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Apnea

On Saturday Adam and I tossed a change of clothes in overnight bags, grabbed some bedding and met a few friends to head up to their cabin for an evening.

We drove out of town, crept slowly along a deeply pitted road, slowly silencing ourselves as the noise of civilization dropped away too. We watched the canopy of trees unfold above us, the thick drifts of fog envelop us.

It was a short trip – we were back before 1pm the next afternoon – but its incredible what getting out of dodge, even for for less than 24 hours, can do.

A few of the men attempted an icy cold midnight swim, we sang happy birthday, tried to play beer pong while I acted as the judge and mediator. We took flashlights and trudged to the outhouse as needed; groggily boiled water for tea and coffee the next morning.

Adam rigged up a device to toast some bagels for me and we sat there, the six of us in contemplative silence, chewing eggs and fruit, sipping instant coffee.

Adam and I didn’t get much sleep. The upstairs of the cabin held all of the heat from the wood stove we’d had burning for the better part of the evening. I was stripped down to rolled up pyjama pants and a light tank top with all the windows open yet still I lay there sweating and wheezing.

The floor plan was pretty open, as is to be expected in most cabins. Our nearby roommates fell asleep before us and the male half quickly fell into what I can only describe as a series of painful-sounding asphyxiations, struggles with wildebeests and satisfying-sounding moans.

For an hour or so the roaring snores forms a deeply irritating rhythm, a gulping, horking, wheezing crescendo on the inhale, a soft whistle on the exhale.

“How is he breathing so fast?” I moaned to Adam after rolling over for the eighth time, unable to block out the noise with my hands or the two pillows we’d brought.

Then suddenly just as I had begged Adam’s pillow off of him to put between my knees, the rhythm of the snores disappeared, there was a short period of silence.

“He stopped!” Adam exclaimed happily, we high fived and nestled deeper under our blanket.

And then there was the loudest snort-rumble-gasp-roar of all, jolting us from the sweet reaches of almost-sleep.

“What the fuck was that?!” I cried, not knowing that I would have ample opportunity to analyze each facet of that terrifyingly loud, unpredictable cacaphony over the next two hours.

I honestly think this guy must have had sleep apnea, he must have been stopping breathing for a few minutes at a time. There’s simply no other explanation in my head (except maybe being possessed by the furious spirit of Satan himself, intent on ruining the one thing I hold dearest)

The whole process sounded incredibly painful; complete silence would blanket the cabin for a few moments, unpredictable in duration, often lulling our exhausted selves into the first tentative stages of sleep when BOOM! that gasp! That wheezy, chortling, grunting, grating, rumbling, desperate inhale at the point of asphyxiation.

I am not ashamed to say that after more than two hours of this I just wanted to help him finish the job. I wanted to strangle him to death with my bare hands. I lay there on the hard mattress with my hips aching, trembling with rage.

“How can his wife sleep beside that?! Why isn’t she elbowing him?”

At one point Adam shouted “STOP SNORING!” to no avail.

A few moments later I looked up to see him standing at the guys doorway with a pillow in his hand and a murderous look on his face.

“Adam!” I hissed, “What are you doing?”

He turned to look at me, “I’m going to end this once and for all.” he said calmly.

Internets I wish I had let him. Instead I coaxed him back to bed and we lay there together, listening to that chuffing rhinocerous try to breathe.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I heard it. Water.

“Do you hear that?”

“What?”

“THAT…”

and there it was again.

It sounded like someone was pouring a cup of water onto the floor. Or, you know, PEEING.

“Someone is fucking PISSING on the floor! I’M IN HELL!” I cried, and then actually started crying.

Internets I was tired, so very tired. Sleeping in a sauna, (or actually NOT sleeping), and now someone was fucking urinating the floor. Possibly right next door.

I have no idea how it happened but at some point we must have finally succumbed to our exhaustion because then, suddenly, it was morning.

Grey light and the sounds of more soft rain filtered through the windows and after coffee and breakfast and some good natured teasing for the wildebeast himself, we packed up and headed home.

Home to the big beast, incredibly excited to see us, home to our own beds and our own snores and real coffee and electricity and flushing toilets.

Sometimes you need to leave to want to come back.

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