I have always been… what you would call… a troubled sleeper.
It wasn’t like Joe, my now ex-husband, didn’t know this going into the marriage: He’d already been quite at home in my bed for several years.
He knew about my walking through the house in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, talking about someone in my sleep whose name was “Mr. Pig.”
He tolerated my hitting, slapping, biting as I slumbered… but I guess when I kicked off his big toenail during the lobster incident…it really was the final straw in our night time sleeping routine and maybe… actually the catalyst of our marital collapse.
We were living in our apartment at the time, and I had just watched a National Geographic special about lobster migration.
I didn’t even know that lobsters migrated and Joe, already queeeeezed out by the large numbers of lobsters migrating across the bottom of the mid-Atlantic ridge, via our TV screen, begged me to change the channel before he totally freaked.
My mean streak however, caused me to hedge a few moments longer, enjoying watching him squirm, before giving in… but I have to admit… it really was an odd and seriously disturbing sight.
There were thousands of giant lobsters, piled together like bright red cockroaches of the sea, propelling themselves backwards at an alarming rate, towards God knows where, their tails flapping rapidly, pinchers acting as flippers, as the line crossed miles and miles of ocean floor.
It was creepy.
I shut the TV off and went into the bedroom to read.
Now, I’m not really sure when exactly I dozed off, but when I woke, I sat up in bed and stared at the giant lobster sitting at the bottom left hand corner of the mattress.
He was startling in size.
His beady black eyes glaring at me.
He seemed to be daring me to make a move, to put up a fight, his pinchers pulsating in-and-out ready to snap off my finger if I even tried to take him.
I knew what I had to do.
I gently pulled my foot out from under the covers and swung my hardest kick right to the lobster’s face.
He screamed as if I had just thrown him into a boiling pot of hot water to be cooked before I heard his body make a large “thump” and land at the foot of the bed.
I was ecstatic!
I had saved my husband from the lobster’s inevitable wrath!
I was Queen of the Bed!
Queen of the World!
And so…unable to separate my sleep disorder from real life, I woke completely to find Joe, writhing on the floor, screaming in absolute pain, confused and alarmed.
I turned on the bedside light and looked at his face: He was bewildered, eyes the size of saucers.
“My toe!” He screamed. “My God my big toe! What the hell was it? What the hell happened?”
How do you look at your spouse and tell them the honest to God truth?
I tell you… it isn’t easy.
I looked at him with my best pouty face and said in my littlest voice, “There was this giant lobster migrating across the bed and…”
His face changed from one of total confusion to downright anger.
“Fuck you!” He screamed. “Seriously D.D. fuck you!”
“But Joe,” I tried to explain as I pulled back the cover and crawled out of the bed to help him, “It was…”
I knew that what I had just seen was about to escalate this incident to about ten-fold in a matter of seconds and I was preparing myself for it.
“Joe,” I said calmly. “Um, I think we need to go to the hospital.”
Joe ‘s face went from anger to total panic.
He looked down and began screaming. “You’ve kicked it off! The whole fucking thing! Oh my God! You Mother Fucker! My toenail is gone! It’s gone!”
Blood was everywhere.
I began circling the floor as if I were Jackie O. trying to find JFK’s piece of head and stick it back on.
“Joe,” I cried, “I’m gonna find it. I’m gonna put it back on. It was the lobster… I swear I was saving you and…”
“YOU CAN’T PUT IT BACK ON!” He screamed as he rolled into the bathroom and kicked the door closed with his good foot. “FUCK YOU!”
It was actually the most “fuck yous” ever used towards me at one period of time in my life.
If I hadn’t been worried that Joe was gonna come out of the bathroom and shank me with the toilet plunger or the nose hair trimmers, I swear I probably would have chided him on his lack of vernacular.
I sat on the bed in silence… listening to my husband moaning in the bathroom.
I waited patiently until he came out, towel wrapped around his foot, one flip flop on the other, a pair of old athletic shorts and a t-shirt that read “Eddie Would Go” hanging loosely from his tattooed frame.
I watched as he grabbed his wallet and car keys.
“Do you want me to go with you?” I asked sweetly.
“Fuck no,” he said as he stomped across the living room, kicking baby Dylan’s Mr. Magoo car with his bad toe, which resulted in another slew of curse words and a wild swinging of both arms, before he reached for the door, walked out, and slammed it behind him.
It was two hours later before he returned: big toe swaddled in bandages, bottle of extra strength Tylenol in his hand and it was two months before I was forgiven for the incident and to be honest… I really don’t think I ever was.
It’s been over fifteen years since I tried to save my husband from the giant lobster on our bed and yet it was just three weeks ago that Joe reminded me, how I ruined FOREVER… his absolutely perfect toe.