I turn off the alarm and nestle back under the covers. Morning can wait. Isn’t there something I was going to do before I got out of bed? What was it? Something important, right? My eyes open. It had to be done first thing. Um… after the alarm but before I got up. Yes. That’s right. I wanted to remember my boyfriend’s face.
I close my eyes and try to envision him: close shaven beard. Blue eyes. Brown hair. Yes. Dark brown hair. My imagination paints a scruffy beard floating in a sea of black. I can’t do it.
I open my eyes and clench my fists. Come on. I’ve dated him for over a year. I must try harder. I close my eyes. What does he look like? Blackness. My boyfriend is a black cloud in my eyes.
I must see him. Right now. No more waiting. He is laying right behind me in bed, but since I can’t hold any image of him in my mind I feel strangely alone. Though he’s completely comfortable with my visual memory loss and knowing that I must see him to remember what he looks like, this morning I feel that I have something to prove. Maybe if I can summons his image from the nothingness in my head, then I can prove his importance in my life. Shouldn’t I remember the one I love?
I open my eyes and quietly roll over to my right side. If he wakes now, he’ll cuddle closer and I’ll miss this early morning chance to study his face. These stolen moments are important to me. This is the time when I work on what years of Epileptic seizures have stripped away from me: my visual memory.
His face is mashed into his pillow but I can see. Oh. I can see. My heart quickens as Cool-guy’s image fills the void in my head. I use my eyes to touch his lips. His beard. His nose. I trace the lines around his eyes as I drink him in. Yes. Dark brown hair. Ok. That’s what he looks like with his new haircut. Like he’s ten year’s younger.
His mouth is slightly open and as he breathes little, shallow breaths and I want to laugh out loud. Isn’t he cute? Look at him laying there with his little boy haircut! Yes. It’s him. My boyfriend with the short hair.
I want to tell someone. Who could I tell? Nobody at this hour. He really is gorgeous. I relax. Every morning I wonder about seeing him again, for the first time. What if I don’t like what I see one day? I want to laugh at the absurdity of this fear since it’s been a year and it hasn’t happened yet. But I don’t laugh. I need more time alone with the sleeping him.
I reach out my hand and gently rub the side of his face. Though this might wake most people up, it relaxes him into a deeper sleep. He moans slightly and sighs deeply. I smile and continue caressing his face and beard. His beautiful face. Maybe if I touch his face enough my hands will remember it.
I pull my hand back and spend some time memorizing him. When I’m sure I’ve committed every detail to memory, I close my eyes, willing myself to hold those details in my mind. One. Two. Three. Four. Gone. Four counts. I can hold his image for four counts before it dissolves completely and I’m back to black. Not bad. I’ll try again.
I open my eyes to find his blue eyes staring into mine.
“What’d you doing?” He asks in his early morning groggy voice. He searches my face, worried I’ve had a seizure.
I wait a minute, unsure how to express that I’m loving him with eyes that can’t remember. “You’re so cute.” I whisper, cuddling closer. “Do you have any idea how cute you are?”
He laughs. This is the millionth time he’s heard this. He closes his eyes. “Thanks, honey.”
I reach my hand up and stroke his beard. He sighs as he falls back into sleep.
I slip out of bed and step into the shower, ever reluctant to start my day while a cuddle opportunity lays in the next room. I dress and eat breakfast before I make my way back to the bedroom.
I hold my breath and silently creep up to the bed to study him for a moment. Yes. That’s right. Close shaven beard. Short hair. Cute. Very cute.
I kiss his cheek and arrange the covers around his shoulders. “Bye honey.”
“Bye.” He says, opening his eyes. “You’re ready for work, already?”
He thinks I need him to wake up and discuss our day and arrange our evening.
I kiss his cheek and whisper. “I’ll call you later.” My hand automatically rubs his face and he is back to relaxation. My eyes gather their last look.
As I walk away I count. One. Two. Three. Darn. Only three. He’s gone. I’ve just walked a few steps and already his image is gone. I’m tempted to go back. One last look. But I don’t let myself. He needs his sleep.
Besides. My eyes may have forgotten what he looks like, but I have nothing to prove to myself. Because my hands will remember all day.