We All Dance Together

by !Lauriin/ Flickr

By Rebecca Myers

The Persian Tea House in Atlanta is the opposite of a dead, hollow concert hall—it’s alive with flowers, Persian rugs, and the aroma of tantalizing herbs and spices. Against the crimson walls, the lavish feast looks like a still-life masterpiece. This concert will be like no other I have experienced.

Tonight’s concert features Sattar, one of the pioneers of Persian pop music. He was an icon, the Frank Sinatra of Iran, before the revolution in the late seventies. His music still reigns nearly four decades after the revolution banned him from singing and put him in exile. Now living in America, he performs to an expatriate community who yearns for their country.

To my right are ten “beds”—raised wooden platforms separated by rails. Each bed is richly appointed with a crimson Persian rug and large tapestry pillows; each can host about a dozen people who sit cross-legged and dine picnic style.

My best friend reserved the prime bed with the best view of the room overlooking the dance floor, musicians, and other guests dining at round tables. Her Farsi name, Afsaneh (OFF sah nay), means “fairy tale” in English. For a decade, she has introduced me to the delights of Persian culture and hospitality.

Persian concerts can start one hour late. It’s much more important for the Iranian community to spend time connecting. I witness an overture of hugging and kissing.

Iranian women prepare for such events with great attention to detail. Dark eyeliner sets off their eyes. Crystals sparkle on their dresses cut in the latest American fashion. Gold jewelry adorns their hands, necks, and ears. Stiletto heels boost the figures of the younger women. They are elegant birds gracing the arms of their men, handsome in their suits. Afsaneh is no exception. She welcomes her guests by kissing us on both cheeks.

We sit on the thick rug, drape our bodies against the pillows, and nibble on Kashk-e bademjoon (eggplant and onions), borani (yogurt and spinach), shirazi (cucumber, tomato, and lime salad), and Naan-o-Paneer-o-Sabzi (Iranian thin bread, feta cheese, and herbs). When we’re ready, we can step down from the bed and join the dancers.

All of Afsaneh’s guests are couples, except for me. And alone is not the only way I feel different from the others. I’m overweight. I dressed sensibly in a pantsuit so I can sit cross-legged, although not with any kind of grace or comfort. My knees stick up in a V instead of a flat, yoga style. I’m awkward and out of my element eating while sitting on a rug in front of others. I can’t seem to find a comfortable position as I balance the food on my lap. I feel underdressed next to the exquisite fashion surrounding me.

I’m a duck that has just waddled into a bevy of swans.

To escape my awkwardness, I stand up, perch on the railing of our bed, and close my eyes, absorbing the music into my body, tuned to the key of Middle-Eastern music. The dark, minor chords infused with joyous rhythm resonate with my own dance of life, which has taught me that joy has its roots in sorrow.

My mind shuts off its negative chatter as the music elevates my spirits. I forget myself as I sway and arabesque my hands.

I figure I will probably hand dance the whole night. But Afsaneh breaks my reverie; she calls and invites me to dance with her and her date. I step off the bed and join them.

Encouraged by Afsaneh and feeling anonymous in the crowd, I let the full flow of the music speak through my hips, torso, and arms. My hips create figure eights of infinity; my arms are undulating snakes.

I keep dancing even when Afsaneh and her date leave. A tap on my shoulder interrupts me. I turn. A young Iranian couple wants my attention.

The man asks me with a quizzical look, “You…Iranian?”

I smile and shake my head, no.

They both shake their heads and she blurts out, “Noooooo! You American?”

“Yes, I’m American.” I raise my eyebrows in question.

They look at each other and he says, “You wonder why we ask?” He pauses. “It’s because you dance like an Iranian—a beautiful Iranian dancer!”

I’m stunned and it clearly shows on my face.

“You don’t believe us!” They laugh. He holds up a camera and points at it. “We take a picture of you, we think you dance so beautiful!”

I blush. In a split second I go from anonymity to the spotlight. A duck to a swan. The swift shift is jarring. If they were Americans, I’d chalk it up to alcohol, but no drinks are served at this event. Are they sincere or making fun of me? As if in answer, people sitting near the dance floor meet my eyes, nod, and smile. A waiter passes by; he winks, one arm laden with dishes, his free hand motioning thumbs-up.

I breathe in their good intentions, their smiles. A rush of profound gratitude fills me. Speechless, I put my hand on my heart to acknowledge their kindness.

