She wakes, as she does every morning even at the height of summer, in total darkness. No matter what time she goes to bed, she can't sleep past four unless she takes something, which she is loathe to do. No pills. The pills will kill you in the end. She prides herself on this, though she shares it with no one. She's seventy three years old and swallows no pills. This is how she defines herself. To herself.
She takes a brief survey of her body before resigning to the day. Left knee a little twingy, too bent up in the sheets. She slept on her sore shoulder and now it hurts. Her hands are drawn up into claws. It will take a warm shower to unclench them. She won't admit to arthritis or anything else. She hasn't had a pap smear since the Johnson administration, just after her last child was born.
Bert beside her sleeps on, ambien dreams and benedryl haze. He has no problem taking pills. To her its like admitting weakness. He's had his success in life. He's finished with all of that. She's still working. She feels her triumph is yet to come.
When she goes to the doctors' offices she readily accepts the prescriptions and fills them. Pain pills, sleeping pills, heart pills. But the moment she gets home she does not hesitate; she flushes them. It's the first thing she does when she gets in the door. She will not let these doctors control her body. She's gluten free! She'll live forever!
Today is Thursday, a running morning. She likes to get out before dawn on her running mornings: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. The 3 day schedule is her only concession to age. It keeps the tendinitis and the plantar fasciitis at bay. She doesn't necessarily want anyone outside of the neighborhood early-morning regulars to see her run. They are her tribe, the early morning people. Introverts mostly on strict "good morning" terms only. These are arguably the most important people in her daily life and she doesn't even know their names, wouldn't recognize them in regular clothes in daylight.