Days Are Longer Than Nights.
Days Are Longer Than Nights.
In the slither between dawn and day, she sat at the edge of the bed and yawned. Her puffy eyes were dark beneath, each ring full of sleep. Giving them a thorough rub, she focussed through the window, blinking away the tiredness, yawning again, staring at nothing in particular, but thinking how dull the landscape was; out there and within.
Swaying her feet like a petulant teen, but those years long gone, along with the freedom she pined for, she struggled to get motivated. She was always the same after waking. Like a chameleon, she needed rays from the sun to warm her blood, to thaw the frost in her bed; in her life. Today would be as glacial as yesterday, and the day before that; so on and so forth, the weight of inconsequence, crushing.
Tugging at a loose strand from the hem of her nightshirt, (the one he liked the shine and sensation of), or used to, before her mother’s...situation, had gotten too much for him, and he'd left. She buried her nails into her palms and clenched a fist. She dug deep.
Time would wake the house soon, dragging her—kicking with rebellion—into its sun-bleached mundanity. The kind of light which was much too bright for her. She'd wear sunglasses, but only two types of people—a wise man once told her—wore sunglasses indoors: the blind and the idiot. Of late, she’d walked in the shoes of both.
The loose strand she was playing, snapped, and now she anxiously toyed with her hair, just as she had as a child; making ringlets over and over, humming a song from her childhood. How she pined for those memories. If only she could revisit such golden times...if only. How she pined, she pined, she pined. The song she had learned from her mother, which in the evening, she would sing to her; perched at her bedside, like a devoted nightingale. "Sing for me. Sign me that song. Sing for me, girl, sing for me,” her mother would implore after supper, with the lamp turned low. "Mother," she grimaced at the thought then sighed, her shoulders sinking, her heart dropping into her belly, heavy like a slab of marble...
...Reaching back and taking her phone from under her pillow, she switched off the alarm before it could scream. Half-awake, she imagined what if, at the press of a button, she could engage peace? That inner kind of peace. The kind you notice when it’s gone and been gone for so long, you can’t remember the sound of silence. How she pined for such silence. How she pined to hear a pin drop...Life without so much brain traffic would be much less deafening, nowhere near as demanding, unlike her mother. No, no, not true. It was what her mother had become.
She was a test of patience now, a trial sent from God no less, she was sure. It wasn't her mum's fault, of course, but still, when the day is so long that when you shut your eyes you forget to sleep, something’s wrong, isn’t it?
She cut these thoughts dead. These morning meanderings led nowhere, only to dead-end recriminations. Dementia was a cruel disease; as wicked as cancer, both condemning those who watched its ugliness play through until the final act, but still, it was no less tiring for her. She was so tired, so tired, so tired. Tired of being the only witness to her mum's hold onto reality diminish, and the spikes of lucidity she did have—like her hair—thinning every day, shedding more of the woman she called mum. It was draining. When does love morph into duty? When does duty shape into a burden? When do you become ashamed of your thoughts? ‘What have I become?’
She'd delayed enough. Shaking away such treason, she rallied to move. The sun was flooding through the window, basting her skin, making her squint and turn away, but thankful for its touch. "Better move. Can't fight the inevitable," she huffed. Standing then stretching, and catching her reflection in the dressing table mirror, she groaned again. More stretching popped stiff shoulders, and with her neck cracking like bubble wrap, she took a deep breath. Then a deeper draw, and with a final stretch, she just about mustered enough willpower to get dressed. On cue, her mother called her name.