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Many years ago in a galaxy far away, I was married. There were liars, flat tires, and bores, oh my. If I built it, he would never come help. We were never in Kansas because we couldn’t afford to go there, and I was saying “sorry” all the time, even though I did love my new husband and meant it.
I was not wise to the fancy world of living in a new house in a new development in a rich section of Scottsdale, Arizona. I had lived the previous 15 years in my own rented apartments, or—most recently—my own simple condo.
Because I sleep best when it’s pitch dark, I had lined the sliding glass doors in my bedroom in that condo with metal insulation and duct-taped the edges, preventing any light from entering my bedroom.
I can’t emphasize enough the fact that I like to sleep in the dark.
This only comes to mind because I have a habit, as many of us do—one or two, here and there. One of my habits is sleeping with a folded t-shirt under my pillow, and that falls from the one man who did not take care of me the way he should have.
I remember sleeping in his big new fantabulous mini-mansion of a house and at first thinking, This is so great! Everything is so clean and new! And what a view!
But after many mornings of being woken up by the sun because there were no shades or blinds on the windows, I suggested to my rich and fabulous husband that perhaps it was time to buy some window dressings. “I can’t keep wakin’ up at five frickin’ a.m., you know what I’m sayin’?” I think is what I said.
My husband, always eager to please without opening his wallet, immediately began constructing three very large sun-blocking devices for the windows in our bedroom. As I recall, they were made of six foot long two by two scrap wood poles with black tarp stapled between them: the dead marriage scrolls.
Every night before bed, we would stuff these drug-dealing, third-word-country window dressings into the three tall and wide windows of our bedroom, and every night I would say, “When can we get real blinds? Or drapes or something? I can’t sleep when it’s light outside.”
Click here; this is long.
Soon we began receiving complaints from the neighborhood association about the ugly black tarp “things” in our windows. I encouraged my husband to recognize the importance of rules:
“We should not be living here if we can’t afford proper window dressings!”
And then, more calmly,
“We need to stop stuffing the windows with black tarp and actually get some drapes or something.”
And then, matter-of-factly:
“My friend showed me how to install a rod and drapes, so that’s what we have now. Enjoy.”
People talk about red flags, but when those flags are waving around you, dang…sometimes you can’t see them. Sometimes you’re in so deep, those red flags seem to indicate a kindly parade passing through.
I’m divorced now, as all of us know, and don’t we expect a good joke coming? Take my wife, please.
There are really no good jokes about getting rid of a husband like that.
In the time it took for my so-called husband to finally admit that our bedroom windows needed proper blinds and shades…in that time, I fell out of love. I would have been happy pinning up blankets over the windows, but he would never allow that: Don’t make a mark in the wall, be patient, wait for the best.
The best arrived in that situation, but it had nothing to do with my husband at the time. It had to do with my own problem-solving skills.
I didn’t go to college for nothing.
I started using t-shirts to cover my face in the morning, to block the morning light pouring in from the window. If I had been my age now or an older age, I might have embraced the natural morning or gotten divorced much more quickly. You don't know.
But I was 32. I liked to sleep in once in awhile, ignoring the world.
And that is why, still to this day, I keep a t-shirt folded under my pillow at night. It’s usually the t-shirt I go to bed in: convenient to slip into in the morning, right there under my pillow to grab and throw over my face if the sun rises too soon, if I have forgotten to close my bedroom blinds, or I need the comfort of darkness.
Sometimes I’m jealous of horses when they get to wear their blinders and hoods. How lucky are they to be protected from flies, to never be headed in the wrong direction.
Once in awhile, when the sun rises too quickly, or I have forgotten to close the blinds in my own personal bedroom, or—for heaven’s sake—I am distracted by a new man touching me in the morning, I don’t throw my t-shirt over my face. But I know it’s there if I want it.
My t-shirts are always cool, either from a concert or my college or an old boyfriend’s motorcycle ride. They are always mine at night, no matter where they came from. When I pull off whatever one is on my body and tuck it under my pillow every night, I fold it.
Some people do this in case of fires.
I do it to keep out the light.