(Originally published in the NY Times)
I used to think that the only thing worse than having insomnia is having insomnia next to someone who falls fast asleep and stays soundlessly so till morning.
That was my life for 16 years. I lived with a man who slept, yes, like a baby. There were nights, many nights, when I literally wanted to steal his sleep — slip beneath his eyelids and yank it out of him; a kind of middle-of-the-night “Chien Andalou” moment, minus the surrealism. Instead, I spent the equivalent of at least a tenth of our relationship lying awake or reading in bed. In the end, that I happened to be deep asleep when he first went into cardiac arrest next to me now seems beyond irony. If I had not taken half a sleeping pill that night four years ago, might I have been awake and saved him?