The loud clanging of the clock tower next door to us engaged my brain as the first chime prompting me to count. Seven clangs. It was time to get up.
My brain was inspired to bolt out of bed. My body not so much, the aches and pains of endless humid days gripping my aging joints into stiff denial of their intended purpose.
The light from the bathroom window filtered through the mosquito netting Lisa had stapled to the frame, now fluttering on the edges in the gentle breeze inviting the smallest of the rambunctious biters to enter at will.
Tom slept quietly beside me as I lay on my back looking at another ceiling I had yet to notice until now almost seven weeks later. At least once, wherever we’ve lived, I’ve spent a morning, an evening, observing the ceiling almost in an effort to get my bearings.
Where am I? Is this really me? Is this the person of ritual, of routine always striving to make a concerted effort to be reliable, dependable, a person “you-can-bank-on”, one could always count on?
Where are the people I spent a lifetime trying to please? Not here. The one with me expects so little and gets so much, give so much, effortlessly. “They” never asked or expected anything of me. It was my own doing. I had to leave to stop. It was my own doing.
In part, it’s a “woman/mother” thing, giving without being asked, doing when doing didn’t need to be done, reaching out when the only hand extended was my own.
I miss them. But I don’t miss who I was when I was with “them,” the perpetual hunger to please, to be available when I wasn’t and near the end when I couldn’t eke out another moment of trying. None of “their” doing. All my own. Needing to be free.
Selfish? No. Self saving? Yes. As one would go off on a quiet retreat to renew, rediscovery, refresh to someday return to a more accessible environment with a perspective of commonality, not sacrifice; of unity, not autonomy. To be free, in their midst. That’s the dream. It will come, by my own design. In time, it will come.
In the meanwhile, like the well-built and creatively designed ceiling looms in my range of vision, my weary joints coming to life, I roll off the too-close-to-the-floor bed, rise to my feet with a smile on my face, ready for another clear day; clear in spirit, clear in heart and now, clear in mind.
Until then, I am home.