The house to the west of mine wears a crown of cafe lights which gleam in the dark of night. The rays cut through the clean Delta air. Wind has cleared the lingering smoke from the fires to the north and west of us.
The neighbor’s lights brighten my house. They don’t seem to be on a timer. With the peculiarity of my pain, I sometimes fall into an exhausted sleep before nine and snap awake several hours later. Those lights might have dimmed by then; or they could still glisten against the midnight gloom. I close my eyes and burrow under the quilt, wishing for something, not pills but something, to make the long hours more bearable. Tea, maybe; or a distracting novel.
The pain comes and goes in ripples and waves. Occasionally my legs snap taught. Then I must struggle to sit and steady my feet on the floor so I can strain against the cramping. At such times I study the outlines of the park. Is that a willow, to the east? Do I see a critter scampering through the narrow piece of ground between our tiny houses? My head falls to my knees. I desperately need rest but I’m afraid. This weird condition which I have battled for sixty years does not lend itself to comfort.
The curtains ripple as breezes dance through the open window. A constant howl tells me that the morning air will be sweet and the meadow strewn with fallen branches. I close my eyes. Darkness swells through the open space between my small bedchamber and the rest of the house. A crow calls. I watch the flickering shadows on the transom. My eyes grow heavy. Sleep claims me as plaintive chirping sounds from the graceful crown of leaves high overhead in the towering old oak.
It’s the first day of the ninety-first month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.