“What? No muffins?” Cool-guy asked as he walked through the door at the end of the day.
“Tomorrow morning will be a muffin morning. It’ll be worth the wait.” I tried to wake up from the nap I was taking on his couch. Still tired. Maybe he wouldn’t notice. I refused to talk about it. I was tired. Tired of him. Tired of this. Tired of explaining. Why was I even here? I should be home. Alone. I didn’t need this in my life. I didn’t need anyone in my life. I wanted to be alone.
He hung his coat on the hook by the door. “All the way home I was hoping there’d be muffins waiting for me. Nice, hot blueberry muffins for dinner. But. No. Not a muffin in sight.”
I yawned. “You’ll be even hungrier for them in the morning.”
“Why can’t you make them in the afternoon?” He teased.
“Oh. Because. Muffins don’t taste good at the end of the day.”
He sighed, dropping the mail on the counter. “I’m being neglected. No muffins for me. You’re the only woman who has ever baked for me and you’re holding out. Ok. I’m begging. Muffins……please?”
I smiled. “Manana.”
He walked towards me. “Ok. But. I’m waking you up at five thirty. Just to be sure there are aren’t any unforeseen problems that might get in the way. No excuses. I’m a muffin-starved man.”
I tucked the blanket around my legs. I get really cold when I’m like this.
He bent down for his hello kiss. I kissed him wholeheartedly with half the energy. He didn’t notice. I settled back on the pillow. Maybe if I kept him talking. He wouldn’t pry. I wouldn’t have to explain. Because being in a shutdown meant the self-pities would continue running through my head till it was over. That’s how it was for me. And I’d have to work double time to keep them from escaping. They liked nothing better than to leak out and pollute my world. I’d keep him talking.
“How was your day?” I lifted my eyebrows to accentuate my interest.
“What’s wrong?” He asked, staring at my face.
“With your day?”
He sat next to me. “I thought you weren’t having seizures. I thought the meds had finally erased them.”
I bit my lip. “Well. I’m not aware of any, but there could be some subliminal ones. It’s hard to tell. And I could have them when I’m sleeping and I wouldn’t know it. Except…”
He laid down next to me. “What’s going on, baby? You don’t look so good.”
I took a deep breath. “My body’s in a shutdown. Right now. Right here. But it’s not that big a deal. But….I’ll need to take another nap at some point.”
He climbed under the blanket and put his head on the pillow. “What’s a shutdown?” He turned towards me and flung his arm over my stomach.
“After every so many seizures my body turns off for a while. It’s like it needs to recalibrate or something. It’s normal for epileptics. It doesn’t happen all that much.”
He nodded. “It happened after Europe, didn’t it?”
“Yes. That’s the last time. So that was about five months ago.”
“What do we need to do?”
“I need to sleep for a few hours and maybe when I wake up it’ll be over.”
“And if it’s not?”
“Then I need to go back to sleep and try again. Eventually it’ll be over. It only takes a few hours.”
“You know.” He said, kissing my forehead. “I need to get some bills paid. Why don’t you nap on the couch?”
“Will you wake me in two hours?”
“No.” He said, emphatically. “No way. You’ll wake when your body is good and ready to wake up.”
“Please.” I said, rubbing his beard. “You need to wake me and make me drink a large glass of water and go to the bathroom. It’s important. I can’t get dehydrated during this. It will make it so much worse. And I might not wake up without help.”
Two hours later he woke me with a gentle kiss to my forehead and handed me a cup of tea. “Better?”
I wanted to cry. I wanted it to be better. This wasn’t worth it. I shouldn’t be dating him. I would only hurt him by making him suffer through it. I should be alone. Stay alone. I didn’t deserve to be around anyone. “No.” I sighed. “I’m still wallowing in the pities. That’s how I know it’s not over.”
“Get to the bathroom, then back to sleep.” He said gently.
Two hours later he woke me with a gentle kiss on my cheek and a questioning look in his eye.
This is ridiculous. Why am I here? I should be home. In my bed. In my apartment. I shouldn’t be here with him. I should be alone. Alone is best for me. What does he know about what I need? What does he know about epilepsy? I’m the only one who knows.
I reached up and kissed him gently on the lips. “Not yet.”
“Good.” He smiled. “It’s bedtime. Be a shame for you to be all awake now, right?”
Neither of us mentioned the promised morning muffins.
I heard him in the bathroom the next morning. I opened my eyes and noticed the sun made the trees outside glow a brilliant gold. A bird landed on a golden limb and started singing to me. I smiled and nodded to him. Two more birds landed on branches next to him and joined the chorus. What a ridiculously corny way to start my morning.
Cool-guy came back to bed.
“Look at that. The birds are singing our song.” I laughed.
“I know.” He shrugged. “Who’d you think hired them?”
I laughed as the absence of self-pities crashed in on me. Yes. The uglies were gone. I turned to Cool-guy. “The shutdown has left the building.” I smiled with glowing eyes.
“I’m so glad, honey.” He kissed me softly.
“Ok.” I said, sitting up in bed. “But. We have to talk. Because if we’re ever at a party or something, and I have a shutdown, I might start feeling kind of awkward. You’ll have to cover for me.”
“No problem.” He said. “I’d just tell everyone that you’ve had too much to drink. They’d understand.”
I laughed. “Being a drunk would be way easier to take than dealing with the uglies.”
“Holly. I’m not worried about it. So what if once every five months you have to sleep away the afternoon? Maybe you’ll never have another shutdown for the rest of your life. Let’s take things as they come.”
I laid down next to him. My man. My wonderful man. “You’re right.” I smiled. “Thanks, baby. You always put things into perspective for me.” Maybe he was right. Maybe I would never have another shutdown. You know. That possibility was something worth looking forward to.
“Speaking of perspectives.” He said. “Did you notice that those birds were singing the muffin song?”