I’m in the living room of my former in-laws’ house. My ex-husband walks down the hall toward me, smiling.
That’s good, I think. At least he’s smiling. He stops in front of me where I stand beside the TV.
Funny, I muse, nothing about this place has changed in eight years.
I look at my ex and try to figure out what to say.
Why did he move back home? I wonder. He got to keep the house after the separation.
This reunion is as awkward as I expected. Where’s his wife? I ask myself. The last time he appeared on Facebook under “People You May Know,” his profile picture was that of a baby boy. That confirmed he married the co-worker to whom he had confessed to me that he was attracted.
Why did I come here? I ask myself. Something’s not right, I think as alarm bells sound in my head.
BAHNK BAHNK BAHNK BAHNK BAHNK
Awaking to discover the alarm wasn’t in my head, I stumbled out of bed and to the dresser. I fumbled in the dark with the clock radio. Since I hadn’t set the alarm, I had no idea how to turn it off. Once I finally silenced the squawking, I looked at the red digital display: 12:02 AM.
Peter was still snoring, so I tiptoed around the corner to peek into Philip’s room. His pillow was on the floor and the blanket was half-way off, but the culprit was still sprawled sound asleep on his bed.
This was the second night in a row that the alarm went off. The previous night it woke me at 3:36 AM. Thinking that a car alarm was sounding on the street, I got up to look out the window. It wasn’t until I was standing that I discovered the beeping was coming from Peter’s dresser. The volume on the clock radio was turned so low that it sounded as if it were coming from outside. I pushed buttons and moved switches until the one on the left side turned it off. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember this technique the following night when the alarm was no longer muffled.
When Philip needs down time in the afternoon, we send him up to our bedroom where we have a second TV and DVD player hooked up. He is less likely to take a nap nowadays, but he does like to crawl into Daddy’s side of the bed, cover himself with the heavy red blanket and watch Curious George. Of course, our little monkey doesn’t just stay under the covers. Like his curious friend, he explores our room, jumps on the bed, and otherwise keeps himself entertained while George provides background noise. Apparently, the clock not only tells time, it passes the time, too.
On the third night that the alarm sounded, the volume was turned down again. Once more, I was the only one awakened, the only one not stubbing my toe in the dark, and the only one using process of elimination to find the off switch. Hopefully, the third time will be the charm. From now on, I’m either going to remember how to turn the alarm off quickly or else I’ll remember to check the damn thing before going to bed.
Don’t be alarmed if I forget.