Beyond Deserving

Beyond Deserving by Sandra Scofield Read Free Book Online

Book: Beyond Deserving by Sandra Scofield Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sandra Scofield
him.
    She did not and she didn’t come again to Ursula for advice. Ursula feels her guilt and pity tugged by the alliance of Fish and Katie, but she works too hard at managing bad cases in her work not to recognize the false seductiveness of knowing better , and the futility.
    There have been times Ursula wanted to yank Katie away. There have been times she wanted to lecture Fish (or hit him hard!). She did neither. She did not warn, scold or try to set them straight, even when they seemed headed straight for hell. She even learned not to vent her frustration by trying to enlist Michael, because Michael said, annoyed at her litany of concerns, that he was not going to abet any obsessions about Fish. He has had his share of them. Ursula, wounded, pointed out to Michael that he was wholly preoccupied with his parents, but Michael cut her short, saying, “They’re old.” That ended the discussion before she could also point out that Fish, ever the little brother, if only by two minutes, often got the benefit of Michael’s interventions yet.
    After so long, Fish and Katie seem indissoluble. Ursula only wonders if they can survive themselves.
    With Fish as the correlate, she observes her own husband Michael and counts her blessings. Fate has moved her to the right side of the Fisher coin. Michael has his faults (she thinks of them as Fisher faults), but he is steady and kind. If only he did not make her feel becalmed, like a boat on a vast still lake. If only she did not have such a craving for little squalls, to stir the water.
    Fish is around again. He can provide a storm or two. Come to think of it, they might just be counting on him.

12
    Ursula wakes one May morning to the sounds of Michael’s snoring.
    He disclaims such sounds when Ursula complains, but just last week, as he lay stretched out on the lumpy basement couch, his jaw a little slack, he made the particular sound that bothered her the most. They had been watching long-faced Sherlock Holmes on PBS for the third time, and Michael made this short, wet sound, a bubble-popping sound, through his mouth. “Hey, that’s it!” Ursula shrieked. Michael was indignant. He wouldn’t laugh even when Ursula doubled over laughing. She knew he had heard himself. He had a look. “What a dumb thing,” he muttered, and went off to get a bowl of Almond Mocha ice cream. “It’s just now the good part!” she called after him. He ate his ice cream in the kitchen and missed the end of the show.
    The noises aren’t so funny in the night. At first she was able to make him stop. He makes noises when he lies on his back, and stops when he turns onto his side. When he wakes Ursula, therefore, she lets him know, and he revolves compliantly. Sometimes he manages to say “Sorry” as he heaves onto his side. This used to touch her—she does love Michael—but eventually she realized he was not much disturbed by her nudge. Only she is bothered.
    The snoring has been going on for about two years. Michael has developed a new version that sometimes overcomes the disadvantage of lying on his side. It involves a quick blowing of air, as though he were releasing pressure in his sleep. She regards this variation as an escalation. She wonders what twenty years will bring. Subtly, her reaction has been changing, so that where once she would have tapped him gently, she now sometimes jabs him with her outstretched stiff fingers and exclaims, MICHAEL, YOU ARE SNORING.
    It is not quite dawn, the middle of the week, and the sky is a streaky gray, dry and soft, though it was drizzling when she went to bed. She knows she will not fall asleep again, and she minds. She hates mornings. She knows women who rise at 5:30 and go off to the Y to bounce around with weights on their ankles, all this before work. She doesn’t care what such a regimen might do for her heart or weight or self-esteem. She craves oblivion before full sun. The best

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