23 Hours

by dpreyde

The world is quiet here. My life since the beginning of September has become soft and even. At the end of August, Hannah’s internship ended. At the beginning of September, she was left with nothing to do but finish her dissertation. Every day she writes a little more, and every day she gets a little closer to the end. She has a month left to go.

My job is writing, but writing requires grit, friction, and some small amount of pain to make it work. That’s why I haven’t been updating the blog since the end of September; I’ve been sidelined by contentment. I focus mostly on fiction these days; manufactured scenarios in which I can create conflict.

I work at the dining room table. Hannah works at her desk. The apartment is small, consisting of one room. We spend about twenty-three hours a day together. But this situation works, and never feels uncomfortable or claustrophobic. I anticipated that there would be tension and growing pains when we moved in together, but this has not transpired.

We have established a comfortable groove.

Usually we sleep in late. I wake up at 10 or 11, and Hannah sleeps an hour or two later. I’ve taken to doing most of her attendant work. Almost every morning I help her out of bed, get her socks on, and help her to the bathroom.

She belongs to a program which provides attendants for her, but my schedule allows me to do a lot of their work myself. The only things I can’t do are housekeeping (but the hired housekeeper is very good) and hair (I found a tutorial on YouTube about how to do a ponytail, but couldn’t get the hang of it).

I like the work. It adds structure to my days. There’s a comforting, meditative quality about helping Hannah. Everything I do for her involves a routine, a certain number of steps, and a certain technique, all of which are always the same.

After we get her shit together in the morning, she makes us a breakfast smoothie. Then we work, her at her desk, me at the table.

Sometimes we go out to write, and when we do we go to different places. Her writing spot is a local library which is inaccessible for me (too crowded, too noisy). My writing spot is an alcove I found in a university building, and it’s inaccessible for her (too narrow, and up a set of stairs).

Hannah doesn’t like going outside. I start to go stir crazy if I’m inside for too long. So I find excuses to get out. I like running errands, like fetching lunch for us. I’ll go on walks, to libraries or bookstores or just around the block.

Some time late in the afternoon or early evening we’ll talk about dinner. Either Hannah cooks for us or I’ll go out and pick something up.

The attendants are supposed to do the dishes, but we’ve increasingly come to depend solely on each other. Hannah washes, I dry.

In the evening we’ll often watch an episode of something on T.V. Right now we’re in the middle of Doctor Who. I’d been trying to get Hannah into that for ages, and it finally clicked. I think both of us identify with both the Doctor and the companion.

Throughout the day we’ll exchange banter, ideas, questions, or nonsensical tidbits. Especially when one of us needs a break, or when I’m helping Hannah out with something.

We go to bed late; after midnight, usually.

A day blends into days blends into a week blends into weeks and one month turns into another. I saw summer fade into autumn, and the first snow of the season is due soon. I’m going to go out soon to pick up lunch and enjoy the last of the good weather.

Then today will become tomorrow, and tomorrow will become the day after that. Pretty soon this year will close down, and a new one will start.

And I’ll be right here.