After a few more dances by myself, I feel another tap. I turn and see a handsome Iranian man with salt-and-pepper hair and a younger woman. “You are a wonderful dancer,” the woman says.

The man nods eagerly. “You dance with me!” he exclaims.

I look at the young woman.

She smiles. “This is my Uncle Ali. I’m his niece.” She waves us on. “Go dance!”

Ali and I swirl around each other. When the music changes, he pushes through the crowd to make sure I get a close view of the star singer. Sattar’s gray, cropped beard and darker mustache frames his songs, while his handsome face and dark eyes emote the song’s joy and passion.

Time for a break, I think. I’m about done in.

But a tall, big-boned woman with flowing bronze curls parts the crowd as she strides up to me with a powerful presence. Ali steps back, watching. “You dance with me,” she demands with a smile.

We dance around each other as Iranian women do, and as Afsaneh and I have often done. We mirror each other’s movements and send our arms back and forth under our eyes toward each other while our eyes lock. The surrounding dancers encourage us by clapping to the beat.

At the end of our dance, she turns and looks at Ali. “Sooo—are you with her?”

I fully expect him to say no. Any American guy who has just danced with you a few times would say no. “With” could have complicated meanings, and we certainly didn’t arrive together.

Instead, Ali leaps up and proclaims, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” with much enthusiasm.

“You’re a very lucky man,” she declares to Ali.

I suddenly feel hot and shake my head in wonder, caught somewhere between crazy reality and magic. My hand on my heart silently thanks Ali for his exuberant yes. I observe this scene like a reader of my own story, as if I’m floating outside my body. This moment shimmers in suspension.

She then turns to me and intimates with a sweep of her hand, “You know, I know all these people here for many years. The Atlanta Iranian community is close, but they come from different religions. I myself am Christian. There are Jews here as well as Muslims. But you…” She pauses and cocks her head. “…I think you are Sufi!”

I am honored. I love the illuminating poetry of the Sufi mystics, Rumi and Hafiz. Six to seven centuries later, their poems are still beloved around the world today for their spiritual beauty and wisdom, their weaving of natural wonders with profound insights.

We part for dinner and rejoin our own groups.

The Persian feast is sumptuous. Iranians show their generosity and love through food, and this event is no exception. Pyramids of apples, oranges, dates, figs, and pomegranates. Festoons of grapes. Dishes of eggplant, onion, and garlic. Fresh greens and mint. Skewered lamb, beef, and chicken with tomatoes and green peppers. And fragrant rice sprinkled with dill or saturated with rose water. A feast to feed your soul!

After dinner, the lights dim. The darkness reflects the mood shift from gaiety to seriousness. People hush, anticipating. I sit on the edge of our bed as everyone returns to their seats. Sattar changes from singing upbeat pop music to a traditional song full of ancient, guttural tones.

I close my eyes and feel the pain of a people separated from their beloved homeland and families; their longing to be reunited; their love for their mountains, deserts, ancient civilization; their cities and culture. They have their freedom, but not their home. I find myself weeping at their heartbreak.

Sattar ends his song. The silence speaks the audience’s profound respect and emotion. I need a tissue for my eyes and nose. I’m a mess. I open my eyes; sitting next to me is a petite, chic woman with ebony hair. She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn. She stares at me with gorgeous green eyes swimming in tears.

She huskily asks me, “You…you…understand Farsi?”

“No,” I apologize, “just a few words of greeting.”

I gingerly venture forth. “But I think the song was very sad—about missing your homeland, about all you’ve sacrificed…yes?”

Her eyes widen with surprise. Her voice trembles, part anguish, part anger, when she says, “I raised two children in America, but they don’t understand!”

We hug each other for a long time. In this moment, we’re no longer two women from two different cultures, but simply mothers connecting through the universal love of children and home.

I walk toward the door, and everyone waves goodbye to me. “MerciKhodaa haafez!” We’re no longer strangers. As I step out under the stars and breathe in the gift of this night, I remember Rumi’s words: “There is a community of spirit. Join it, and feel the delight … Close both eyes and see with the other eye.”


REBECCA MYERS writes about transformation through travel, nature, work, culture, and relationships. She currently translates complex science into language our grandmothers can understand for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She also teaches creative writing to her colleagues and is writing a memoir and a children’s book series about the spirituality of nature.

