Now I understand the fear of that poor nurse trying to wake me when I had concussion as a kid.
I failed last night. Fell asleep in the armchair next to Landlord’s bed. Woke to the sound of my alarm. Suspected it had been going for a while.
Looked over to Landlord — had kept the lamp on hoping it would keep me awake — he was sleeping. Peacefully. A little too peacefully.
Shook his shoulders. This had worked the previous hour. But not this one. I shook, and shook, and he would not wake. A petrifying fear filled me. What if he didn’t wake? What if he died? Would it be my fault? Should I have forced him to go to the hospital?
Realised there were tears coming down my cheeks as I shook Landlord again and again, violently. I didn’t want him to die.
Finally, as a last resort, properly crying, I called out his name. My voice croaked, sounding foreign. Wrong. I tried again, louder, more forceful, trying desperately to find the voice I haven’t used for so very long.
His eyes opened in confusion, and then surprise. He frowned at me. Realised we were very close — I was leaning over him, hands on his shoulders, looking down into his face.
‘You spoke,’ he said simply.
Stayed leaning over him, making sure he was actually awake, not dreaming; having some out-of-body experience.
Nodded, and sat back down. Landlord turned in bed to face me.
‘Have you spoken to him?’ He asked.
Didn’t know who he was talking about. Him, as in the ex? No.
He said the policeman’s name. Shook my head, but was confused. How did Landlord know about me and the policeman?
‘I went to visit you. But he was there.’
He was terribly sad about this. But sad in a resigned way. As if he expected it.
I shook head, but didn’t know what was shaking head at.
Landlord leaned over. Took hand. A very intimate gesture. Said to me — ‘I have a history with ______. I don’t think we would ever be able to erase it. But he is not a bad person. However much I despise him, he is not a bad person.’
I did not know what to say to Landlord. Wasn’t sure I was ready to say anything at all. Talking? I still don’t want to. But the words have escaped — there’s no way of taking them back.
So I said — ‘I don’t want to talk to anyone else yet.’
Landlord nodded. Smiled a little.
We got through to this morning. Landlord’s head is still aching, but he was able to shower, change, and settle in front of the TV by the fire, which I successfully restarted.
I went home, showered, changed, and took a few moments to myself. But I have come back to the house. Not ready to leave Landlord alone just yet.
I haven’t spoken again since last night but am open to speaking again. If is important enough. Am still quite wary of using my words.