Sometimes it is the smallest moment that is the most clarifying about what my life with Ralph has become.
This morning was absolutely beautiful weather, sunny and warm in the early seventies. Shirtsleeve weather.
I ran my early morning errands and did some work in my office while Ralph and Lola were, I thought, comfortably ensconced in his office.
But when I came down to check on him, Ralph was lying on his bed in his coat, shoes, and wool cap underneath the wool thrown rug.
“The thermostat says it’s 71, and anyway I was out early and amazed how warm the air felt.”
“No, it’s not warm at all.”
I opened my phone to the weather app and showed him the temperature.
“Your phone is wrong. Go feel the air.”
I opened the bedroom door to the back patio. Still sunny and warm.
“Close the door. Don’t you feel that breeze?”
“You’re being ridiculous. If anything, it is warmer outside than in this room.”
“I know, this room is always cold.”
“Well, why don’t you get up then and come in the other room. If I open the new shades the room the sun will pour in and will really heat up the space.”
I recently installed these solar shades, which Ralph has loved because they keep the room warmer in winter than it used to be by creating a strong layer against the cold. But in warmer weather like today’s, the shades block the sun to keep the room from getting too hot. But that if that’s the heat he wants, I’d just roll them. I was quite proud of myself for having created such an easy solution to our ongoing weather issue.
“No,” Ralph said quite emphatically bursting my bubble. “Now I have made myself comfortable, I’m not moving.”
“Suit yourself. But you really should not lie on the bed all day.”
I paused. There we were, two people whose body temperatures were totally incompatible, whose experience of the world around us not longer aligned, if it ever did. And neither of us was really in charge, because while in practical terms I made most of our decisions, every decision made revolved around him (not unlike when he was the obvious dominant head of the family). He is always cold, I am always hot. It’s such a small difference and yet…
I know all the reason I should have given, but I looked at him and shrugged, why not indeed.