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Picking Up

By ashleigh290/ Flickr

By Sonya Huber

Stuck in traffic on the Merritt Parkway heading south in Connecticut on a Tuesday morning, I’m staring at the tailgate of a beat-up, black pickup truck in the lane ahead of me. An extension ladder hangs on the struts of a metal support above the truck bed, which is scattered with buckets of tools. The tailgate sports the geometric logo of Narcotics Anonymous and the slogan “Never alone, Never again.”

Traffic unclogs, and the green of a New England morning in July blurs past. Even as my car speeds forward, my mind has been hurled backward into to my former life with the sight of that bumper sticker. No—I never met anyone in a parking lot to pay for drugs. I never shook with the physical ache of withdrawal. I just loved an addict. For a long time.


The addict I loved drove a weathered, blue pickup. When we first locked eyes over coffee, he told me a heartbreaking version of the hard-life stories in own family. I saw a man valiantly struggling to right the legacy of wrongs in the fruits of his family tree. He didn’t say, “Hi, would you like to sleep with someone with a substance abuse problem?”

He took me on adventures: fossil picking near a hidden waterfall, a flea market, a drag race. He wrote me notes and left flowers and cooked dinner. As we ate the chicken he’d cooked and ladled from his own crockpot, he told me I had saved him, and I protested. No, nobody did any saving, I said. But I enjoyed the stories he told in which I was cast as Wonder Woman. The stories in my own head starred me being good enough, so a cape and invisible car gave me a rush. Plus, he was sexy.

Once, early on, he left me naked on his loft bed for an uncomfortable moment of silence. I heard the tinkering of his drug tools. As the sweat cooled on my body, I knew another love had taken my Wonder Woman status. No—I half-knew she’d been there long before me. No—I had no idea how deep she was into him; she was his origin song, his mother. I pulled on my jeans and ran from his house, and he chased after me. Later, as we walked beneath the oaks that lined my street, he mulled and said, “I should just quit. I’ve thought about it.”

I, for my part, honestly thought quitting was an option, a simple decision.

I weighed and mulled. I sought advice. “He’s great on paper,” said a sympathetic single friend. The dating pool had slimmed out through marriages, hopelessly twisted personalities, and band guys.

Fast forward years of Googling—is he an addict?—and wondering and diagnoses and indecision about whether to leave.

Because…it was just pot.

So of course I didn’t think it was a big deal at all until I got sucked up into a maelstrom and watched as this one life was derailed.

Yes, I have heard about Sanjay Gupta. No, I don’t think pot is a problem for most people, but people get addicted to standing in front of a slot machine. This is not even about pot. This is not an attack on your Saturday night or your aunt’s legal medical marijuana treatment for cancer. This is about a distant cousin: addiction. If you don’t know much about addiction, you are lucky you don’t know much about addiction.

I clung to my coffee cup and my to-do list and my furious ability to work, and almost nobody knew. I amped myself up on work and my checkbook balance and the hope of scraping enough together to make Plan B. And we stayed together.

The sordid scenes left me shaking. I could frame the moments with their fractured details, but each postcard of me crying in the night could be turned over to read the secret message: Wish I Wasn’t Here With Him. Why AM I Still Here? I was still there—with him. For my own complicated reasons involving hope, my own drug of choice.


Then one day he called me, said, I can’t do this any more. The world had crumbled in a friend’s back yard, where the summer light made the undersides of the dense trees look like an inverse x-ray, a web of black with light at the edges. A knot had tied in his soul. He touched some electric edge in himself. He told me on the phone that he got too high—even with all his experience, he had crossed into the raw slippery meat of his own brain.

It was a secret day for him, maybe not a day he celebrates now.

I trembled as I waited for him to come home, scared like the waiting before birth or death: he was choosing us or maybe something different that included me. He saw the outlines of his life as unworkable, which took such guts.

He entered the house with the colors of his face in livid contrast: reds and whites, blacks of the eyes, the mouth. Half of himself had fallen to the inside. He lay on the bed and I was terrified for him. I had longed for this afternoon, had imagined the action in film stills. In the living of it, I was frozen in a strobe light of my uselessness.

More symptoms would come: The creepy crawlies, a splitting headache that triggered his migraines, dizziness and nausea, sweating. Flu-like symptoms and chills. Later, the insomnia and nightmares. Weeks of aggression, blasted thoughts, plunging depression.

