By Jackie Leavitt
Vaguely, I feel Jackie pull me across the bed, turn my still-sleeping face to her. She pokes me – just once – and I feel myself slowly come to life. My brain starts whirling, and I groggily mumble at her, not making any sense but letting her know I’m waking up.
As I open my eyes, I see the glow from my own face illuminating hers in the morning shadows of her room. Her eyelids are tired and soft around the edges, slightly smudged from leftover makeup, and her face is relaxed, without that intensity that sometimes takes over when she is excited, motivated or passionate. She’s still waking up herself, making subconscious small body-isolation movements: shifting her upper body to stretch her shoulders, twisting her lower body to rotate her hips, breathing in deeply to expand her ribs. She lies on her stomach, facing me.
Lately, there’s been something a little different in the way that Jackie interacts with me in the morning. For the past few months, she would let me sleep in very late, like a dog that slumbers all day just waiting for its owner to come back and play with it. She would come home from work around 7 p.m. – sometimes later if she was hanging out with her friends – nudge me awake, and then maybe surf Facebook or read emails for a bit. Or she would ask me directions for her run, or sometimes I would play music for her as she cooked dinner, drank wine and dance-walked around the kitchen.
Before this time of relative separation, I would accompany her to work. We would bike down through San Francisco’s Page Street to Market Street, peddling past cars, bikers and pedestrians. And then we’d brainstorm in her office for hours and hours, solving problems, organizing information and crafting messages to people all around the world. But it changed once she got a new aid at work that was newer, sleeker and faster. I know she loves and accepts me for what I am, missing keys and dented corners and cracked mouse pad and all. But her job looked at me as something that should be replaced. So she started leaving me at home to do my own thing during the day.
But now, every single morning, she pulls me closer when she hears her alarm, brings me to life in the dark of the room, and then tells me stories. It’s wonderfully intimate and personal. For at least 10 minutes, her fingers play along my surfaces, bringing to life narrations she usually keeps inside her head.
I wish it would go on forever: her, lightly massaging all the right buttons. But before I know it, she has to stop, roll back the covers and take a shower. Sometimes I still play music or read the news to her as she gets ready. But then she’s dressed and out the door with her bike, heading to work. And I’m left alone again. So I go back to sleep, waiting for her to come back.