in search of softness

So much of our predicament has been hard. Not just hard in the sense of being emotionally hard to deal with….but, hard. The pitted country roads in upper Morjim, northern Goa? Hard. The pieces of grit and once even a pebble discovered in mouth while chewing food? Hard.The rough terry towels all the tougher from being washed in water that is– you guessed it– hard water.

Scott’s skin has always been extra sensitive. Back home we only use unscented hypoallergenic products for laundry and cleaning and bodycare. I regularly remove clothing labels from his shirts and pants. Now with the opiates playing havoc with all his nerve endings I know he is having an especially hard time being bed bound. After months of insisting on his self-induced nudity, Scott asked if he could put on something soft. I recalled the black silk knit Calvin Klein pajama pants and tee that our dear friend Abu had gifted to Scott back in February when he visited. Scott aquiesced to wearing these and we helped him don the featherweight leggings. Not only are they soft, we found out the silk is keeping him warmer and and an extra benefit is that they are helping to shield his pressure points from friction with the bedding. His pressure spots are noticeably less red now and some have disappeared altogether.

Two days ago when I went into town I was searching for softness in the form of a velour weave towel to give Scott that extra bit of comfort he requested. So very little brings pleasure to him now but his nurse applies hot towels to his frail body and that relieves soreness and feels good. If only the towels were softer! My search was in vain. Even Panjim’s highest end bed & bath shop did not have what I was searching for. We’re not in Mumbai or Delhi. Luckily, my friend Elizabeth helped me in my quest. Let’s try the baby store!

So we did. And although the baby towels felt just as rough, we discovered fleecey deep microfiber blankets and pillows as soft as their softest teddy bear. We can cut one of these blankets up and my tailor can sew the edges to make hand towels for Scott’s hot towel treatment, Elizabeth suggested. Yes! And we can put this plush baby blanket underneath in place of the medical sheepskin that feels too hard for him now. I bought 3 soft baby pillows and 3 baby blankets. Made that store clerk’s day, too.

Back at the hotel with my bounty of baby-softness ready to apply to his bed, I was greeted by Scott’s smile. Not the broad toothy grin….the face-softening slow upturned one with still blue water eyes beaming at me.

The next morning around 5AM, from his bed situated next to the open patio door, Scott reached out for my hand as the dark Goan sky fell softly over our shoulders, cloaking us with its gentle velvety blackness. We waited there in silence, together. Waiting for the sun. Another sun. A sun to remember. A squeezing of hands. Stay with me. Just the two of us. I do and we continue for what seems to be hours and it is, three hours have gone in companionable silence. Breathe in,breathe out. Softly, so softly.

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