Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Adam's Drool

Evelyn's husband had developed the disturbing habit of drooling in his sleep. He didn't talk about it and his wife didn't like it. His wet pillow in the mornings thoroughly revolted her.

"Surely that's unsanitary," she shuddered. It gave her the creeps! She changed the sheets every day now, something she'd always been too lazy to do before. "Surely, surely," she thought miserably as she hurriedly threw the soiled sheets in the washing machine, "surely he knows he's doing that!"

Either he didn't notice, or else he pretended not to. Yet how could he not know it? She was afraid to ask, and, anyway, it would be a horrible thing to have to talk about. Especially to Adam. Yet every time she handled the sheets, she got sicker and madder about it. Every night she lived in terror that he'd roll over against her and she'd wake up with drool all over her! She knew men didn't like being bothered with such things; she was supposed to take care of it. Clean the babyshit, sop up the drool! Well, she did try to keep busy taking care of the children, to distract herself with honest household tasks, but it wouldn't always work. It was becoming clearer and clearer to her that her relationship with her husband was worsening. Dealing with this slobbering problem of his was too much akin to cleaning up after one of the children, and that was wrong, she felt. Her husband shouldn't be one of her children! But she didn't know what to do about it. She wasn't sure she wanted to do anything about it, for she knew his temper. He liked to threaten her when things got bad, and she knew she didn't know what she'd do without him.

"Starve, probably," she thought miserably. "The children, too, I guess. And then they'd blame that on me and take them away from me. I couldn't stand that!"

They were on a sort of equal footing now, she thought. He didn't like talking about her being crazy and she had a horror of this new thing that was wrong with him. Yet being equal didn't make her any more comfortable than before. She had liked the sense of somebody having the upper hand in their marriage, even though it hadn't been her; it had made her feel secure, even when she'd been the most crazy.

"Now what do I do?" she worried. "This can't go on."

But it did go on.