As Jenny lay in bed that Sunday morning in the twilight state between being asleep and being awake she felt the old familiar joy of starting a new day with the man she loved. What would today bring? As the foggy waking up dissipated she slowly remembered that what the day would bring was not what she had dreamed of.

Keith lay in the bed next to her. She could hear his heavy breathing. His wavy blonde hair tussled over the pillow like a little boy. Though his face and body were at rest now, those beautiful blue eyes that sparkled when he laughed and the way his mouth was always turned up as though he would burst out in laughter at any moment brought a smile to Jenny’s face even as she thought about the labors of the day ahead. With love in her heart she got up. It was 5:00 a.m. The acid smell of urine on the sheets permeated the air.

Jenny took a hot shower to ease her aching, overworked muscles. She was only 5’4” tall and weighed just 100 pounds. Yet she shouldered her responsibility with a glad heart knowing Keith would do the same for her if the circumstances were reversed. After the shower the ritual called for daily hygiene and cosmetics then dressing comfortably and layered so the temperature could be right for Keith.

Jenny went into the kitchen and decided to give herself a little treat today. She turned on the oven for a little extra heat in the room, put a teapot on to heat the water and got out her favorite hot chocolate mix with hazelnuts, the one she had been saving for a time like this. Today was Jenny and Keith’s fifth wedding anniversary.

As she sat sipping her hot chocolate she wondered if Keith was even aware of what day this was. It didn’t matter, she would celebrate just the same and then give her gift of love to him for the rest of his life and receive his gift of gratitude in return for the rest of hers. Ten minutes she gave herself, just ten minutes and then it was 6:00 a.m. and time to start Keith’s day.

“Good morning merry sunshine, what makes you shine so bright?” Jenny sang her usual wake up call.

“Gmmmmg” Keith always tried to respond.

Jenny rolled Keith over on his side and got ready to hoist him into the wheelchair. The chair was anchored and, with the pulley system Keith’s brother had set up for them, she lifted Keith into the wheel chair and headed for the bathroom.

“Keith, what soap scent do you want today, apple, peach, or pear? “

“Puhhhh.”

“Pear?” Jenny stopped pushing and came around in front of Keith for a response.

His blue eyes sparkled and she knew she had guessed right.

To be continued...

Sandi Grandberry (c) copyright 2010