I woke up early to the sound of N’s alarm. It was 5:30, maybe. It blared a good 5 or 6 times before she became aware that it was sounding. This is normal for her, somehow. I say somehow because the way she wakes up is so opposite from my way. The first millisecond an alarm sounds I am awake and aware of myself and my surroundings. Not so N. She differs from I in both the time it takes her to awake and the attitude which she awakes into. I will not go into details for fear of appearing to make fun. I will say, however, that if there was a sudden natural disaster, that hurricane best wait a minute before it hits N’s apartment, because she’s not quite ready to get up yet, thank you very much. And if it doesn’t like that, well, she has a big fat something it can kiss.
So I awake to N’s alarm. She turns it off before I have to nudge her, surprisingly. She gets up and heads into the bathroom. A light switch is flicked and the corner of a black field of vision gets a little brighter. My eyes are hit with the shock of the first light after a full night’s sleep. Nerves which have been dormant for 8 hours are revving up their engines for another day of use. But they won’t rev up much, because I turn myself away from the evil light and show it my back.
The third noise of the morning is the creaking of the old knobs of the tub. I think for a moment about how N used a black sharpee to make a thick black line on each one so you know just how much to turn them to get the right ratio of hot and cold that lasts the longest. Having a small water heater causes you to go to lengths you otherwise would not.
The faucet comes on with a rush, the plug is pulled, there is a pause, and a hissing rainy sound is heard as water makes its way out of the shower head. I briefly imagine N naked and consider getting up to take a piss. That would be an excuse to make my vision a reality. But the warmth and fuzziness of sleep seduces me instead and I fall back into numbness.
Next thing I know, N is standing over me. Her white nursing scrubs make her look vaguely like an angel. I smile and allow myself to believe that I am in heaven, or going there.
“Before you leave will you make sure you scoop Gabby’s litter box? She just pooped.” My bubble bursts. It was only a matter of time.
“Sure thing.” A broken mess of two words crawl out of my mouth like stink bugs.
“And will you call Reba? We need to make sure this apartment thing doesn’t fall through.”
“You got it.” Three stink bugs. I’m powerfully aware of the need to brush my teeth.
Then there is a pause. “Do you think you could bring me lunch today and eat with me?”
“Uhhm.. what?” I hesitate. At this point I am aware that I have already agreed to two tasks, both of which I may forget. Although I awake quickly, I do not normally possess the ability to comprehend the many tasks that N asks of me. I believe she knows this is a weakness of mine and has, in the past, used this knowledge to my demise. It is, alas, only through much experience that I have learned not to agree to too much too quickly. One cannot imagine the number of battles I have lost because of commitments I have made and never remembered.
“Lunch. Do you want to eat lunch with me today?” Her hands move to her hips. I sense both impatience at my idiocy and annoyance that she has to go to work while I lay sprawled in the bed like a drooling shrek.
“Oh. Lunch. No babydoll. I’m sorry. There were some things I was planning on doing right around lunch time.”…
She hugs me, a bit disappointed. We exchange I love you’s. A sudden pang of guilt shoots through me like a lightning bolt and I am overwhelmed with feelings of assholishness. I tell her to come back to me for another hug. She bends to me in the bed and obliges. I swear my undying love to her and promise to bring her lunch and eat with her next time. She says words that muffle in my sleepy ears, but I imagine she is somewhat appeased. I drift off to sleep again, all right with her and the world.