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My wife and I moved into our new apartment just a few months ago. Before this, we lived in a large cottage overlooking a beautiful lake. It was my wife’s dream home for the three years we lived there. We didn’t want to leave, but it was a necessary step for us.
You see, Jessica and I used to live down south. Everything was going well for a while, but my law firm decided to promote me out of the blue. It was unexpected, but I couldn’t have been more grateful. Unfortunately, the job entailed transferring to another one of our many branch locations. The one in question was in New England. We spoke long and hard on the matter, but eventually, Jess agreed to the move.
It’s important to note that the dollar doesn’t stretch as far up north as it does down south. It’s also harder to find employment. That’s why we were downgrading our living space. Until Jess could find another job, we would have to suffer. At least, that’s the way she looked at it.
Tensions were high the first few weeks after the move. I could tell Jess was irritable. She missed our old house, our old friends, and working a steady job. She had nothing to do with all of her free time, so she was bored out of her skull. This led to many fights. For a while, it seemed like we would never settle in.
About a month after the move, things started looking up. Jess found temporary work as a part-time editor at the local TV station. She loved the work and couldn’t have been happier with her co-workers. I couldn’t have been happier for her; everything seemed to be fine for a while. Not perfect, but fine.
This was when the sleep-talking began. It was to be expected, and honestly, I’m surprised it didn’t start up sooner. You see, my wife is a restless sleeper whenever there’s a big change in her life, good or bad. It happened when we got married, when we moved into our first home, and when she had the miscarriage (I’ll touch more on that later). Jess knows she sleep-talks because I used to bring it up from time to time. I would laugh each morning, recalling the weird things she said the night before. This always made her uncomfortable. She seemed to be embarrassed by it. That’s why, after her first night of sleep-talking in our new apartment, I didn’t say anything.
The sleep-talking went on for a couple of weeks. It was at this time that Jess’ temp job at the TV station came to an end. Without a job to keep her mind off of things, her nightly outbursts became much worse. She began screaming at odd times during the night, in which I would be forced to calm her down.
One night, her screams turned into tears. As she was crying, she said something I’ll never forget.
“I wish you were dead.”
I knew my wife was asleep, but as I sat there by her side, calming her the best I could, I felt the need to press the matter.
“You wish who were dead, hon?”
To my surprise, she responded.
This caught me off guard. It’s a strange thing to want your husband dead, and even stranger while you’re asleep.
“Why?”, I asked.
“You’re ruining my life.”
Those four words cut deep. Whether they were meant or merely the product of a tired mind, they were the kind of words that demanded self-reflection. I wondered for a moment if I truly was ruining her life. Or at least if I were to blame for her night terrors.
My wife remained silent for the rest of the night. I know this because I stayed up. Contemplation and worry kept me from a good night’s rest. I didn’t believe for a second that my wife really wanted me dead, but her late-night antics were certainly a cause for concern. Between the screaming episodes and the morbid dialogue, this was the worst her condition had ever been.
The next morning, I came pretty damn close to telling her about what had happened, but I kept thinking about how she’d react and what she’d say. It was too much. I didn’t want to burden her any more than I already had, especially after she’d just been laid off. I also didn’t want to have another fight. In light of this, I kept my mouth shut.
The following night, the screams were gone. This was a comfort, but a fleeting one. Out of the blue, just as I was about to shut my eyes and call it a night, the sleep-talking commenced once again.
“Sometimes I think about how I’d do it…”
I chalked this statement up to pure, dream-induced nonsense, but then she continued.
“While you’re asleep in bed, I’ll get up and go to the kitchen.”
I didn’t know what she was talking about, but as she kept speaking, it dawned on me. There were some moments of inaudible gibberish, but from the bits and pieces that were fluent, I could paint a pretty good picture of what she was describing.
“…reach into… grab knife… over and over again… blood oozing off the bed… can’t ruin my life anymore…”
My wife was describing her plan to murder me. As deeply unsettling as this was, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. It was just a dream, after all – nothing more. I can’t say I haven’t done some weird things in my own dreams – things I would never do in real life. Jess was mad at me over the move, and she was working out her frustrations while she slept. At least that’s what I convinced myself.
The sleep-talking continued for a few weeks. I hoped that Jess’ midnight venting sessions were doing her some good, but without a degree in psychology, I couldn’t be certain. All I could do was listen to her ramble about offing me each night and wait for her condition to run its course. The longest her sleep-talking had ever lasted was a month, so it was safe to say it would be over soon.
A month passed, then two. Jess didn’t let up. Every night, it was the same routine. Either incoherent nonsense or babblings about how she’d like to hurt me. It was getting old, but one night changed everything. As my wife slept, she uttered some words that tore right through my heart.
“I lost my baby because of you.”
My emotions swirled about and formed a sour concoction that rested in the pit of my stomach. This time, I had to know what she meant.
“What do you mean, hon?”
There was a brief moment of silence, but eventually, Jess offered me an answer. There was some more gibberish mixed in, but she was able to get her point across.
“…you made me want kids… you put life in me… now I’m alone…”
This struck a nerve and caused a few tears to roll down my cheeks. It was my idea to have a kid. Jess never wanted children, but she made herself want them for me. That’s why, after the miscarriage, I was surprised to find her absolutely devastated. I had no clue how much she’d warmed up to the idea of having a baby.
My tears were interrupted by more sleep-talking, of the worst variety.
“I will kill you. I promise.”
That was the last thing she said all night. It’s been roughly a week since my wife made that promise. As disturbing as that threat was, I could have easily brushed it off with the rest, assuming it too was the product of stress and was nothing for me to worry about. Unfortunately, I can’t stop worrying about it. Jess is scaring the crap out of me. I’m now taking short naps and sleeping with one eye open, and it’s all because of one thing…
Now, she’s sleepwalking.
CREDIT: Christopher Maxim
(Click HERE to check out Christopher Maxim’s book, How To Exit Your Body and Other Strange Tales)
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