Our family was huge.
We descended from members of the Mormon Battalion, where a family of 6 was considered small!
Our family consisted of Alexander and Christena Dickson, my folks; along with 11 children; Margaret, 31; Rebecca, 29; Sarah, 29 (they're twins); Ruth, 28; Mark, 26; Twins Hannah and Anna, 24; Joanna, 22; Jeffrey, 20 (that's me); John, 18; and last, we hope, was Alexander Jr, 16!
A quick look through this list, tells you that the youngest of the clan were John, Alex and I. Our sisters practically raised us, with Margaret, or Maggie as I called her, being 11 years older than me. I saw her much more than I saw mom during my formative years.
This story is about Maggie and Me.
The only kids still living at home were John and Alex, the rest being married and living somewhere else, or off at college.
I lived near the campus of Idaho State University, where I was in my 3rd year of classes. It's now summer break.
Margaret lived nearby. She had been married for ten years, when her husband, Randall Jeppesson, was killed over in Iraq. They never had any kids, which had further depressed Margaret. She was raised that children were a blessing, but she was never so blessed. I don't know if this was a medical problem of hers, or if her husband had been impotent.
Although 31, Margaret still had pretty long brown hair, as had all of my sisters. Her figure was slight, but that didn't keep her from being involved in a lot of neighborhood events.
She and I were the only two of us still living in Pocatello, Idaho. The rest were scattered all over, and the folks were still living at the 'homestead, ' as they called it, in Idaho Falls, about 40 miles north of us.
Although we all descended from devout Mormons, most of us were non-church going folk nowadays. Randall had been a Protestant, and the last time I went to church ... I don't even remember when that was.
I would drive over to Margaret's, every now and again, to see how she was doing. She always gave me a great big hug every time I arrived, and said something like, "My, Jeff, aren't you a fine looking young man, why haven't you got yourself a girlfriend by now?"
I would typically respond with something like, "I haven't found anybody nearly as nice, friendly or as pretty as my big sister, Maggie." She giggled every time I called her that; apparently she and Randall had never developed nicknames for each other.
She would often ask me to have dinner with her; I'd never refuse, due to the fact that I could hardly boil water, much less cook myself something edible. I even had left some clothes over at her place, so I wouldn't have to go home if I stayed late.
Margaret had been living at her home for 12 years, the last 7, all by herself. After her husband was killed, mom had asked me to check up on her. I did, and that restarted our relationship up again.
When I was a kid of 10 years old, and she was 21, I would often come home and talk to my big sis. She had a gentleness that would belie her young looking face and figure. She'd been a long distance runner, back when she went to Idaho State, attributing to her svelteness and her overall good health.
She must have been around 5ft9, while I was 5ft 11. She had real pretty eyes ... I often caught myself looking into them.
I found myself over at her place a lot lately, sometimes she'd asked me over and sometimes, I just dropped in. She didn't seem to mind if I dropped in. She always met me at the door and we looked into each other's eyes for a moment.
I think she enjoyed my company, she was always cooking me dinner, coaxing me to stay over for the night. I felt a little uncomfortable when she asked me that, although I'm not sure why. She was probably just aching for company, and I guess I was it.
When she had something for me to do, like fix a leaky faucet or hammer a loose nail, she'd always stay and watch me do whatever it was she had asked me to do for her. She really was starved for company.
Recently, on one of my drop-ins, I knocked at the door, she asked who it was and I said, "It's Jeff, your good-looking little brother!" She opened the door carefully, and let me in. She was wrapped in a towel and she said, "Come in, I'll be back out in a bit, I'm gonna take a shower."
Being a little flippant and noticing her pretty legs, I said, "Need someone to wash your back?"
She turned around, giving me a pensive little smile, and said, "Maybe next time, Jeff. I haven't had anybody offer that to me in a long time." I heard her giggle as she went off to her shower.
I just sat down and watched some TV.
She came out in a robe, drying her hair. I got up and said, "Here, sis, you sit down, and I'll dry your hair for you." I got a chair and put it behind the sofa. I reached over and started to dry her hair, starting at the temples and very slowly working my way through her hair, stopping to comb it, with the comb she'd brought out with her.
She must have enjoyed this, because she was occasionally moaning, "Oh, Jeff ... your hands feel so good." That was when I realized she probably hadn't had this done for her since her husband had done it. I was done drying her hair, so I put the towel down, and started to rub her shoulders a little.
"Jeffrey, your hands feel so good, keep rubbing ... go up to just below my ears." I did, and she seemed quite anxious for me to keep going. I was starting to worry about what was really happening, but I knew neither one of us would let anything stupid happen, so I kept rubbing, moving from high on her neck to just below her shoulder blades, down her back.
