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The Intruder

The fear of an intruder in the house can be difficult to verify and can cause anxiety at night…

I wake from a sound sleep, vaguely apprehensive and fearful that an intruder is in the apartment. Beside me I hear my husband's deep, peaceful breathing. It is the only sound, and there is no apparent reason why I should suspect a disturbance.

Lying still for several minutes, I finally decide to get out of bed and check. It takes a great deal of courage and fortitude on my part but if I do not do this I won’t get any sleep whatsoever.

Pulling on my dressing gown, I pad softly down the hall. Past the dining room: door open, windows closed, no one is in there. From the front hall I can see into the other rooms. All is quiet, calm, windows closed and door locked. Even though it is unnecessary to do so, a quick check in each room confirms it: No intruder is present.

Nothing alarming is happening outside, either. Looking from the sitting room window, the night is peaceful. The trees in the park outside are all that move as a light breeze stirs their leaves. There aren't even any late night revelers returning drunkenly home, shattering the stillness of the night with their rows and arguments.

I return to my bed, slipping in beside my still sleeping husband. He doesn’t seem to have moved, and I am grateful his sleep is deep: He recently underwent surgery on his hand, and has a long and painful process of healing and rehabilitation facing him. The medical procedure went well and the hand is healing slowly but surely. He needs his rest both to help the healing process and to give him some respite from the pain and frustration the recovery period brings with it. It could very well take many months but with time he will regain most of the use, strength and flexibility of his hand. In the meantime, he has to adapt to being restricted in what he can do, which is often frustrating for him. It is for me as well; however, I keep my worries and concerns to myself because they trouble him.

My anxiety starts to fade as I lie in bed and hope sleep will return to claim me. I hear no untoward sounds to cause alarm, and my apprehension and fear have both subsided.

Although I handle the problems and crises that crop up during the day with aplomb, it’s at night I pay the price for my outward calm and efficiency. The intruder didn’t get the best of me tonight, I now realise, and grateful for such a small victory, I finally fall asleep again.
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