Saturday morning came and there was something different about it, something I hadn’t felt in a few weeks. After eating a breakfast of eggs, biscuits and gravy, and burning my left hand in the cooking effort, Alan and I had a kind of conversation we hadn’t had in a long time.
“What do you want to do today?” he asked.
“I dunno. What do you want to do today?” I asked.
This went on for an animated half hour or so (well, as animated as a conversation consisting of 2 lines could be). I was just about to ask him what he wanted to do again, when he cut in to suggest, “What about hiking?”
And that was what was different. Alan had suggested something he wanted to do, but more importantly, he wanted to do something. For a couple of weeks at least, he had been an eggshell. It had been hard to explain this to people, hard to put it into words the crippling kind of anxiety he had been feeling, the dark hole he had fallen into, the disinterest in everything. For a while, a trip to the grocery store, a night out at the movies, even the idea of doing any of these things overwhelmed him. So together we would sit in our small duplex, watching TV. After going more than a year without any TV at all, we had buckled, had decided the TV’s illuminating, noise-making glow offered a special sort of protective magic. When there was nothing left to say, nothing else I could offer to help, we would watch sports, the Food Network, movies.
But on Saturday, he had wanted to go hiking. So hiking we did. And then we made mac and cheese to reward ourselves. And then we watched a terrible movie with Mark Ruffalo. And then today, I was half afraid to wake up, but today he was okay too. And we spent three hours cleaning the bathtub together. Then we got steaming bowls of ramen to reward ourselves and on the way there he said, “This is fun.” And, even if it’s just temporary, I could not be happier for the advances in science, especially in pharmacological drugs and their brain chemistry changing properties.