She'd loosened her robe, inviting me to move my hands down her back farther, but I stayed up on her shoulders. I moved my hands back to her temples and rubbed in little circles just in front of her ears. I knew she like this, she had me do this many times in the past, telling me it helped her get to sleep.
Groggily she said, "I need to get to bed, Jeff, would you please carry me to my bed ... I don't think I can get my legs to work right, thank you. I love you, Jeff!"
I picked up my big sister, although, if she weighed more than 120, I'd be surprised. I carried her into her bedroom and put her down.
She was very close to asleep, but I heard her say very quietly, "Take my robe off me please, Jeff?"
Could I do that? I knew for a fact she didn't have a bra on, but what if she didn't have on panties? Oh, boy! Maybe there's a way I can do this without looking.
I untied her robe and pulled it off her rolling her to her right, and then repeated the same motion from the other side, rolling her to her left. Oh my god, I looked ... thankfully she had on panties, but her breasts just were wonderfully exposed.
I got the robe the rest of the way off her, and pulled the sheets over her, looking one last time at her nice orange-sized breasts. I gave her a light peck on the lips and went to 'my' room.
I just lay there, thinking about her breasts, never having seen them before in the whole time we grew up together. They were nice, not too big — not too small. I fell asleep.
I was dreaming about flying above the clouds and everybody below me was naked. I swooped down and saw all kinds of people, young and old, short and tall, men and women ... and all of them were naked. Something shook me awake. It was Maggie, dressed in a real pretty paisley dress, with a barrette in her hair.
Maggie asked, "Jeff, would you go shopping with me this morning? I always feel uncomfortable in the store by myself."
"Sure Maggie! Can I take a quick shower first?" I asked.
"Absolutely, come down into the kitchen when you are ready to go."
I found a dress shirt and some slacks that I had left here before and, after a nice cold shower, I put on the clothes and went downstairs.
"You look nice, Jeffy!"
"Thanks sis, you always look nice to me! I like it when you call me Jeffy?"
"Well aren't you the nicest young man!" she said.
"I'm not even the nicest person in the room right now. Did you sleep OK? I had to put you to bed last night you were so tired from my rubdown."
"It wasn't just your rubdown, Jeff. I've been tired a lot lately, especially in the evenings. I wonder if I should go to the doctor about it?"
"Whatever you want, sis. I'll take you to the doctor whenever you would like me to. Do you still want to go shopping?"
"Yes, let's do that while I'm still energized to do it. Can you drive please?"
"Sure, Maggie ... I'll take you anywhere you want, to the store, or to the moon."
"What's that mean, to the moon, Jeff?"
"I don't know exactly, I was dreaming of flying when you woke me. I looked up and saw the moon, just before I woke up."
"How mysterious. Let's go!"
"Your chariot awaits, milady." I opened the door and she got in. I ran over to the drivers' side and as I got in Maggie was smiling.
"Are you flirting with me, Jeff? It's been so long, I think I recognize that you're flirting with me." she smiled at me.
"What's wrong with that Maggie, I've had a crush on you for a long time. It just seems natural to flirt with you, unless you think it's totally inappropriate."
"No, Jeff ... I like it, it makes me feel good to have such a cute young man, saying such nice things to me."
"I'm sorry for the loss of your Randy, Maggie. We all know how much you loved him. If I can do or say anything that helps you in any way, just let me know."
"I will, Jeff," she said as she put her hand on mine during the drive to the store.
I parked as close as I could, and we went into the store. I got us a cart and we started to go down each of the aisles, stopping for the things she had on her list. Whenever she started to bend over to get something off the bottom aisle, I got it for her. She would smile at me, and we would go on.
She turned to me and said, "If there is anything you want, feel free to grab it." I took her for her word, and reached over to her and gave her a great big hug.
"What's that for, you silly goose?" she said with a giggle in her voice.
"I wanted you to know how much I love you, and that seemed like the right thing to do. I didn't mean to embarrass you. I'm sorry?"
"You didn't embarrass me, I actually liked your hug. It kind of reminded me of when Randy and I would go shopping. He'd often stop everything and just give me a hug, just like that. Thank you, Jeff — I love you too."
We continued on, shopping and talking, more talking actually. I told her how my most recent girlfriend dumped me for a soccer player. She put her arm around me, making me feel better about myself.
We were done and we walked together to the checkout. I put all the stuff up on the counter to be checked out. The young lady doing the checkout, looked at me and then said to Maggie, "I see you have a new boyfriend, Margaret. He seems awfully young."
Before Maggie could say anything, I grabbed her hand, kissing it and said, "I've loved her for a long time ... we're finally a couple, Maggie and Me."
Maggie broke into a great big smile and said, "Yeah, all of the ones my age are jerks. I found this one at Idaho State a few years ago. Isn't he just scrumptious?" she slapped me on the butt.
