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Bright blue ones. Blue suede ones.

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He bought them for me as a gift while he was in Rome, and they were part of an emotional turning point for me.

They really are that bright; that’s an unedited iPhone photo.

Whenever I wear them, people notice them. And compliment them. Six today — two men and four women — one of them a student who audibly said, “Oh my gosh, those are awesome shoes” as I walked past her.

They ask for attention. They demand notice. They are not subtle shoes.

I am not often a subtle woman. I demand notice. I ask for attention.

He knows that.

I love them.

Today, sadly, they’re killing my bunion like they never have before. I think my foot’s getting worse. Reality is intruding into my symbol-laden fun, and I disapprove.

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I woke up this morning around 8 with a screaming headache, my personal hell kind of trigger migraine. They’re caused by muscle tension and exacerbated by sinus problems, and I spent all of yesterday with my laptop in bad postural positions that cramped up my back and neck, then a storm system blew in last night and the pressure change wreaked havoc on my sinuses. So I stumbled out of bed, blindly swallowed some Sudafed and Excedrin, and crawled back into bed. Justin was up, and suggested Claritin, brought me water and a pill, and helped me make a nest of pillows to lie on.

When I woke up three hours later my headache was gone. I still have that feeling like it’s following me around — like there’s a headache lurking three inches behind my head, and if I turn too fast it’ll pounce on me — but mostly, I’m okay now.

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And I have this small mental smile about the non-judgemental, cheerful way that Justin reacts to Jenica-in-pain. I’m not pleasant when the world feels too bright and too loud and every movement stabs me somewhere, and I know it. As I listen to myself whine and grumble in those moments there’s a part of my brain that can see it and thinks “stop that!”, but I’m not in full control. The pain is. And he just glides right by the cranky, and helps me. 

There’s a true give and take to that which feels like a gift. Yesterday he made waffles. Today I’ll make enchiladas. Today he helped with my headache. Later I’ll help with his job stuff. We’re sitting the other way, this afternoon — my feet are in his lap, not my head. But regardless, I’m feeling like this comfortable partnership is something to cherish, and be grateful for. It has the same clean, relaxing feeling as waking up after a migraine. A kind of “Oh, yes, that’s how I’m supposed to feel”, and it brings me just as much comfort.

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There’s a filter on my camera that makes things look like dramatic old hand-tinted postcards. Like a place that was never real, like somewhere you dream of but never see, no matter how hard you look.

It made my mountain look like a dream.

Today, that mountain on that lake… they feel like a dream. I had a vacation… I was there… just last week? 10 days ago? An eternity ago.

Like vacations, my lake is a fleeting part of my life, one that runs when I try to grab it and slips away if I’m not paying close enough attention. But when I’m there, when I’m in it…

Yes.

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Waking up and rolling over and having a sudden blinding cascade of pain from my eyebrows to my shoulders is not my favorite Sunday morning starter. But it’s what I’ve got. I keep reminding myself that this is temporary — the physical therapists have made so much progress moving and reducing the pain. We’re almost there. My back is almost pain-free, my shoulders are much better, now we just need to get a handle on my neck. I can do this.

It just sucks during the in-process part.

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And so, awake earlier than expected as Justin sleeps on. I’m sitting on the floor stretching, trying to find the thing that will make my neck let go and stop stabbing me with pain at seemingly-random-intervals. The cats are purring in the sunshine spilling over the couch, I have a cup of hot, sweet coffee, and the internet is amusing. Life, she is not bad.