My daughter and I have moved into my father’s house, or rather, the very petite guest room of my father’s house. Four months prior to the move, I had made the firm decision that I would not be signing another lease with my apartment complex. I had decided I was going to downsize to pay off bills, clear up my credit and qualify for a house. I planned on six months until I was in my own place. As September neared, and the impending move loomed near without having anywhere to go, my anxiety level rose exponentially. Then I got sick.

My illness made it impossible to look for a new residence. Eventually, as I succumbed to the Nile, I realized that I had to resort to my last resort, plan X, or we were going to end up on the streets. That was when I called my father and his wife. It was a move of desperation while I wallowed through West Nile.

I am grateful they had space and were willing to take us in. Having been married for almost eighteen years without any kids from that marriage, they have spent the bulk of their marriage together alone. When we lived with them in Idaho Falls for a couple years, after I went into hiding from my former husband, we were all so much younger and they lived in a place with three separate floors so we were able to find space alone. Here, in their much smaller, one-floor house – which is more practical for them as they age – we are walking on top of one another. I imagine it is a huge stretch for them.

I know it is for me.

It wasn’t until this morning at 4:00 am – normal waking time around here, God knows why – as I lay in this bed listening to them bumble around their room and my father’s deep voice resonating with muffled, insensible timbre, that I realized how big of a stretch it is for me. I had no idea how much of a homebody I had become and how much I cherish my alone time, my quiet time, my space, until I moved here. There is nowhere for me to go here for peace. In a two bedroom house where the television blasts at 800,000 decibels for most of the evening, there is no respite.

I am spending a lot of time holed away here in the guest room – in the mornings with my head buried under a pile of pillows praying for silence and stillness. I feel like a hermit. I am imagining that my father and his wife wonder if I don’t like them. And, bless their hearts, they are doing everything in their power to make it comfortable here for us and to accomodate us. I just had no idea what moving here would mean for me.

Nor did I know what 4:00 in the morning looks like. I have never been a morning person and I am really not a morning person when I don’t get a good, healthy chunk of uninterrupted, deep sleep. One of the lingering effects of West Nile is that I am still not sleeping as soundly as I did prior to getting sick. So I awake – at 4:00 am every single damn morning – feeling grumpy and tight and pissy because I am awake two hours prior to when I need to be.

It’s not that they wake me up purposely. They are just doing their thing, their little routine that they have worked themselves into after eighteen years. Thing is, their little routine happens on just the other side of that four inch, poorly-insulated wall. I can hear it if one of them sighs. God help me if they find their libidos!

One good thing, though, about this ungodly waking hour… I never miss a sunrise now.

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