The checker finished and said, "That'll be $77.44 please." Maggie gave me her card and we checked out. The young man who had been bagging for us said, "Do you need any help with that today?"
"NO," I said, looking him straight in the eye, "I can help her, you go help the old ladies ... I've got it covered." We left the store, Maggie looking over at me a few times.
I put the groceries in the car and got in. Maggie was deciding whether or not to say anything about what happened in the store, but she must have changed her mind, and was quiet the whole way home.
We got back; I brought all the stuff inside, while Maggie started putting it away. She stopped and looked at me, then went back to what she was doing.
After putting it all away, I took Maggie by the hand and we sat down on the sofa. She looked at me again; this time I knew I'd better start this conversation.
"Maggie, when I said 'I've loved you for a long time' I wasn't kidding. Last night when I put you to bed, I had to restrain myself from what I wanted. You were asleep, but so beautiful. I took off your robe and saw your wonderful body, I had to run from the room, or I would have done something, that a brother should never do to his sister."
"I had wondered how I got that way, when I woke up this morning, Jeff ... you don't love me, you only think you do. I'm your older sister and we've gotten very close living in the same town, but I have to tell you..." she started to sob — really big tears.
I tried to hold her, but she pushed me away.
"Jeff, don't — I don't know how long I can keep from fighting my instincts when you're around me. You better go home to your own place. I'll be OK, call me when you get home to let me know you're OK."
Her words, devastated me, but I left. I got in my car and went home, crying my eyes out that I had said those things to my sister. I was miserable. I don't know what I was thinking, telling her that I loved her.
As soon as I got inside my place, I called her.
"Maggie, this is Jeff, I'm sorry ... I hope you'll forgive me for the things I said to you, although I did mean every single word I said. I'll leave you alone until you want me to come back."
I didn't give her a chance to say anything. I hung up the phone and cried, for the longest time.
My phone rang ... I picked it up, and it was Mom.
"I just got the strangest call from your sister."
"Which one Mom, I got seven of them, you know."
"What's going on with the attitude, Jeff? Did you and your sister have a fight? She called me crying, and said she kicked you out of her house. Is there something I need to know? Did you say something that upset her?"
"Mom ... we had a disagreement, and when push came to shove, she asked me to leave. I hope we can work it out, but sometimes things need time to heal, and this is one of those."
"Well, you better fix this young man, or I'll come down there and beat both of your butts, you hear me?"
"Loud and clear, Mom. I promise that I'll do my very best to work this out with Maggie. I love you Mom, thanks for caring enough to call."
"Call her back, please — for me, and just say you're sorry. Guys don't remember those words as well as they remember, 'I love you' and 'you're pretty.' This isn't just a girlfriend you can brush off; this is your oldest sister, who lost a husband to the ravages of war. She needs to be pampered and loved. Just tell her how you feel about her. I'm sure that will help her, and you. Goodnight Jeff!"
"Night Mom, and thanks for the advice ... girls aren't always easy to understand, you know."
"That's right honey, that's exactly why you need to make up with your sister, just as soon as you can."
"OK, thanks again."
I went to sleep that night developing a plan.
I got up and took a real long hot shower. I heard the phone ring, but I decided to let it go to voice mail.
I dried myself off and got dressed and then went over to retrieve the message.
"Jeff, this is Margaret. I'm sorry I got so mad at you and threw you out. I called and talked to mom, not giving her the particulars of our fight, and she told me that love is more important than any other emotion ... I see that now. When you told me you loved me, I freaked out a little."
"You don't expect to hear that from your own brother, although I think I've always had some of the same feelings for you. I need you to get me to the doctor today. I need to find out what's wrong with me, if anything. I'm sorry if I hurt you – I love you, Jeff."
Having returned Maggie's call, I showed up the next morning, letting myself in, and walked into the kitchen to see Maggie fixing herself some breakfast.
"Hey Sis," I said, a little nervous.
"Hello, Jeff ... would my boyfriend like some breakfast?" Maggie responded with a lilt in her voice.
"Sure, you make a great breakfast ... about that boyfriend thing, I'm sorry if I upset you, or made you uncomfortable by doing that in the store."
"Jeff, you said, in the store that you've loved me a long time ... just how long, exactly?"
Thinking about it for a second, I said, "At least seven years, Maggie."
"What happened seven years ago — oh yes, that's when I got the news about Randy. So, you fell in love with me, the year my husband died? This was a love ... of opportunity, was it?"
"No — no — no, that's not it at all, Maggie? I've cared about you since ... I can't remember really, but it was the year that Randy died, that I realized just how much I cared for you; cared about you!"
"It wasn't ... it's not only a physical kind of love I have for you. It's everything about you. Your smile, the way your face crinkles up when you are thinking about something important, like you're doing right now?"