We paged through the phone book—tiny letters, thin pages—in a low spot for which there was no 911 to call. This was too common, we learned, and too expensive for 911. I left messages, handed him the phone when I reached the intake nurse. We took turns on hold with cell and home phones, nodding, taking notes, eyeing each other frantically as we heard phrases like “two month waiting list” or “we could call you when we get an opening” or “we don’t take insurance.” All those private places at the outskirts of the city would be too expensive and too slow. The timing of the crisis and the solution seemed incredibly mismatched. What they didn’t say: twenty million people per year in the U.S. needed treatment and could not get it due to cost and lack of beds. We just wanted one.

We found the city option on the cheap: an intake meeting tomorrow and then outpatient meetings during the day and groups at night. He’d stay at home for detox. Work was out of the question. The schedule would keep him contained and safe, with time filled and one place to go. I revered his effort and his guts.

I had hoped for this upheaval, but in practice it a quiet accident, a water leak. No one could know.

One day after he’d gone to group, I sat in the park. I went for a walk where I always walked, but I didn’t even make it to the path. I sat down in a kind of squashed kneel in the outfield of a baseball diamond, my calves alongside my thighs, the way kids sit. I closed my eyes and could not even scream. I felt a glowing heat devouring me, not grief but anger in its purest form. The meteor in my stomach weighed me down, too heavy to even carry. Why be angry?

Dumbfounded, dumbstruck: I had not imagined I’d be shattered at being right. I had guessed that this secret might define our lives, but even more secretly I hoped I was wrong. I hoped this phase would pass without a crisis. This was the birth of the next part of our lives, but dirty, like in a gas station bathroom off an anonymous exit.

A friend put me in her car, and we drove past the outskirts of the city, along a highway to a tourist attraction near the town where she grew up. There was an ice cream stand and a goat pen. You could put a quarter into a red metal machine and twist the knob to get kibble to feed the goats with their angular slotted pupils.

I have those flashes frozen like fresh rescue in my head: a goat clambering up a slanted board to reach his neck over the planks of a fence, his lips straining and flapping to reach nuggets of processed food. My hand on his bony back, the bristly fur. Inside the breezy stand with chained-off looping lines like a carnival ride where I stood. I think I bought a shake, and I think it was strawberry. Even as we rode the highway loop, I knew it would end up with me back at home, empty handed, no comfort to offer. In the end, there were times I had to put stuff in the car and flee, just to get out of the way of the unhinging, unspooling.


The other addicts mocked him in the meetings, planting the seeds of his relapse as they all ground their teeth and raged with red-rimmed eyes. THC can’t make a lab rat’s heart explode. God, how those newly clean, irritable, and strained people in chairs railed at each other, raw as pain without skin, competitive about how close they’d come to the lip of hell. Whose hell was better, stronger, faster. The sickest turn on each other, as they will turn on loved ones, rounding on anyone to shred to distract from their own misery.

His counselor met with him privately and sketched out his damage: because he had used regularly before he was fifteen, he was five times as likely to be an addict as your average smoker. Starting early was kind of a cause, but there was always another factor—everything in his young life—that led to smoking up. Call it the genes, the interaction of the drug in the brain, a crushing narcissism, stresses in the home and beyond—new studies even say that the high itself is not what the brain craves, but that the high comes with a dose of doom that only the drug will lift, and the brain yearns only for relief.

We heard figures I had to look up later to understand, the numbers of people unhappily dependent. It wasn’t cool to worry about pot, his gateway sweetheart, but we were so uncool now. His drug won first prize, four and a half million no-big-deals seeking treatment per annum.

Rehab and recovery brought us to family meetings where we sat in circles, telling secrets. And I got to see him, who he really was behind the chemical screen he’d worn the whole time I’d loved him, and I fell in love twice as hard as the first time. I re-pledged myself to him, then he relapsed. Then again.


I kept going to group meetings for friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts, and I had to pass the gauntlet of alcoholics and addicts who stood near the church basement’s entryway, wreathed in cigarette smoke. They’d nod and say Hey, and I’d ignore them. Or worse, I’d give them the look that equaled death. You demons. You homewreckers, all of you, I thought.

Not so many years ago, I would see a car on the highway with a recovery message on its bumper, and I’d shudder. I’d send out a prayer to that poor sap’s partner, if she hadn’t already left him.

