Karen and Kevin are a happy couple with a problem: anytime they're together she sleeps.
| "Ok Karen," Kevin said as pulled into her driveway. "Spill it. What is really going on?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean why is it, every time we hangout together it seems like you fall asleep? I mean even my Dad is noticing. It's becoming one of my Dad's favorite jokes so you know that it has gotten bad."
"I think you are exaggerating."
"No I'm not. You have been dubbed sleeping beauty and I am the most boring boyfriend ever."
Karen rolled her eyes." We both know that you are way too conceited..."
"Confident," he interjected with a smile.
"to believe that."
"But really, what's wrong?"
"I've just been staying up late because I've been busy. You know it's that time of the year and I have all the projects due, and I studying for finals," she said while climbing out of the car. "I'm just tired."
Kevin followed suit and stepped out into the open air. "Really Karen? He wished he could take her words at face value. With anyone else he would have, but he knew with Karen, everything was never as it seemed.
"Tell me Karen. You know I can't stand secrets. We made a deal. The only way this, " he gestured between them with his hand, "can even remotely work, is if you are honest with me." Kevin stopped to take a breath, and noticed Karen's misty eyes. It tore our his his heart.
"I'm sorry Kevin. I don't mean to fall asleep, but I just can't help it. I'm just so tired.
"But why?"Kevin suddenly had a bad thought. "Is is your father? I thought he was out of town?"
"Yeah," she laughed a humorless laugh. "But it doesn't really matter." She turned her back to him a took a few steps away from his car. "Have you ever felt like planet earth turns so slowly?" She gave another sad laugh. " When my dad is in town, I can't sleep because of his presence. I don't even leave my door open just a crack because he might be in one of his moods. But lately even if he is out of town, I still can't sleep because of the nightmares."
Kevin could hear the emotion in her voice and see her shoulders shaking. All he wanted to do was to wrap her in his arms and promise to take her away from here. But he couldn't. It tore him up that he couldn't help her. He couldn't even comfort her, because he knew if he tried to even reach out, it would startle her. So he just stood there, leaning against his car and let her speak.
"Its like my dreams are bursting at the seams. It's so bad that honestly I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep."
Karen turned back to face him, and that was all the permission he needed. He reached out and held her while she sobbed.
"Honestly Kevin, the only bright spot in my life is when I'm around you. You're like...like..." Karen threw her hands in the air like she was struggling to find the right words. 'Like that firefly. No you are like ten million fireflies that light up my world. That's why when you are around I feel like I can relax. And I'm so tired that I immediately fall asleep."
Kevin was blown away. Karen always joked that he was confident to the point of arrogant. He had to admit that he did have a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence. But Karen was his weak spot. He honestly had been beginning to think that he was the problem. But to know that even when he was clueless, and physically unable to help, she thought of him as her safe spot, was powerful and humbling.
"I hate it Kevin, because I want no need to spend time with you. But I'm so tired. Too tired to fall asleep, until you're near. Then I drift off. I try not to but..."
"Hey, hey," he said while soothingly rubbing her arms. "Its ok."
"No it's not!' she exclaimed. "I hate to say goodbye because I want to spend time with you! It's not fair, and it not ok!"
"I know honey, but we will figure something out. I promise."