My husband woke up at 4:15 am this morning, fifteen minutes sooner than on a normal day.
I watched him secretly from beneath a pillow wrapped across my face as he stood at the foot of our futon mattress at the window. I continued breathing as if with a slight snore, not wanting him to know that I was wide awake too. Without turning from his stare of the dark morning, he asked that I make his espresso coffee.
I rushed out of our apartment in order to feed the wild kittens that have made the lot below our love nest their home. I noticed that Juan and Lucy’s apartment door was open. How odd, I thought. Juan and Lucy often leave their apartment door slightly open, but never so early in the morning, and always there is a florescent kitchen light glowing from inside their place. After scattering a handful of dry cat food, I turned toward 23rd Street and noticed that Juan was standing near his car, speaking to a man. I paid the old man no mind, and quickly rushed back upstairs to start a cup of espresso for myself.
My lover departed for work at his normal time—5:30 am. Two minutes after he had left, he returned to our door and shouted, “Charles. Come out here and help Juan.”
“What happened,” I asked, looking at the old Puerto Rican with silver hair as he stood in the hallway glaring at me with dark eyes like those of a demon.
“I don’t know,” my husband said as he turned to run off to work. “He lost his keys and wallet, or something.”
“Did you lose something, Juan?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I thought I did. I woke up in my bed and thought I left my keys in the car. My wallet was gone, or at least I thought it was gone,” he said, holding up his wallet to show me. “My God! I couldn’t think of who I was, but somehow I knew I lived here, and then I turned and saw your friend, and then I remembered everything,” he explained, smiling. I looked down and noticed that Juan did not have any shoes on, just black socks that were pulled up his skinny legs to his knotty knees.
“You had a bad dream. That’s all,” I said to reassure Juan.
“Do you think so?”
“Yes,” I said. “I dreamed I was riding with a fat woman on a motorcycle. We were going to drive all the way across the country. I’m not sure who she was. I think it was my step-sister, although I’m not sure. Yes, last night was a night for weird dreams,” I expressed, wanting somehow to assure him that his Alzheimer’s was not as bad as his wife Lucy had once mentioned
“Oh no! My wife is going to get up now,” he said as he turned and quietly started to re-enter his apartment.
Just then, Lucy appeared, her hair, now bleached a pinkish red, was matted down. She looked like a Spanish Baby Jane Hudson.
“One day you will get us all killed,” Lucy yelled as she pulled down the kitchen window in their apartment.
“We found him outside,” I explained. Lucy pretended not to hear. Juan pretended not to be listening. He quickly undressed down to his underwear and seemed happy again as he made his way across the kitchen toward the end of the apartment where the bedrooms are. He told me he was going back to bed know that he knew for sure where his keys and wallet were.
“Do you want some coffee, baby?” Lucy asked me.
“No thanks,” I replied, turning toward my own door. For one moment, I forgot how sad I was today when I first woke up, not wanting my lover to worry so much about me not working. I was happy to be here in this sad state of major depression. There are some who have it so much harder.
More writings on don Juan are here: