Thursday, July 29, 2010

You Don't Need Postage for That

By Susan Esther Barnes

I’ve been told, by a very reliable source, that when my husband came to bed on Monday night and started to undress, I woke up (or not) and informed him, “You don’t need postage for that.”

My excessively brilliant husband took this in, then replied, “Thank you,” upon which I said, “You’re welcome,” and promptly fell back asleep, while he valiantly stifled his laughter.

I began having nocturnal conversations when my sister and I shared a room as kids. She would come back late from a party with her high school friends, we’d have a brief exchange about who was at the party and what happened, and in the morning I’d have no recollection of our little chat.

I know these conversations happen, however, because sometimes I’ll remember something about them once the incredulous other party reminds me about it. Sometimes I don’t remember the conversation at all, no matter how much detail the other person uses in describing it to me.

Every once in a while, I’ll remember a tidbit on my own the next day, and I’ll ask my husband, “Did this conversation actually happen last night, or did I dream it?”

When I stop to think about it, it amazes me the level of trust we display when we’re willing to fall asleep with other people in the room. We voluntarily lose consciousness, leaving ourselves utterly vulnerable to anything the other person may choose to do to us or our belongings while we sleep.

This vulnerability rises to a new level for me, since I know anything could come out of my mouth in the middle of the night, completely unfiltered by any mechanisms I may employ while I’m awake to protect myself or others from harmful disclosures. And the next day I may not remember it at all.

What a rare and special thing it is to find someone with whom we feel comfortable enough to rise to this level of vulnerability, on a regular basis, and usually without even giving it a second thought. It’s a thing almost all of us share with another, at least at some point in our lives. I don’t think we appreciate it nearly as much as it deserves.

And you don’t need postage for that.


  1. I wonder if it was influenced by what you were dreaming about?

    one time I yelled out CAKE! in the middle of the night. Guess sometimes you just gotta demand pastry.

  2. I think it was influenced by my sister visiting over the weekend and talking about her oldest daughter going to college this fall, and me thinking about mailing her something.

    Cake sounds better than postage, I must say.

  3. I hear you about finding someone that you completely trust. It's really not easy to trust somebody to that level (at least to me it isn't).

    It's one thing to love someone, romantically or otherwise, but it's a completely different thing to have complete trust in that someone.

    I'm not even talking about trusting that the person won't cheat or something, I've never been the jealous type. I'm talking about knowing deep down that the other person wants the best for you, loves you as you are no matter what and would never willingly do anything to hurt you on any level.

    You can fall asleep knowing that you are safe and secure. It's huge isn't it?

    P.S. I think John needs a tape recorder LOL

  4. susan, you've written a lot of amazing posts-- but this one is really beautiful! trust is such a tricky subject for me and i agree-- we put A LOT in someone we build our lives together. even the "basics" like sharing a home and bedroom require so much trust! you said it beautifully.

  5. Willow - No tape recorder for him. That would violate the whole trust thing.

    MM - Thanks.

    Both - Trust isn't the easiest thing for me, but it's so rewarding when you put your trust in the right people!