only me and I would be the last person on earth to hurt
I can’t believe that I’ve had the pleasure of being with him for so long.
There have been so many obstacles between us. I know that I’m not exactly
the most talkative person to be with while he’s a natural social butterfly.
He was everything I could ever hope to be, open, kind, loud, obnoxious…
My smile is reflexive as I look down at him, snoring erratically and
wiggling his button nose as he breathes heavily. The sound usually lulls me
to sleep when I’m feeling restless. He’s even got a small dabble of drool
spilling out from the corner of his mouth. It’s so cute. He is cute. Duo
looks like a cherub, an angel, an anything with adjective that makes him
sweet like sugar and nice.
I nearly laugh at myself for being such a sentimental sap and shake my head
instead. It’s his fault that I’m like this. All this time that we’ve spent
together, has made our personalities mix and match. I’ve learned to be more
open, accepting, and loose. He’s learned a few things from me as well. We
have our differences no doubt, but we’ve been married for 10 year already.
It has certainly given us enough time to adapt and live with each other’s
That doesn’t mean we’re perfect. We’re like a normal couple, bickering over
the smallest things, bills, chores, work…trust. I hate it when he gives me
the silent treatment, locking himself in the bedroom and avoiding me at all
That’s how it was when I first told him about my mission. He’d gotten so
angry at me and refused to say a single word, not even during dinner.
Eventually, he relented, understanding that it was not entirely my fault
that I would have to miss the holiday. I had apologized, one of the most
difficult tasks I’ve had to learn to do while living with Duo.
I’m glad that we made up though. It will be nice to leave with warm, fuzzy
feelings rather than a black, boil of angst inside as I work on my mission.
Speaking of which, I should probably go now before I miss the shuttle. I
bend down and kiss him softly on the forehead and his lips putter slightly,
making a spit bubble. My shoulders are quivering slightly from suppressed
laughter as I stand up and grab my duffle bag and uniform jacket.
Sleep tight, Duo. I’ll try to come home as soon as I can. We’ll spend many
other holidays together, I promise.