The coffee grinder is with me behind closed doors of the bathroom at 3am. It whirs in a muffled grind beneath the padding of a thick bath towel. I guess this is what you call considerate insomnia, as my occasional real-early rises occur, now, within the presence of another. On this particular morning, the Bohemian rests soundly and Jeb is crashed out on the couch, nearby.
I should be sleeping and replenishing my reserves. It’s been a week of caring for Jeb in a second wave of sickness – this time the flu, with a full night of off-and-on vomiting. While monitoring his temperature and forcing fluids, I’ve juggled work schedules, washed sheets and made dinner. No, I did not make it to posting to the Archives yesterday. But I did capture a centipede that slithered next to Jeb’s bed, leaving the Bohemian to simply stare, empty dustpan in his hands, as I quickly disposed of it (with blessings). (Centipedes outside, I come in peace. Centipedes inside, by the bed of my sick son, not welcome).
Tiring as this may be, I’m not alone in my labors of love. And this is something new. The Bohemian is a constant, continually keeping the kitchen sink empty. Loads of clean laundry I dump from the basket magically transform to neat piles (my underwear has never been folded so neatly before). When he’s not taking out the compost or sweeping the kitchen floor, the Bohemian’s in our back yard pruning. I look up from my work through the window, to see him staring in at me from the top of the kukui nut tree, wielding a hand saw and fat grin. He’s opening the view.
Yes, I am surrounded by new sights, fresh viewpoints, expanded perspectives.
I’m recalling the day I gifted him a toothbrush to keep at my house. This evolved to the offer of half a drawer for two sarongs and t-shirt. Now, he’s got four drawers and we hang 13 of his shirts in the closet. The sight is surprisingly strange, but I like it – yes, those are men’s clothes hanging next to mine.
After a full and long day, we sigh and find ourselves face to face in the kitchen. He’s been digging holes and making electrical repairs. I’ve been up since 1am with vomit and centipedes. We’re smiling but I’m wondering if this free-spirited soul I met on the beach may be having second thoughts about all this domesticity.
Before I can consider it further, Jeb enters with Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, requesting the Bohemian read aloud. The man is surely tired. One would understand that he may not be in the mood to delve into reading a children’s story right now. Especially, since English is a second language – one that he’s learned completely by sound, not sight. But ever-amazing, he agrees to read the passage Jeb indicates – the one where Greg wants to make a good impression on the girl he likes at the school dance, but his friend intercedes and ruins the moment.
The Bohemian reads each word carefully. He’s patient as he trips through a few phrases. With the tables turned, Jeb can occasionally tell him how to sound it out. He reads not one, but at least ten pages, laughs and says, “This is a good book.”
Dinner is bubbling in the oven. Jeb is on the rug, listening with a smile. The Bohemian is standing in the kitchen slowly reading with sweet intent. Greg’s mom is trying to herd the Heffley family to an Easter Sunday service. I’m finally sitting down for the first time all day.
I don’t’ know where this tale is going (ours, that is, – and, of course, how could I?) Certainly, at times I’m afraid of sudden turns in the plot. But for now, in this simple moment in the kitchen with Jeb, the Bohemian and the voice of Greg Heffley ala a thick Czech accent, I’d say that I’m liking this story.