Slip into something a little more comfortable.

My husband B doesn’t appreciate the things I wear to bed.

“Could you put on the mask after I turn off the light?” he asks.

“Why?”

“It gives me weird dreams if it’s the last thing I see.”

He just doesn’t understand. The gel mask reduces unsightly eye-area swelling. It maintains my appeal – even if it doesn’t look appealing when I wear it.

“It’s green. You look like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.”

Bedtime used to be less complicated: a kiss before and after turning off the lights, and a sighed, “I love you.” Now it requires a strategy.

Do I approach our bed while the lights are still on, fully decked out in head wrap, gel mask, moisturizing gloves and socks, and therapeutic lip balm? I can’t wear my glasses with the eye mask and can barely see my way to bed when the lights are on. I’ll hurt myself if I try to find my way in the dark. And I’m certain B would still provide commentary though my appearance is covered by darkness.

“Oh no, not the gloves. Please don’t touch me with the gloves on, Michael Jackson.”

The gloves keep the conditioning creme on my hands and off the sheets. The hands that will still be smooth and soft when we feed each other apple sauce in the nursing home. He doesn’t notice now, though, and I wonder if either one of us will be with it enough to care then.

B doesn’t appreciate how much my bedtime rituals have taught him. My head wraps are necessary, not vanity, and valuable lessons in cultural differences.

“What’s with the scarf?” he once asked early in our life together.

“It keeps my hair in place while I sleep.”

“But washing it will mess it up.”

That was the first of many teachable moments. Irish men don’t know boricua kinks can’t be washed every day. It takes a lot of time to get my hair smooth and once it is, I’m making it last.

“Just wear it curly. It looks nice like that,” he suggested.

“Then I would have to wear the bonnet to keep the curls from frizzing.”

“A bonnet? Like Bo-Peep?”

My nighttime accessories continued and increased over the years – and so have B’s comments. Let him be a smart ass, though. He’ll have the wife with the most luscious skin and hair in the nursing home, even if we’re both gumming tapioca pudding.

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