Camille–Archives of Our Lives
A newly married couple at a hotel on their wedding night, already in bed and on the brink of a deep sleep. Cozied up together, the man and his wife are smiling dreamily, as if nothing in the world could possibly be wrong. The man closes his eyes and his wife continues to watch him, seeming to contemplate her good fortune. Suddenly, a loud clicking sound startles the woman out of her reverie. After searching all throughout the suite, she finally discovers the clicking is actually her new husband biting his teeth–clicking and clacking and chomping.
Woman (to herself): How odd…is he dreaming he’s eating corn chips? What is this?
The man stops the clacking, and for a moment, all is quiet. Sighing with relief, the woman busies herself climbing back into bed, fluffing her pillow, straightening the sheets, and finally laying down.
As soon as she’s quieted down, a new noise begins. This time, the noise is a terrible clinching and grinding noise–the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard is like a choir of angels in comparison to this grinding. Looking suspiciously at her new spouse, she confirms he is the culprit; teeth clenched, jaw circling back and forth, he looks akin to a bulldog ready to eat someone.
Woman (to herself): Oh, my. What– That is a terrible noise! Oh, it grates on my nerves–it hurts my ears! (To him, sweetly) Honey…babe? Can you turn over or something? (Grinding continues) Could you…could you maybe stop grinding your teeth? I know you’re just having a bad dream…but everything’s okay. (Grinding continues) It’s really bad for your teeth…and I want you to have good teeth–y’know…what’s left of them. So…could you maybe just…quit doing that? (Grinding stops, but husband remains fast asleep) Oh, thank you so much! Are you awake? Babe? No? Okay…well, I love you… I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess. Right. Tomorrow. And the next day, and forever. (More to herself now) Because we’re…married.
Same couple, five months later. Again already in bed, the husband turned on his side with his back to his wife. The woman, sitting up in bed next to her husband, is typing away furiously on her white MacBook laptop. She has the screen brightness turned down so as not to disturb her husband (though the man sleeps like a rock through anything). Suddenly, a clacking and clicking echoes through the room, far noisier than the tip-tap of the woman’s typing.
Woman (to herself): Oh…my…gosh. Here we go again. (The clacking stops, and the woman begins counting down) And five…four…three…two…one…
(The man begins grinding his teeth exactly how he did on their wedding night. The screeching and grating is almost unbearable, but the woman doesn’t even flinch.)
Woman (reaching over with her left hand, still typing with her right): Oh, for the love. Would you cut it out, you big bear? (Giving his shoulder a gentle but solid pull with her left arm, she turns him over so he is facing her. He is still fast asleep, and the grinding continues) I don’t think you have any idea how horrific that sound is…every night we go through the same routine. (Meanwhile, she has placed her hand in a firm grip on either side of his jaw. The grinding stops)
Husband (mumbles wearily, obviously still asleep): Get off me, woman.
Woman (smiling slightly): That’s not very nice, dear. You know we agreed you would never refer to me as “woman.” (Giving his shoulder a gentle but solid shove, she turns him back to how he started, facing the wall) I love you… Go back to sleep; I’ll see you tomorrow… And the next day… And forever…
Notes from the author: Our new summer sheets [yeah, in Canada they have winter sheets and summer sheets]? White, 500 thread-count, Egyptian cotton? A revelation. Also, I know our bed is missing a headboard. I’m working on it, but trying to do so cheaply.