The following is a small excerpt from my Big Work In Progress. I thought I’d share a taste today here on the blog. Enjoy.
“Over a month after returning home from the hospital she still felt tenuous and fragile. And yet there was something in the air, or in her dreams, or in the light coming through the windows that felt different.
Sometimes life surprised her. Waking early, feeling unusually rested, she would climb out of bed feeling oddly energetic. The morning would run smoothly, the day unfolding simply with few glitches. Afternoons flowed like water into an evening. Busy or relaxed didn’t matter. On those rare days life was manageable, easier and, dare she think it, happier.
Occasionally two such days would occur back to back. She tread lightly on that second day, aware of the fragile miracle she was experiencing. Laughter bubbled out. Fun erupted. The children’s mischief and messes didn’t overwhelm her. She could think with clarity. Planning ahead provided hope instead of a sense of dread. Creating a simple meal brought satisfaction.
Even the muscles in her body responded to the difference in the very air around her. She moved quicker and accomplished tasks without achiness or apprehension.
She thought perhaps the medications were helping.
Her husband thought so, too. He’d said as much one evening after dinner. The kids had slipped away from the table and back to a bedroom to play.
“Nice dinner, sweetie,” he said.
“It was good, wasn’t it?” she said running a finger along the edge of her plate. “And quick and easy to fix, too.” She felt pleased at the accomplishment.
“How are you feeling lately?” he ventured.
“Mmm. Okay, some days. I guess,” she replied.
He shook his head as if agreeing with her. There was some silence. He seemed to be waiting for her to say something more, but she didn’t.
“To me, your lows seem less low,” he said.
“And your highs, your good moments, your good days, seem,” he looked for just the right word, “tempered.”
“Yes. Not as vibrant. Happy but not too happy, I think.” His forehead furrowed as he looked at her.
“It’s like your meds have placed a floor and a ceiling on your moods.” He had emphasized the word “and” as if it were critical to the meaning of his sentence.
“Hmm,” she leaned her chin into the cup of her hand, her elbow resting on the table. “Hmm,” she repeated. “Interesting visual.”
In her mind she pictured a cartoon drawing of herself bouncing through a long tunnel, her head crashing into the ceiling, then rebounding to the floor. Seems like she had seen a “Roadrunner and Coyote” cartoon like that once. The hapless Coyote ricocheting off winding tunnels, his hard-hat light clicking off and on as he bounded helplessly along.
She laughed out loud at the memory of it.
“What?” he asked. “Why are you laughing?”
She described the cartoon to him and he chuckled slightly.
“I didn’t mean it quite like that,” he said almost apologetically, a grin spreading despite his efforts to hold it back.
“Oh, I know,” she smiled. Then she lifted a hand to his face across the table. His day old beard was scratchy but only slightly. The warmth of his cheek felt calming. Reassuring.
“Mmmm,” he said, closing his eyes at this unexpected affection. After a moment or two, he reached for her other hand across the table.
There was a squeal and burst of laughter from the kids in their bedroom, then near silence. Other than that, the house was quiet and still.
“Thank you,” she whispered.
“For what?” he asked, opening his eyes and looking at her. She shook her head, her eyes shiny with tears she was holding back. Taking her hand from his cheek, he cradled both of her hands between his.
She couldn’t put words to what she meant, not really, but she tried anyway. In a barely audible voice she said, “Thank you. For not giving up on me.”
“Shh…” he responded, “shh.”