Cid’s mother never stopped with the constant – and I can’t even say ‘chattering’ here – in Italian. I guess it was more like ‘nagging’ – but I can’t say for sure because it was in another language. All I can say is that Cid seemed to succumb to whatever she was saying and I watched helplessly as he slumped further and further down and looked ‘beaten’. I bit my lip and kept an eye on his oxygen meters – trying to let his mother have her say and her time with her son. I could see Cid giving up under the barrage and it was nonstop on her part.
When Cid tried to lie down on the couch his oxygen meter dropped to a scary low and he started to gasp for breath. I made him sit up and pushed as many pillows as I could behind his back, but it was obvious he was uncomfortable and had a hard time sitting like that. There was no easy chair in the condo and I pointed out that this is what he needed – a chair that he could relax in yet still be able to sit up and allow him to breathe. I even asked Cid if any of his neighbours might lend him a chair for a bit. My speaking made his mother purse her lips and glare at me, but I was more concerned about Cid’s breathing and his comfort.
I was taken by surprise when Cid’s uncle grasped my upper arm and pulled me to the front door and shoved my coat in my hands.
“We’re going to go look for a chair,” he said and steered me out the door.
Both of us were unfamiliar with Edmonton and we just drove around until we came across a furniture store. His uncle humoured me as I searched earnestly for a suitable chair and I could feel my anxiety levels skyrocketing and bursting out of the top of my head. I just couldn’t understand why they weren’t trying to make Cid more comfortable – even if it was only for a couple of days. To me the cost would have been well worth it.
Sometime during that aimless driving I realized that his uncle was just getting me out of the condo so the mother could be alone with Cid. He had never intended to make Cid more comfortable – it was all for the mother. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks in the face and I could feel that weight settling on my shoulders and bringing me down. I turned my face to the window and quit talking. When we got to the next furniture store I told him to go in himself – and he realised the game was up. I could see he was suddenly feeling just like me – and I didn’t care. He drove as slowly as he could back to the condo and almost dragged his feet as we approached the elevator. When we entered, I caught him shrugging his shoulders when Cid’s mother glared at us. I didn’t give a damn and went and made up Cid’s nebulizer and gave it to him. The look in Cid’s eyes told me everything.
That night as we prepared for bed, Cid asked me to sleep up with him instead of curled on the foot of the bed. I had been so afraid of bothering him while he slept that I had never thought of climbing in beside him. The effort of getting into bed had exhausted him and he lay with his eyes closed. Not wanting to disturb him, I curled up on the far side of the bed and tried to breathe as quietly as possible.
"What are you doing way over there?" His voice was raspy in the dark - almost overpowered by the hiss of the oxygen. It was his next words that crashed through my barriers and tugged at my heart. "Please come over here."
When he put his arm around me and pulled me tight up against him, I sighed. However, in a minute I sat up again and yanked off my nightgown before getting under the covers again and snuggling as tightly to him as I could. When the alarm went off to signal his nebulizer treatment, I found that I had wrapped my arms around his neck and had my head tucked under his chin. When I drew away to prepare his treatment, he smiled and said,
“All these years I’ve wanted to do this Aims. Thank you.”
When his mother opened the bedroom door in the morning and saw our naked bodies, Cid said,
“Close the door Mother.” In English