My eyes sprung open in the darkened room. I lay in the bed trying to decide if perhaps I might fall back asleep, but the numbers on the clock radio filled the room with a lime green glow and my mind began its predawn ritual of worry. Not wishing to wake my husband, I rolled from the bed, fumbled through the jumble on the bedside table to retrieve my glasses, phone and iPad, and quietly snuck from the bedroom to the sanctuary of the “new couch,” a couch we have had for thirty-seven years, certainly not the newest couch in the house, but indisputably the most comfortable. I piled the square pillows around me, building a nest to cradle my aching back and hips, and settled in to await the dawning of a new day.
My head pounded as if the infantry was marching through my house, raising a cloud of urine-tainted cat litter dust and releasing a flood of post-nasal drip down the back of my throat. I heard the click of the thermostat and knew the AC soon would be blowing chilled air throughout the house. The door at the top of the stairs swung open and bare feet shuffled across the oak-grained floor. Glancing up, I saw the ghostly image of my night-gowned sister illuminated by the nightlight as she traveled to the bathroom and back to bed. The stairs began to creak and I knew my husband was half-awake and making his way to the recliner in the media room upstairs. After much mumbling and grumbling and creaking of leather, he and the ancient black cat inherited from my mother following her death 14 years ago fell into sonorous sleep.
Slowly the dark sky began to turn a pale gray, the birds began to sing their greetings to the rising sun. Cars traveled down the street, slowing as they approached the stop sign, accelerating as their drivers continued on their way to work.