Tommy has started to sleepwalk. Not that he really walks in his sleep, but when he gets up in the night to go pee he no longer wakes up completely. They told him it would be like this, the going pee. “Every hour or so,” they said, “probably in time with your emergence from deep sleep.” They were right about that, but they never told Tommy about the sleepwalking.
“It’s the injections make you pee,” they said. “But you’ll get better when the effects wear off, in about eighteen months time.” Well, it’s been a year now, and Tommy still goes pee every ninety minutes, as regular as clockwork. He’d say as regular as a train, but the trains he knew never went anywhere on time and Tommy can set his watch by his middle of the night aquatic meanderings.
It’s funny really. If he wakes up properly, there’s no problem. But if he’s only half awake, then who knows where the pee’s going. Sometimes he wets his pajamas, just pees on them, half-asleep. There’s nothing like warm urine rapidly cooling in the cold night air to shake Tommy from his dormant state. When that happens, he takes his pajama bottoms off and hangs them on the bathroom door. They are often dry again a pee or two later and then he can put them back on.
Tommy tries not to turn on the light, because it wakes his wife and she needs her sleep even more than Tommy does. His wife has started to become used to Tommy’s schedule and about four o’clock, every morning, they both wake up and pee together. On April the First, last year, Tommy wrote a poem about it.
When we were young
we used to wake up
at night and
Now we are old,
we wake up
at night and
It’s quite funny, really. Tommy and his wife now use separate bathrooms. Tommy uses the en suite while his wife walks down the corridor to the guest’s bathroom. Tommy remembers to raise the seat by repeating to himself: “Gentlemen raise the seat” like they used to say in the old railway trains back in the UK. Tommy has come to think of it as a definition: “Gentlemen raise the seat.” Sometimes, though, he thinks of it as a sort of toast: “Gentlemen: raise the seat.” It all depends on the punctuation and the intonation, and Tommy can never say it quite like they did on Beyond the Fringe. At Tommy’s age so much depends on so many things.
Tommy wishes he knew what the direction of his pee depended on: it seems to have a life of its own. While he usually remembers to raise the seat, he sometimes forgets and then of course he does his best to wipe the seat clean and dry. He’s usually pretty good at it, but it’s difficult to be certain in the dark. He found the high-pitched shriek that followed when his wife’s warm cheeks hit the cold wetness very disturbing, especially when attached to a roar of anguish turning rapidly into rage. They never said anything in the hospital about that either, but that’s the real reason why Tommy and his wife now use separate bathrooms.
And he’s started sleeping with his teddy bear in his arms. Teddy’s very good for Tommy. Tommy clings on to Teddy and Teddy never complains if Tommy wakes him when he gets out of bed to go pee. Teddy doesn’t complain about the night sweats either. Oh yes, they told Tommy about those in the hospital, too. Every time Tommy gets out of bed and goes into the cold night air, he starts to sweat. When he gets back into bed, Teddy is nice and warm, like a hot water bottle. Tommy gives Teddy a squeeze and a cuddle and Teddy never wakes up and never complains.
Tommy likes Teddy