Friday, August 19, 2016

A Cycle of Joy and Melancholy

I have a new routine at night, wrestling with my new CPAP machine. I admit that I have been sleeping better overall. I like breathing moist cool air while I'm tucked under my covers. But I'm having some problems getting used to the big hose and having a mask over my face all night.

This morning I heard Mike leaving and I rushed out of bed to say goodbye. He was already in the foyer when I hobbled in on bare feet, trying to get my bones adjusted to being upright. He put down his backpack and his smoothie, then sat down on the bench to put on his tennis shoes. He still wears khaki pants and a dress shirt to work, but he puts tennis shoes on with them instead of dress shoes. I like the look.

"What are you doing up?" he asked.

"I'm saying goodbye to you."

You know those repetitions that make you happy, that make things right in the world? This is one of them. Summer will end soon and we'll all be in the kitchen at the same time when school starts, but this is our summertime routine and it makes me happy.

"How did you do with your CPAP last night?"

"Fine. The mask was lying on the pillow next to me this morning and the machine was off."

Mike leaned over, found a shoe, slid a foot into it, and tied it. He sat up to look at me.

"You don't remember taking it off?"



He leaned over and found the other shoe, kicked into the back corner and almost out of reach.

"Now I have two little bruises on my forehead where my mask attaches to my face."

I pointed to the spots and could feel the soreness there. Then, I leaned against the wall. It was too early.

"You need to loosen the straps around your head."

He shoved the shoe onto his foot and tied it. Then he stood up, the signal that our time was nearly at an end.

"But whenever I loosen the straps, it ends up shifting in my sleep and then waking me up with cold air blowing into my eye."

Mike did something with one eyebrow that was an answer. He picked up his backpack and slung it over one shoulder. He picked up his smoothie. I took two steps forward and leaned into him, tucking my head into his other shoulder where it belonged. I held the strap of his backpack to keep it from sliding off.

"You'll get used to it," he said into my hair.

  He always hugged me with the cold smoothie held away from me.

"As long as I don't keep taking it off in my sleep."

And then he was out the door, waving at me from the driveway by the garage, and then gone. This was one of those repetitions that was always made me a little sad. I could go back to bed, could sit and read in the quiet house before Nick bolted into the morning. I could do anything. It should have been sweet, some time to myself.

But it wasn't.

Thank you for listening, jb