Tim wasn’t happy about being moved back downstairs after we sprung him from the hospital. He said our walking around, the front door opening and closing were too noisy for him to sleep soundly.
So that night Jerry and I tried to anticipate which actions would make noise as we slipped down and out for our morning walk and as we made our own breakfast afterwards. We would avoid whatever noises we could, starting now. Clean dishes from the rack in the sink grated together, glasses clicked, as we collected them and put them away. Silverware clanked metallically as they struck other silverware in the drawer. We set out cereal boxes, bowls and spoons so we wouldn’t be opening and clapping cupboard doors closed. I unscrewed pill containers for each of us and rattled doses into plastic dividers.
Next morning we tiptoed downstairs. Instead of unlocking the front door next to his room to bring in the paper (we wouldn’t read it until after he woke up, lest it rustle) and then start our walk, we slipped out the back door into the garage, gently shutting it behind us. We pushed the button to raise the garage door. We took the remote with us and lowered the door behind us, returning from our walk the same way.
In the kitchen we made breakfast together without speaking. We only opened the refrigerator door once to take out everything we needed and once to put everything back.
Eating, I winced as our metal spoons clinked against the china bowls. We would use plastic spoons next time, I thought. We could fill the tea kettle the night before so he wouldn’t be bothered by the sound of water running. There are two doorways into the kitchen; we could close the one that has a sliding door.
On little cat feet we tiptoed back upstairs, leaving our dishes on the table to wash with his.
Hours later, when Tim appeared groggily from behind his burgandy curtain, I greeted him with “How did you sleep? Was the noise any better?”
“What noise?” he said.
So I guess it was.