Sleepers and More

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My mother liked to watch TV until four in the morning, which was the time when my father would wake up. Their lifestyles became so opposite that they couldn’t share the same bedroom.

I gave up my bedroom for them but just in a few days, we all knew it was not working. In the morning, my father was not in his usual upbeat mood, because he didn’t get enough sleep with the light and the noises that mom made in the room. For several days, I slept on the living room sofa, and found out very soon that American sleepers are not designed for sleeping on them, unlike Russian ones.

Somehow, Russian families sleep, make love, and even die on their sofas, never complaining about their backs. Somehow it looks like the American sleeper-sofa is designed to never be open. After another sleepless night, my father found out that we were both a little off. We sat out on the shaded porch that was still cool at this early hour.

“Lida, I think you do not get enough sleep – you look tired and you have school and two jobs, and you are the only one who drives, maybe I better sleep on the sofa and you sleep with your mother?” This is our Russian way to request something without ever naming the problem or making a direct request, but it took me awhile to learn how we communicate.

“Oh, no, Papa! I am fine. You need to stay with Mama.”

“But it will be a much better arrangement for you. I wake up at four and will not wake up anybody if I sleep

downstairs. I could water the plants and flowers out on the deck or go for a walk without making too much noise in the kitchen.”

“Oh, no Papa, you do not make any noise. Go to the kitchen and eat.”

“But the table is right behind your sofa, and I know I wake you up when I turn on the light and eat.”

“Oh, no, don’t worry. You do not bother me.”

My father sighed heavily. “Lydia, could you please let me sleep downstairs? I do not get any sleep with your mother watching TV until the time when I get up.”

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