The Dreaming of the Shrew

: Tracy Beckerman on

"You were talking in your sleep last night," I said to my husband when he stumbled into the kitchen that morning. I handed him a cup of espresso to jolt him out of his coma.

"No, I wasn't," he said.

"How would you know?" I said. "You were asleep. I was not asleep ... because you were talking in your sleep."

"I don't talk in my sleep," he said as he sat down at the table. The dog came over for a scratch behind the ears or maybe just to take my husband's side.

"Well, you did last night," I said. "And you were very adamant about it."

Now my husband was interested. I'm sure he thought he had perhaps divulged some husband secret from deep within his subconscious, like the fact that he purposely hangs the toilet paper the wrong way just to make me crazy.

"What did I say?" he asked.

"Begone," I replied.

"I said 'begone'?" he repeated.


He shook his head. "I would never say 'begone.' I'd say, 'Get lost,' but I wouldn't say 'begone.' I think you heard it wrong. Maybe I said, 'poupon.'"

"Were you dreaming about mustard?" I said.

"Unlikely," he admitted. We were both silent as we wondered what had inspired him to yell out "begone" in his sleep. Maybe he had dreamed he was a king's attendant in a Shakespeare play, or a French knight in a Monty Python movie. Perhaps he was a hobbit standing his ground in the Shire, or a constable clearing the cobblestone streets of Old England from lollygaggers. Or maybe he dreamed it was 200 years ago, I was berating him for hanging the toilet paper the wrong way, and he yelled at me to "begone."


This wasn't the first time he had talked in his sleep. There was the time he did a musical countdown and conducted an orchestra while he slept, smacking me in the face as he directed the string section. Another time he yelled out, "Who's there!" and I jumped out of bed and hid in the closet, thinking there was an intruder in the house. And one time he told me to bring the camels inside, even though we lived in the suburbs and we weren't zoned for domesticated desert pets.

Sleeping with my husband was not restful, but it was certainly entertaining.

"Did I say anything else?" he asked, hoping for some insight into the source of his nocturnal mumblings.

I thought for a moment. He had said some other things but mostly under his breath, so I couldn't make them out.

"I don't know," I finally said. "Maybe I dreamed it."

"Probably," he said. "'Cause I would never say 'begone.'"

"OK. Anyway, honey, I have to run," I said, putting on my jacket. "I have an appointment. Would you mind taking the dog out?" I thrust the leash at him.

"Fine," he said. "Begone."


Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, "Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble," available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at


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