My double vision persists, creating visual confusion and tricking me into looking at the image that isn’t real. Then it mocks my mistake.
Meanwhile, awaiting medical resolution, I suffer it like a plague, seeing two of everything. I see twice as many cats on my front porch. I see twice as many weeds in my front yard. My house looks twice as messy. I perceive twice the number of teenagers holding open the refrigerator door for twice as much food to spoil. I roll over in bed at night to find myself face-to-face with twin images of my spouse. No woman should have to tolerate two husbands.
I lie awake thinking about it with my eyes closed to block out the horror, while my beloved sleeps. Try as I do, I can’t figure out why my double vision makes his inhalations and exhalations twice as loud. Why does the noise irritate me twice as much in the middle of the night? From 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. I listen to him breathe in and out, in and out, in and out. I flip and flop, searching for a posture that will dull the dreadful sleep disturbance. At least he’s breathing, I tell myself. It’s no comfort. The racket rattling in through his nose and out through his mouth drives me to distraction.
Alone with my thoughts, I decide to pray, starting with asking God to heal my patience and thanking Him that I have a husband on whom to blame my sleeplessness. I question if my petitions and thanksgiving are heard. The body next to me forcefully gulps in and expels air at uneven intervals. It drowns out my contemplations.
By 4 a.m., I know I’m either going to have to suffocate my husband with a pillow or nudge him hard with my elbow. The choice is difficult. Neither approach to snuffing his snores promises a positive outcome. Both will cause him to wake up angry. I pray even more fervently, asking Jesus what he thinks I should do, but He responds, “What? Speak up.”
I answer, “What?” A South Augusta woman shot her husband in the leg. I heard the story on the local news one morning. She’s 70 years old. Her husband is 75. They’ve been married 50 years. She says she did it because of his affairs with other women. By my calculations, though, those numbers don’t add up to adultery. I’m certain the man snores and that she couldn’t decide whether to nudge him or smother him. Desperate for relief, she got a gun. I read a report that quoted her as stating to the police, “I wasn’t trying to kill him. I was just going to remind him that I’m still here.” Sometimes, I guess, a man needs a shot in the leg to inspire him to keep his mouth closed in the middle of the night unless he has something nice to say.
Bon Jovi singing, Shot through the heart and you’re to blame/You give love a bad name, cycles through my head. I can’t remember any other words. The repetition joins my husband’s breathing. Insomnia is winning.
Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! I raise my head to see two alarm clocks, each reading 6:00. “Turn it off,” groans my husband, unaware of how close he came to forcing me to choose between nudging him with my elbow or putting a pillow over his head. Tonight I’m going to tell him about the 70-year-old woman who got the gun. That’ll be the shot in the leg he needs.