We wore our relationship down to nothing and the drugs won, or I lost. Or I won. Or the battle got played out. After I left, I stayed in the groups because they helped me understand the person I had become. I parked in lots next to cars with bumper stickers saying “Never Alone. Never Again.” I passed through the smoke-wreathed gauntlet of addicts and alcoholics so often that they began to frighten me less. Then I began to go to some of their meetings to hear them speak. I knew their spouses and kids. I began to see in their eyes a humanity that I had lost the ability to see in my former love.

Now he’s still with me in the thousand pop-culture reference to the drug in songs and on t-shirts and in casual conversations. He’s with me when I see any of the thousand references to his drug of choice.

Now I accelerate to pass the black pickup truck and turn my head to the right to catch a look at the driver. I am a practiced eye, even racing on a highway in tandem. I see, despite his sunglasses, a posture of calm and a skin color of health gracing the presence of this stranger up as early as I am on this Tuesday morning. I want to roll down my window and cheer him with a hero’s greeting, but I settle for flashing him a smile.


SONYA HUBER has written two books of creative nonfiction, Opa Nobody and Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and a writing textbook, The Backwards Research Guide: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration. She teaches at Fairfield University and in the Fairfield Low-Residency MFA Program. She’s at work on a book-length essayistic memoir on the topic of substance abuse. More info at www.sonyahuber.com.

The Love of My Life, The Thief of My Sleep

sleepy dog
By Gina Kelly www.ginakelly.com

By Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

When he first started to stay over at our house, my then future-stepfather brought my mother a curious gift. It was a rather large brass horn, used by hunters, he said. The brass curled around itself; the flare of the horn was handsome. But it was odd, this object. We all stared at the horn and then at him when he presented it to her. The gift wasn’t romantic, nor did it have to do with dreams of hunting trips. It was supposed to be practical. “If I snore too loudly,” he explained, “just blow the horn.”

My mother practically giggled at the gift. She certainly blushed. She mumbled something along the lines of his snoring being “not that bad.” She was happy, that much was clear, and I was relieved and pleased for her.

By rights, though, he should have brought me a kazoo—or a foghorn. His snores traveled through the ceiling of what had been her room and quickly became theirs right through my bedroom floor. He was, indeed, a loud snorer—the loudest, in fact, I’ve ever known. The sound resembled a cross between a drone and a series of honks. You could picture some cartoon character with a big bill or an outsized schnozz.

Their romance began near the end of my high school career and my leaving for college. The snoring served as a tiny sign to get out, a harbinger. Things were changing in the household. That was fine—I was ready to leave. Most of the time, I found the incredibly thunderous sounds from below more amusing than annoying. It was loud, but it was at a safe remove.


Years later, I met the love of my life. It turns out that Hosea, too, snores. His snoring is a honking, snuffly, schnozzy, start-and-stop affair. Sometimes, it reminds me of a monologue, comedic to the listener, dramatic to the performer. Except the performer sleeps through it and the listener finds herself in a tragedy, the one of being awake to hear it in the middle of the night. I can’t say whether he snored less early in our relationship or whether I was so entirely smitten for the first decade and a half that I just didn’t care. I care now.

My boyfriend-turned-husband displayed an uncanny ability to sleep through anything. Hosea snored and he slept, the one never disturbing the other. At the beginning of our relationship, in fact, I was in the midst of a kitchen renovation that required some work on the roof just beneath my bedroom. Think hammers that pounded loud enough to seem as if the work were going on inside your bedroom. He slept right through the ruckus morning after morning, long after the sun rose high in the sky. My usual wakeup time was more in the dawn hours and so I’d go about my day, incredulous that neither heavy construction nor full sun woke him. He often worked into the wee hours; he wasn’t a slacker. Our opposite tendencies had advantages from the perspective of an early riser: Hosea didn’t bother me when I did my best work, because he was fast asleep during my most cherished work hours.

When we became parents, his natural night owlish tendencies cut both. Chicken or egg, the first baby was a night owl, too. They hung out—and the baby slept in, once he was old enough not to wake up all day and night long. We had to wake him for preschool. On the positive side, the middle-of-the-night stuff could fall to my dear husband before he’d actually want to go to sleep. On the negative side, every early morning waking—with each child, the hours got more “kid normal”—fell to me and my precious early mornings evaporated. Back on the up side, Hosea can drive teenagers at night and recently chaperoned a cast party at our house that began at one a.m. and ended at four. I slept through the entire shebang. Also on the up side: I tend to go to bed before he does. Often, he’s in bed, reading, and turns the light off for the two minutes it takes for me to drift off. That’s sweet—quiet and sweet.

