I’m laying in the bed with a beacon of light shining down causing my morning vision to squint.  My body feels broken as if I've fallen from a three story building.  My eyes scan my surroundings and I’m seeing a beautiful painting I've done four years ago hanging across my bed, and a dozen of plush roses sitting on the dresser.  My heart begins to smile.          
I moved my eyes over some more, and notices a young lady feeling my wrist.  Her cold fingers are feeling through my bulgy veins.  “How are we doing” She says as looks to her watch.  I’m replying with the usual pleasantries, but I guess she can’t hear me.  It’s been that way for months.  She speaks and I answer, and yet she never responds.  Then she asks if I’m ready to start our routine?  I haven’t had the slightest clue as to what she means. But again, I politely answer and still no response.
While the woman goes to a nearby bathroom, a man walks into the room carrying a tray of food.  I think it’s my breakfast.  With skin of light onyx and small patches of graying hair, he sits the tray on a table and approaches my bedside.  He gently grabs my hand and lifts it to his mouth.  He kisses it ever so softly, almost as though as he’s afraid to hurt me.  As my hand remain nestle to his chin, I’m beginning to remember who this man is—my husband of sixteen years.
“Are we ready, Mrs. Davis” the woman suddenly asks.  Unfortunately, I can’t turn to see the woman’s face, just only her flora-scented perfume commands her presence. 
My husband looks to the woman, and then looks to me and gives me one of the serene most smiles. He carefully places my hand back on the bed.  “Is there any way you could continue her physical therapy on Thursday” He questions her, “I don’t think she’s up to it”.
The woman finally comes closer to my sight and stands on the side of the bed. She looks down to me with a nod.  “Of course, Mr. Davis” She smiles and continue, “Mrs. Davis, I’ll see you next time, okay?”
This time I didn't bother to answer since she never responds.  Instead, I blink my eye, and what do you know?  She answers.  “Good job! You remember our exercise” she cheerfully answers as if I’m a five year old reciting my ABC’s.
The woman finally ends her session and leaves.  Now it's just me and my husband alone.  “Baby, are ready to eat” He asks.  To make sure he answers, I blink again. “Good. I cooked your favorite: veggie omelet with veggie sausage, wheat toast, kiwis, and green tea". 
I’m happily wondering to myself, this is definitely my husband.  This man knows me inside and out. Despite everything that has happened in the last eight months, he’s been there through the thickest of the thick of it. 
Now, I remember why I wake helpless within the morning beacon, or why when I speak no one answers, or why that woman comes every Tuesdays and Thursdays, or why I feel I’m detach from my body, it’s because I nearly died from a massive stroke at thirty-eight years old.
And for the months I spent in the hospital, I saw my husband day in and day out.  He never left my side.  I guess owning a major record label, he could do that. 
Though at that time, I wanted to hate every living soul for being able to use their limbs, to eat without assistance, and to do simple tasks like freely go to the bathroom without reverting to infant stages of wearing adult diapers.  Yet my husband, knowing I couldn't express myself, saw into my quiet anger.  I vividly recalled how he caressed the top of my forehead, following by his endearing kiss.  “You can fight it” He said, “But I won’t go anywhere. We’re one.”  Then as he leaned over me, his tear fell from the crescent of his eye onto my cheek.  The warmness of it made my anger melted to an ocean of serenity.
This man has a heart like gold.  Just to think before my stroke, I wanted to divorce him.  The night when my life changed forever, I was in his den. We argued, but he pleaded for me not to leave.  Then I had said something that left a lasting memory before everything turned black.  I told him I didn't love him anymore.  The pain he conveyed glazed into tears, leaving a lasting image in my mind.  Then my light suddenly had turned into darkness. The next thing I knew he was standing over my bed in the Intensive Care Unit.   
I woke to his smile and he whispered close my ear, “I’m sorry baby, I was wrong. But please fight this”.
As my husband sits at my bedside at this moment, continuing to feed me, I realize if anyone whose wrong is me.  I went into our marriage for the intention of furthering my career as this famous singer. It’s not that I didn’t love him; I just didn’t love him the way he deserves. 
What he does for me now, it’s abundantly clear how much he loves me.  He combs my long and curly hair with gentlest of touch, carries me to my wheelchair to take me outside to my favorite place—my garden, and gives me a bath with my favorite scented oils.  Most of all, he does something most men wouldn’t do, he changes my adult diapers.  Even though it’s embarrassing each time he does it, my husband always repeats our marriage vows as a tear streams my face—for better for worse, for sickness and health.
While I’m looking into this man’s deep dark eyes, I understand what unconditional love really means.  He looks beyond the tawdriness of appearance. I haven’t had a manicure in eight months, weaveless, and I know I have a straggly hair or two on my chin.  I’m a hot mess.  Yet still, every morning he tells me how beautiful I am. 
“Okay baby, last bite. You've been eating pretty well this morning” he says. 
He catches my eye gazing to him and he stops.  I’m not feeling ill or anything; I just want to admire how the morning sun dances against his dark skin.  Standing within the light, he looks as if he’s my angel that's given me new life.  My erroneous acts of selfishness and greed may have led me into the confines of indefinite paralysis, but it has wakened me to reality.  I don’t need success to make me happy; it was there all of this time.
“Baby, are you alright” he asks with a concern in his voice.
My mouth opens as I’m forcing my face muscles to go along me.  The words from my heart have begun to flow to the tip of my tongue.  I’m forcing the word, I, and then next the word, love.  I can see the growing astonishment on my husband’s face.  I’m not sure if he understands me, so I’m taken another deep breath, and it pour from my lips—I love you.
I think he understands me because he nearly drops the tray of food, and then quickly puts it down. His average-sized frame climbs next to me in the bed and weeps. Feeling a loving reassurance inside of his arms, my tear joins his.  I’m repeating it over again, “I love you”.
It’s amazing at times how you can quickly get put into your place from unexpected circumstances. My body literally has to stand still to see what’s in front of me all of this time.  Money and power may be significant to some, but it's mundane when your world stops turning.  It’s meaningless. 
No one can explain why the worse of worse people gets brakes.  I consider myself in that category.  Now I have this opportunity to be a better woman.  Second chances don’t come often, and I have mine.   So I better not mess up this one up. 

© Imani Wisdom, 2011

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