Sometime around sunup:
I am half-awake, sprawled diagonally across my bed, arms akimbo, tank top twisted, legs uncovered, pajama bottoms pushed up to my knees. I hear the soft tread of his feet and the murmur of his voice as he shuffles articles – things that have been strewn around my body as I slept – and mumbles to himself. He moves the book I was reading last night out of its resting place by my left knee, so as to prevent my bruising it (or myself) unintentionally then rights the Kleenex box that’s laying on its side half under the pillow beside my head. He picks up the zip hoodie I discarded in the night and places it in the clothes bin.
These movements are familiar, easily distinguishable by sound. My eyes are not open, but I can “see” what he’s doing. I can’t discern what he’s saying, exactly, though I assume it’s his typical good-humored remonstrations regarding my “man traps” – those things I leave strewn about me ere I go to sleep every evening, the movement of which would alert me to the presence of a man (him, to be precise) and therefore allow me to ‘trap’ him (and yes, he quite enjoys being ‘trapped’, thankyouverymuch) – and general commentary about the skewed positions I get myself into during nocturnal hours.
Most of these things come through as “mumble mumble book mumble laundry mumble mumble weird sleeper.”
But then he says something that comes through loud and clear.
Having picked up my discarded tissues (I’m still sick, thus the Kleenex as a sleeping companion; it’s easier to just reach over for one to blow my nose when I wake up stuffy than it is to tromp to the restroom in the middle of the night), he stands at my feet, rubs his hands over my unshaven calves (seriously, I think the last time I shaved was like seven weeks ago), and says “Stinky legs.”
Something in my half-conscious mind latches onto this phrase as an incredibly odd thing to say, and I question my auditory acuity momentarily. Stinky legs? I think to myself. Is that really what he said?
“Stinky legs,” he repeats, then walks out of the room.
Hmmm, I think. He said it again. I’ll have to ask him about that when I wake up.