Night Shift

23-j-hardy-carroll-11-february-2018

Night Shift (188 Words)

Usually at seven I’m just coming home. It took me years to get used to the night shift. Sometimes I think I’m still not used to it.

Through that door to your left is all that makes it worthwhile. Tom will be sleeping now, breathing softly. I don’t like to wake him. Sleeping, Tom looks whole—he doesn’t look like a cripple.

At nine he’ll need breakfast. He can make it into his wheelchair himself with a little maneuvering, but I like to make sure. I help him dress. Sometimes he says things that hurt me—that he’s useless, a burden. But those times are rare, when it’s been a long night for me or when he is in pain. The light in his eyes, no matter what’s behind it, warms me.

This morning he wakes when I come in.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

He leans on his arm and kisses me.

“I missed you.”

“I missed you, too.” It seems strange to miss someone who’s only five miles away. But he knows it’s the truth.

He settles and I keep close.

***

Written in response to Sunday Photo FictionPhoto (c) J. Hardy Carroll.

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