It wasn’t even three in the morning.

Dimitri woke once again to find himself all but dangling off the corner while Lydia, his love, his heart, his one and only, lay sprawled across their full-size bed like a conquering hero.  How such a small woman could take on so many characteristics of a giant, petrified redwood while she slept was something that Dimitri could never understand.

With his own six-foot-five frame’s precarious perch growing painful, Dimitri tried, as he did most every night, to nudge Lydia back over onto her side of the bed.  The problem, however, and the reason that Lydia slept as she did, was that their cat, Renee, was rolled up in her corner of the bed at Lydia’s feet.  While Dimitri had come to terms with the reality of his bringing up the rear in his little family’s pecking order, he was continually astounded to find that Lydia catered to Renee nocturnally, if not consciously, as well, giving the cat a wide, comfortable berth at Dimitri’s expense.

With an exasperated sigh, Dimitri finally gave up on gently coaxing Lydia on to her part of the bed.  Typically, while he still had a modicum of feeling in his legs, maligned by pins and needles as they were, Dimitri would head into the living room and sleep on the couch.  It was a rubbish couch, so far as he was concerned, particularly when compared to the comfort of his bed, but the adage of beggars opting not to be choosy often won out.

Except that Dimitri didn’t feel like giving in that morning.

He laid flat on his back and lumbered his tree trunk of a right leg over Lydia’s tiny left leg, returning the feeling to both of his legs.  A broad smile came over his sleepy face as Dimitri felt the balance of power shift in his marriage bed.  Victory came in the form of wiggling his toes and being able to feel it.

As he lay there, enjoying both his triumph and the return of his circulation, he felt a gentle rubbing on either side of his right leg.  Lydia, in her sleep, began massaging Dimitri’s leg with her little feet in slight, soft touches, which he found adorable.

Then, inexplicably, in a flash of his mind’s eye, Dimitri pictured Lydia’s feet taking on piranha-like tendencies and nibbling away at the flesh of his leg, the venerable feast at which he had laid between them.  Down through the muscle, not stopping until they hit bone.  Leaving his right leg, from his foot to his lower thigh, a mere skeletal mass that rested in a pool of his own blood under the covers.

It wasn’t even three-thirty in the morning.

Having decided that a real man puts his wife’s needs before his own, Dimitri stretched his legs out on the couch.  He hadn’t felt the need to disturb the status quo at bedtime.  Not when his circulation was just fine out in the living room.