I pull my hand from beneath piles of Grandma’s hand stitched quilts and reach to silence the enemy on my nightstand. The incessant buzz is deafening. My trigger finger finds the off button and I duck my throbbing head back under covers.
Can’t be time to get up already… If I skip breakfast, I can stay in bed a bit longer.
“Peter, you awake? Breakfast is about ready.”
So much for my idea. “I’m up.” Well, almost. I manage to force myself to leave the quilt cocoon and place two reluctant feet on cold tile. Rubbing sleep from slit openings, I traverse the well-worn rut to the bathroom.
Gotta’ shake this mood…Lots of people would love to be in my shoes. Pulling aside the sliding glass door, I adjust the shower handle to the far left position before stepping aside to answer nature’s morning call. Casting off crumpled pajamas, I shuffle through billowing steam to the shower and add only enough cold water to avoid scalding before hoisting frigid feet over the tub to step inside.
I gradually allow rushing hot water to trickle down my buzz-cut onto tensed shoulders. Increasing water pressure with a flick of the wrist, I jump-start my body. I lather up and feel tight muscles loosen with firm circular hand motions. If only I could learn to relax…
I do a hyper-speed shave before brushing and flossing my choppers. Becky likes me with a close shave and dental disciplines guard against annoying plaque. Grabbing my Brute plastic container, I splash invigorating aftershave on my face before making a mad dash to finish dressing.
Wonder if anyone would miss me if I played hooky from work…I paste on a smile before entering the kitchen. Becky must not know how badly I need her encouragement. Creeping up behind her as she hovers over the sink, I plant a kiss on her alluring neck.
She shrieks, “Peter!”
“Sorry hon. Know you had an all-nighter with the baby.”
“I must be doing something wrong, expected colic for a few weeks but it’s been months.”
“Stop beating yourself up; you’re a great mom!”
I see a glimmer of hope in puffy eyes as she sets a cup of coffee by my bagel.
As playful mommy, she transforms into an airplane while spoon-feeding Pete his oatmeal. He opens his mouth on cue as if a hanger awaiting the next plane’s arrival.
Does Becky know how much I lean on her? Does she sense my deepening depression?
“Beck, I thought burnout was just a popular catch phrase. Boy was I clueless!”
“Maybe, you just need to take vacation a little early this year…”
“It wouldn’t change anything. I love my work. If I only had to please the top man, I could face it. It’s all the subordinates that keep me up tight.”
Becky’s baby blues pierce my soul as she calmly replies, “You know what you always tell me. Stay focused.”
I nod reluctantly, force down a few bites of the bagel, slurp coffee and glance at FOX headlines before heading to my nearby office. Traffic moves at a snail’s pace and my blood pressure soars as I inch my way to the well-groomed property. Upon arrival, I pull into my designated parking spot, one of the perks of the job that I take for granted.
“Morning Ms. Gray, any calls?”
She hands me several neatly recorded phone messages and peers above her bifocals. “Don’t forget the special meeting this evening at six.”
“Oh, that’s right; I’d better telephone Becky.”
I unlock the door to my adjoining private office, flick on the light switch, and toss my sports jacket across the back of the swivel chair. Sitting down, I instantaneously ease into my accustomed rocked back position. Another late meeting… The intercom rings. No, not interruptions already!
“Becky is on line one,” said my secretary.
“Good, was getting ready to call her.”
She understands my tight schedule. Busy is my middle name and it is six before I know it. I straighten my tie and march into the conference room to meet with faithful men and competent department heads. To my surprise, there is a jubilant atmosphere. “Evening, Reverend!” The chairman of the deacons passes me a crisp envelope containing weekend tickets for two at an exclusive resort.
“Tell Becky that my Mrs. will watch little Peter. We appreciate all that the both of you do!” I choke back tears as he asserts, “After all, preachers are people too!”
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