In the dark of morning everything looks the same. The flat surfaces of the world give no warnings. I inch across the room thinking Didn’t I drop a book last night? My toe touches a hard, flat edge and I smile into the gloom.
No one understands how a crippled person can continue to have her bedroom upstairs. But for some reason, the slope of these old pine stairs gives me no trouble. I snap the light switch. The flood from the new fixtures warms the air. The trip down has become a morning ritual over the seven years that this has been my sanctuary, since my son went away to college and I claimed the upstairs for myself at long last.
The room sold this house. Its cathedral ceiling, clad in the same knotty pine from which the stairs must have been hewn, rises above me. The six windows let air flow into the room on cool fall nights and soft spring days. I would not rest as well anywhere else, I’m sure; and that’s saying a lot for a woman with a sleeping disorder.
The alarm on my phone keeps bleating to remind me that I’ve places to appear and judges to appease. I pay it no heed. The kettle boils while I press the switch on the grinder. Its cheery buzzing beneath my hand signals the true start of the morning. Dark grinds fall into the cone on my Bodum; boiling water over the Peet’s French Roast brings a heady aroma rising around me. I close my eyes and breath deeply, enjoying the fragrance of my benign addiction.
It’s morning on the eighth day of the thirty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. I’m mostly fine. A few parts of me twinge now and then; and the cardiac monitor weighs heavily around my neck. But you’ll hear no belly-aching from these quarters. Life continues.