Mom Overheard ‘Counting to Four’ in Her Sleep


I remember the night it started. I’m a heavy sleeper, so the sound of a raised voice bounced around in my subconscious for several moments before it began to make an impression. Finally, it was the dog barking a response from the next room that jolted me to attention.

At first I thought one of the kids was awake upstairs. I put on my glasses and glanced over at the clock on the cable box: 2:25. I was about to get up to check on things when the voice started up again, “One…two…threeeee!” I jumped at the sound of the ominous voice so close to me. It wasn’t coming from upstairs; it was behind me.

Specifically, it was coming from my wife on the other side of the bed. I looked over toward her, then rolled over to face her to get a better view. “Fourrrrrr!” she continued.

Her eyes were closed and, despite the counting out loud and the twitching of her right hand, she was dead asleep. I decided not to wake her because she seemed to be in a foul mood. I rolled back over and covered my head with my pillow to block out her menacing voice.

This is our new normal now. It doesn’t happen every night, but I wake to the staccato counting several times a week. Perhaps this is what they meant by for better or worse.

But you know what is really odd? Every time, when my wife starts her middle of the night counting, she stops at four. Not once has she reached five. I don’t know what will happen if she ever gets there, but I’d rather not find out.


About the Author

Andrew is a writer from Orlando, Florida. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Higgs Weldon, RAZED, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Defenestration Magazine, Scary Mommy, Flash Fiction Magazine, Paste Magazine,, and He also writes on his website, Explorations of Ambiguity, and you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. His first book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is available now.