I’ve come to imagine snoring is much like the ripeness of high school and college-age males. Back when our bodies first discovered one another’s, the funky ripeness became part of the appeal. A strong scent was a strong sensation. Their funk was, when we were together, mine in a way.

At some moment over the last few years, when the very dear and lovely and loud husband’s snoring woke me, I ceased to be charmed—or forgiving. I went from unflustered to fully furious with flip-of-a-switch speed. I’d poke him. “You’re so loud!” I’d call out, not quite yelling but certainly not whispering. Whispers had no impact at all. I needed to put more muscle into my voice than was readily available in the middle of the night, which is part of why I got so enraged. Ginger prods did not rouse him either. I had to poke or shake. This required effort. The act of attempting to get him to roll over or shut up woke me up more, after I’d already been awoken by his sonorous snores. This was a recipe for a trip to nowhere good and quickly.

Every next snore that he snored once I was awake and trying to get him to stop snoring just pissed me off even more. This assault on my sleep, after years of babies and toddlers and anxiety over the babies and toddlers, was kind of a final straw. I didn’t want to be bothered by my husband. All those parenting hours that had chipped away at our alone time and our romance time were compounded in the middle of the night by his being the one to steal my rest from me. It was the opposite of romantic. It was burdensome and enraging.

Still, divorce did not enter my mind.

I began to fantasize about separate rooms. Sometimes, when it gets bad, Hosea shifts to a kid’s bed or the couch in the room off our bedroom. Sometimes, if a kid has already moved into our bed, he’ll simply take the kid’s bed. Mostly, though, he prefers our bed and his position beside me. Lucky me. I mean that, you know, except for the sleeplessness.  “Would separate rooms help?” he asked one morning after I hadn’t slept much at all. “If that’s what it takes, let’s do it. It’s not like we’re doing anything in our bed at night surrounded by all these children other than sleeping.

“Sleeping,” he added, “if we’re lucky.”

It was practically the most romantic offer ever made under the circumstances. I felt cared for and understood. Our romance remains alive, despite all those children. Our love is strong. Partners in exhaustion (and often in anxiety, too), we both covet ever-elusive sleep. Regardless of whether I’d like my own bedroom—and I know I’m not the only woman to want one—the truth is we don’t have an extra bedroom.


After years of practice, Hosea responds pretty well to being jostled. I don’t have to shake so hard or poke so pokily or yell so loud. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles whenever I have to do so. He is, I know he is, as he slumbers on and I lie awake for a while. Unromantic as snoring is, insomnia is pretty much of a mood dampener as well. Some nights I lie awake, perplexed that I’m awake and that what bothers me are such silly things as snoring—or teenagers’ socks strewn across the floor or loads of other things I never thought I’d be bothered by, for that matter. I don’t know what I thought would preoccupy me. It just wasn’t stuff like this.

Rather than simply have me furious at him every single night, we began to seek solutions. Hosea wears anti-snoring nose strips when he sleeps. They resemble band-aids. Some nights, they really help; other nights, they seem decorative, like the Dora the Explorer band-aids my daughter insists on wearing. After years of my badgering, Hosea finally visited an allergist. The allergist identified allergies and prescribed new medication. The snoring has decreased in frequency and audibility.

The white noise machine I bought to help drown him out helps some, too, although not once I’m in awake and especially not once I’m kicked into worried mode. My mother’s white noise machine is the public radio station, which drones on all night long—and serves the secondary purpose of distraction if she wakes up anxious. Also, my son notes her hearing isn’t quite what it used to be. We got into her car recently—the radio blasting—and I’d have to agree with him. I guess I’m still hopeful that, like my mother has somehow done, I will eventually reach a state of accepting accommodation in regards to my husband’s snoring. She continues to insist it’s “not that bad.” Hosea hasn’t gotten me a horn, and I haven’t begun to lose my hearing, not even selectively.


SARAH WERTHAN BUTTENWIESER is a writer living in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband and four children. Her work has appeared recently in the New York Times, Salon, and Brain, Child. Follow her on Twitter @standshadows.