Nearly every night, she falls asleep two hours before you, like she was in a different time zone. The two of you have been spending about six out of seven nights a week together. Her Routine has joined hands with Your Routine and is now referred to by the both of you as Our Routine.
You've never had your routine become a Routine. It's generally been mint tea in the morning with a bowl of cereal and two strips of turkey bacon, lunch at the taco stand down the street, and some ethnic culinary experiment in the evening. Now it's mint tea and Cherry Coke in the morning with a bowl of cereal and two strips of turkey bacon and a Denver omelette, lunch at either the taco stand or from a paper sack that's had a half-ironic (but half-sincere) heart drawn around your name, and--well, dinner's the same because she likes that you cook.
You also like that you can cook. And you like that she likes that you can cook. And you both like how simple so much of this has been. You two have melded together like Tetris blocks in a lot of ways. The holes of your life have been balanced by the square pegs of hers. And vice versa, too. Gaps are filled and seesaws are balanced and you're reading an Elmore Leonard novel in bed as her cheek, resting on your shoulder, rises up and down and up and down as each breath passes through flared nostrils and deviated septums.
This snoring thing bothered you for a little while at first, but noise-cancelling headphones make her snores more of something you feel more than something you hear. Each nasal rumble shakes your chest like the World's Tiniest Defibrillator, but you've come to appreciate the metronome that she becomes when she dreams.
And you're feeling these little tremors from her face when her eyes creep open. She takes a deep breath and pulls your headphones off with a smile. You turn to face her and wonder how much of your face is actually getting through the tiny slits her eyelids have formed.
She yawns and squeaks like harp seal. "It's hard to fall asleep when your eyes are open and in the middle of a book."
"It's just as hard to read when your eyes are closed."
"You're ridiculous." She nuzzles into your shoulder and puts her head back down. "Was I snoring?"
"As regularly as death and taxes."
"Don't apologize," you say, crinking your neck down to kiss the top of her head. "Do you want to go camping next weekend?"
"Really?" she says, her voice raising decibels from Sting-level to The Police-level. "I figured you hated camping."
"Why'd you think that?"
"You're just not very..." she pauses and you're absolutely dying to see the rolodex of words shuffling in her brain. "...rugged, I guess."
"Truer words never spoken." You stick your bookmark back in your novel and put it on the nightstand. "So yes?"
She takes a Marianas-deep breath and lets it out in a sigh that could melt an arctic igloo. "That sounds nice."
"Are you a big camper?"
"Yeah, actually." She puts down the magazine she's leafing through. "I used to go on trips with my family all the time before I moved out here for school." Her eyes light up like a summer moon and her brain appears to finding pleasant memories like a $10 bill in the back pocket of a freshly washed pair of jeans. "I think it'd be fun to go with you. But only if you get some sleep. Don't you have work early?"
"Yeah, but that's rarely incentive enough to fall asleep this early."
"Babe, it's 1:30 AM."
"I know. Weird, huh?"
"Kiss me goodnight and turn off the stupid light and close your stupid eyes." You oblige her. She grins sleepily and throws a limp arm over you. "Goodnight." The bedside floor lamp clicks off.
"Sleep sweet." She falls back to sleep like she was on the clock for it.
But you lay awake for about another hour and a half, wondering how tightly sleeping beneath a starry sky would make her hold you.
And you imagine the sounds of her snores bouncing across the rock formations of desert landscape.
Indoors is almost too small for the both of you. It's time for a bigger piece of sky.