He Talks in His Sleep

I don't even know where this came from. Don't ask.

He talks in his sleep.

It is always the same, beginning with soft, indistinct mumbles and mutterings that pull me from my own dreams. Within moments the murmurs twist and flex inside his throat and chest, heartbreaking frantic pleas falling from his lips, sometimes the smooth, rapid tones of German, sometimes the rougher, less certain strings of English, usually a combination of the two. Always it is her name, a constant, the refrain between the near hysterical pleas and hopeful encouragements as his voice raises to screaming. Always her name, a repeating litany as he screams and shudders, desperate to be heard. By the time I roll on my side to face him, his screams have dissolved into sobs.

During the day he seems happy enough. His smile still melts my heart and sets the blood roaring my ears. He offers his arm to link through my own as we walk through the kingdom we rebuilt from the ashes of the lie I believed in with my whole heart.

He talks in his sleep.

Worse are the nights when he pulls me closer, sighs softly against my shoulder, and his tails ghosts along my calf. His lips sometimes press softly against the back of my neck and his warm breath sends shivers along the exposed skin as his murmured endearments glide along his air. These nights, as he speaks against my skin, are in German more often than not, as if the ability to translate his words into English has deserted him. When he sighs her name in that breathy contented tone, I choke on a sob, knowing the slightest noise will wake him and loath to pull him from a rare sleep not haunted by screams.

Once I skimmed through a German/English dictionary, translating the phrases and whispered endearments that had slid across my skin the night before. I did sob then, the metal smooth and cool against my suddenly fevered skin as I slid down the wall, my knees shaky and unable to support my weight. I sobbed harder when he found me ten minutes later and gathered me into his arms, unable to tell him what was wrong.

He talks in his sleep.

Desperately I want to touch him, to slide my hand along his face, to gather him in my arms and whisper comforting words in his ear. To brush away the tears that soak his fur and quiet the screams that burn his throat. But it isn't my touch he asks for.

When the sun is high, he laughs loud and hard, chasing Sammy all the way to the water where the boy, far more at home in the sea than on land, loses him in the waves. He laughs harder and shouts something about cheating before turning to where I stand on the bridge overhead, waving me down with a wide, playful smile. I smile back, torn between wanting join in their play and wanting watch, to burn such moments deeply into my memory, knowing this is the closest I'll ever get to having my own children.

He talks in his sleep. But I don't think he knows.

Tonight even his frantic, scared mumblings are loud and distinct. I know it won't be long before the screaming starts, drowning all the other sounds of the night with pain and despair in their purest forms. Her name is already forming on his lips, his breathing becoming rapid and panicked as he relives that night again behind his eyelids. I roll on my side to face him as the tears begin to leak from his eyes, heartbreaking sobs mixing with his desperate screams. I clench my eyes shut and press a pillow over my head, but his voice breaks through the flimsy barrier and silent tears leak from my own eyes as I pray to whatever deity that might be listening to grant one night, just one night of silence. One night without dreams.

But the ghost of Kitty Pryde continues to haunt him. And in my deepest most secret heart…I'm glad.

Because I think it would kill him too if she weren't.