Not unusually, The Mister gets up at 5, grooms, makes his travel coffee, picks up his lunch, dials our bedroom dimmer light to one, kisses me, and leaves.
I sleep lightly and dream heavily. I wake up in strange mental landscapes. I wake with emotions right on the surface. I spend my first brain activity trying to piece together fragmented images of dreams.
I say things when he wakes me. I might say “Love you” or “Have good day,” but mostly I moan. Sometimes I might startle or snort, or try to pull him back into bed by his tie. Now and again I don’t know I’m awake so I might warn him that the dog is on fire and needs new batteries. I think we can agree, he’s quite brave to serve as my first warning that morning has arrived.
Rarely, while The Mister’s shaving I get up and bag his lunch, pack him a breakfast, make his coffee. Even less often, I am writing when he wakes.
He does not talk in the morning. It is as important to not talk to The Mister in the morning as it is not to feed Gremlins after midnight. He also wakes up in strange mental landscapes, with emotions on the surface. Although he seldom remembers his dreams, it’s easy enough to determine they are violent. I think he wakes up on THREATCON BRAVO, and as such, I do not wake him like one wakes other people. I poke and retreat. Poke and retreat.
I know couples on television and in the movies wake up with witty banter and cutesy talk, but we wake up like oil and water. I could tell you many stories about how vulnerable I was, and how I spent an hour crying over how cruelly he spoke to me, and then how he called at 9am to tell me he was sorry, but it’s best I relate this to you in terms of our children, who are, it seems, just like us.
“Sissy, I’m makin toast. Would you like toast? Do you want some of this strawberry butter, too?”
“If I want some toast, I’ll make some damn toast! What I do is none of your business! Don’t you think I can make toast without you?!? And no, I don’t want your stupid strawberry butter!”
Bubba puts the strawberry butter back in the fridge, “I was just askin because I could leave the toaster and the bread out for you. Excuse me for being courteous!”
Sissy slams bread into the toaster and mumbles about how capable she is and how annoying her brother is.
Bubba’s eyes water. I pat his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Buddy, but we’ve told you not to talk to it in the morning, haven’t we?”
“Do you know where my orange jacket is?” Moo asks Sassy.
“Why would I know where your orange jacket is?”
“I dunno. Cause you have eyes. You might’ve seen it.”
“Your room is a pit. Why don’t you go in your room and look for it! Don’t blame me when you lose things! I can’t even fit in your orange jacket! What’m I gonna do, wear it on one arm?!? Jeez, Moo! Shut up about your stupid orange jacket!”
Yes. We are just like them. They are just like us. Recently this was evidenced by Bubba, Moo, and myself, sitting at the dining table, chatting pleasantly while sharing a watermelon breakfast, while the others sat in the living room in silence, probably secretly hating us and scowling at nothing.
Some people you can sense coming. You can feel them before they arrive. They have a large presence. But, there are few people I cannot feel coming, even at close proximity. They’re just naturally deft and quiet, like ninjas. Those sneaky-ass people are dangerous to me, as I have anxiety disorder and they scare the daylights out of me.
My son likes to come upon me while I’m busy and simply stand beside me and stare at me until I notice him. Then I like to jump and scream. Then he likes to laugh. His eyes dance as he says he’s sorry. He’s not sorry.
I cannot tell you how many times I have stood in the shower, washing my hair, only to open my eyes and discover The Mister standing directly in front of me. Of course, I jump and scream like Norman Bates got in my shower, and The Mister laughs and laughs. I’d told him repeatedly that such a fright is bad for my anxiety, but he didn’t take me seriously. He takes too great a pleasure in scaring me.
Once this last winter, I awoke to the sound of the door alarm beeping, only to realize I’d slept through my morning kiss.
I leapt out of bed and rushed out to the drive to kiss him. He was already pulling away, so I ran around to his door and smiled.
I scared him so badly, he practically jumped into the passenger seat.
Have I mentioned I’m white as a ghost? I am.
Did I mention I was wearing my white pajamas? I was.
Y’all know I had some wild bedhead goin on.
I was like his wife, but I stood out rather spectacularly, specter-ly even, in the cold, dark, loneliness that is 5:30am in our driveway.
Apparently, it’s not funny to scare someone who has PTSD. I guess that kinda fright can really do a number on their anxiety.
I scared him!
He hasn’t tried to scare me since.
This post was inspired by Aussa Lorens, do you even read her?