Yesterday Chris woke me up as usual by wafting a cup of espresso macchiato under my nose. He has brought me coffee in bed every day for the last 25 years - and my gratitude for this kindness knows no bounds. I’m not a morning person. I’m not even a brunch person. Without coffee, I’m not sure you could classify me as a human person much before noon. For that reason, I’ve become more of a coffee user than a mere coffee drinker.

Chris knows this and being a chirping early bird to my screeching night owl, each morning he tiptoes out of bed and does god knows what all alone for a hour or more. Sometime later he silently confirms at least one of my eyes is open, sets a cup of magic on my nightstand and then wisely retreats to the relative safety of the kitchen to await my rising. Eventually I stumble out of the bedroom begging Dickens-ist, ‘Please sir, I want some more.” He always happily complies. Whether he acts out of his innate kindness or the fear of dealing with the she-demon that is the un-caffeinated incarnation of me, I’m not sure.

Running a freelance photography business means you have no set schedule – I don’t have to get out of bed at the same time every day and constantly changing time zones means my internal clock never gets in a rut. I don’t automatically wake up or get sleepy at a certain time, I can be ravenously hungry at midnight and I could very much feel like drinking a martini at 10am. So I don’t know why Chris wakes up early. And as I’ve told him, the early bird may get the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese – and who wants to eat worms anyway?

This particular morning he was sporting a larger than usual grin on his grotesquely wide-awake face. Even in my quasi-conscience state I couldn’t help but notice it hovering, Joker-ish, over my bed. The night before had been our first together in over a week and we had ‘celebrated’ my finally joining him in Italy by spending much of the afternoon and evening in bed – gossiping, sipping vino and engaging in other mutually pleasurable activities. MY CHILDREN SHOULD QUIT READING THIS RIGHT NOW. YOU KNOW HOW ICKY IT IS TO HEAR YOUR PARENTS TALKING ABOUT S-E-X. FAIR WARNING.

As I was saying, Chris was unusually jubilant, even for a morning after. When I raised one eyebrow in question – which was the closest I could come to forming a complete thought pre-caffeine - he said, “I had an interesting dream last night”, and he brushed a suggestive kiss across the previously mentioned verbose eyebrow. I told him it hadn’t been a dream and suggested he lay off the grappa tonight to prevent further memory loss. I followed that with “try touching me again before I drink this coffee and you’ll be kissing knuckles”, or some other charming endearment to that effect. Without caffeine I have absolutely no control over the evil darkness that lurks within. Thank god coffee placates the creature and allows me to regain at least partial control of my mind and mouth.

With the beast abated and second cup in hand, I asked Chris to describe his dream. First, let me say that I’ve always been jealous of his sleeping habits. Chris falls effortlessly asleep within seconds without aid of TV or other mind-diverting devices and regularly sleeps soundly for 7-8hrs at a stretch without waking or even moving much. Unlike me, he doesn’t toss and turn, he doesn’t snore, nor does he scream obscenities in his sleep or wake at the sound of dust bunnies forming under the bed. Amazing.

His dream was about sex. Duh. Chris’ dreams generally fall into only two categories; sex or meeting up with old friends he hasn’t seen in a long time. The latter are homey and apparently provide contact and information he craves. He’ll wake up and say, “Leroy says to tell you hello”, or “Barbara finally moved to Colorado”, and we’ll talk as if the dreamed meetings really happened. But his sex dreams far outweigh the happy nostalgia ones. Duh. He rarely if ever has scary dreams which are about the only kind I have – he’s never chased by crazed homicidal asylum escapees that look suspiciously like ex-spouses, or parents or a sick combination of the two and dripping fanged monsters don’t regularly jump out and rip his arms off and beat him over the head with them as he runs in slow motion. Amazing.

I think I’m fairly typical of most women in long-term relationships – sex is enjoyable, but I don’t think of it as the main focus of our partnership. His appetite for bedroom Olympics exceeds mine - which reminds me of the Woody Allen film in which a couple is going to therapy and the analyst asks each separately, ‘How often do you have sex?’ The wife replies ‘Very often, about twice a week’. Her husband responds, ‘Almost never, about twice a week’. Which is why I make sure I get credit for any and all sexual initiations on my part because I know he keeps careful tract of such things, even if he denies doing so. I think all men do. There is probably a spreadsheet hidden somewhere on his computer that documents each and every sexual encounter we have ever had and knowing Chris it details not only who initiated the act, but contains a rating system that tabulates on a scale of 1 to 10 and automatically produces pie charts, line graphs, etc. It probably contains the humidity and barometric pressure readings at the time of copulation - seriously, I would not put it past him.

Back to the dream – “It was morning,” Chris began, “this very morning as a matter of fact, and we were laying in bed. I looked down and discovered we were both wearing medals around our necks. The medals were for outstanding sexual performance! Apparently the Sex Fairy, who is sorta like the Tooth Fairy, had heard about our efforts the previous evening and had visited us in the night.

“We were so surprised and deeply humbled by the honor”, he continued. “I mean, the medals weren’t like made of gold or anything. They were more like coke bottle caps on a shoestring, but in the dream we were very proud and happy anyway.”

Bottle caps on a shoestring? I enjoy playing around with dream analysis but days later I’m still trying to workout the significance of the cheezy awards. As long as you’re dreaming, why not make them out of platinum or studded with diamonds? Chris didn’t seem phased by the physical nature of the medals and became rather put-off at what he considered my materialistic reaction. Huh?

I probed him further but unfortunately he did not remember any details about the rules or the scoring criteria the Sex Fairy Judges used. He brightened up when he recalled the medals were very rarely given out to couples in our age bracket. I could tell he was taking our standings in the competition rather seriously so with as straight a face as I could muster, I asked, “What was our, eh, position on the award podium?” He merely frowned in concentration, not getting my double entendre. So I said, “1st place?, 2nd place? Or maybe it was more like missionary position? Or were we standing on our heads perhaps?” Frowning, he looked at me as if I was the one that was crazy, and stated, “You just don’t understand, the competition doesn’t work like that.” He then huffed out of the room to get some coffee. Amazing.