Maybe, she says out loud to herself while trying to fall asleep, what I really needed to wake back up and smile again, is this empty bed.
Maybe, she says out loud to herself turning over, adjusting her pillows, and settling in, I needed to have this time to talk aloud, to air my grievances and pose my questions, to speak to G-d or my ancestors or the fan humming above.
I find myself talking out loud to myself a lot while laying in bed trying to fall asleep. It started in my early years, as a young child, when I struggled with the idea of death. My tears and out-loud conversations to no one and someone were welcomingly quelled when I felt an overwhelming sense of peace within me. And ever since then, when I am most ill at ease, feeling like I need something to calm me or aid me and give me strength, I do this exercise. I speak out loud. Most of the time, I am connecting -- not praying -- to G-d. I'm just talking. Posing questions and making suggestions about why things are the way they are and discussing the questions people have been asking for centuries and throughout generations -- the how's, the why's, the what's.
The thing is, when you share a bed with someone, you can't do this. I mean, I'm sure that there could grow to be this understanding that you talking out loud is your personal conversation and that the other person should pop in some earplugs or wait to come to bed or something. But it seems awkward and uncomfortable. I don't know how it would work, and I don't know if it will.
For much of the past year and a half, my bed was shared with another individual, and I would whisper the sh'ma quietly, into my pillow, like a secret. I never spoke aloud in my way of private conversations. My head got busy and I'd have circling thoughts, unable to release them into the air in the room.
But it isn't the same. Releasing words into the surrounding space makes them quiet. It's like writing down your thoughts, it creates this strange sense of calm to know that they're no longer in your head, but are someplace, concrete and still.
Anyhow. I find myself speaking aloud each night, not searching for a divine sign or anything. Just wanting to get the words out, to calm my mind, to ease my soul. And it reminds me of how I felt as a child, and I pray every day for that kind of calm. That washed-over feeling of silence and peace.