"Go, on, Jeff — I'm listening." she's doing it right now.
"Your eyes, Maggie. A person's eyes are important in that your eyes show how you feel ... I can always tell your mood with your eyes. If you're happy, or sad ... or if you're hurting, and I don't mean physically hurting, like you have been complaining about lately. I often see it in your eyes when you've been thinking of Randy."
"You can, really ... what do I do?"
"Your eyes seem to lose their light, like the way a light bulb acts, just before it goes out and has to be replaced. But when you start to talk about him; something he used to do — your light shines very bright!"
"What a sweet thing to say, Jeff!"
"You're a very sweet woman, Maggie. Are you ready to go to the doctor yet?"
"Yes, I think so. Would you help me up, please Jeff?"
"Sure!" I pulled her up and we were face to face. "Where does it hurt, sis?"
"Right now, in my hips and back; how could you tell I was hurting, Jeff?"
"From your eyes, your beautiful, magnificent eyes!" I kissed her on the nose!
"Oh, you ... let's go?"
We drove over to her doctor's office.
"Now Jeff, while we're here, no funny business, OK?"
"What do you mean, Maggie?" I said with a big smile on my face.
"Don't look at me like you love me, or grabbing my hand and saying how much you care, just behave ... please?"
"But I do love you," I said as we walked into the waiting room.
She turned towards me, but didn't say anything. She just looked at me with those provocative eyes of hers. After checking in, we sat down. I grabbed her hand and squeezed it. She just looked at me like I was crazy or something, but she didn't remove my hand.
"Margaret Hassilev," the nurse called after about an hour's wait. I leaned over and asked, "Do you want me with you, Maggie?"
"That would be nice, yes please Jeff ... behave!"
"It's tough when I'm around such a beautiful woman as yourself. I can hardly control myself."
We went into the internal waiting area, assuming it would be another half an hour, but the doctor came in and smiled at both of us.
"Hello, Margaret ... it's been a while, and who is this nice-looking young man with you today?"
I jumped in again, before Maggie could form a sentence. "I'm Jeff, her boy friend, Maggie has been getting tired in the evening, and sometimes her legs won't hold her. Of course, I pick her up and put her down wherever she wants."
"So, Margaret ... how long has this evening tiredness been going on? Jeff sounds concerned about you, and so am I?"
Maggie looked over at me and smiled, "Well, Gloria ... for about three months now, around 4-5 pm each night, I get really tired, have a little pain, sometimes in my hip and back, like I have right now. Sometimes it's a real chore to get to bed and fall asleep."
"Jeff, if I may, does she snore, or toss and turn, when she does sleep?"
"Well, I've never heard her snore, but I've watched her sleep and it does seem restless, like she's fighting it."
Maggie looked over at me again, and added, "Gloria, my boyfriend doesn't stay over, so he's not a great observer of my symptoms. Our relationship is very ... new. Randy is still in my thoughts a great deal."
"You loved Randy a great deal, Margaret ... if I may be so bold, is there a place in your heart for Jeff?"
I got to the edge of my seat, wanting to know the answer to this question myself!
"What Randy and I had was deep, emotional love ... what Jeff and I have is new, and a very raw and physical love, but steady ... almost like a brother and sister type of love, but with benefits."
I smiled, and looked over at her, grabbing her hand and I said, "Don't you just love her, I know I do!"
"Margaret, didn't you used to be a runner or something?" the doctor asked.
"Are you getting any regular exercise these days — is she Jeff?"
I replied, "I know she used to run a mile every day, when she first got up in the morning. I leave her alone at night and don't get over as much as I'd like, but I don't think she's getting nearly enough physical activity in her life."
"Gloria," my sister interrupted. "Could this all be some sort of PTSD on my part, because of Randy, and what he meant to me?"
"It's possible, but not what I think is going on, are you eating regularly? Three meals a day?"
Maggie and the doctor discussed her diet for a bit, and came to the possibility that Maggie should try some dietetic changes, including; avoiding caffeine in the evening, switching to decaf; not eating so much just before bed, and getting to bed a little earlier.
The doctor looked directly at me and said, "She needs to be more physically tired, so do your job, boyfriend."
That made both Maggie and Me blush a little, but it gave me the courage to speak up.
"Call me Gloria, Jeff!"
"Gloria, I gave her a temple massage the other day and she seemed to enjoy it, but her legs, what did you call it sweetheart, seemed to go limp on her, and I had to carry her to bed."
I got a look from Maggie that went from 'I can't believe you told her that' to 'good idea' and she put her arm around me, saying, "I don't know what I would do with out this big lug in my life."
Maggie had never said anything like that to me before ... there is hope!
"So," Doctor Gloria said, "You two are going to do the dietetic changes, and Jeff is going to 'up his game' and then the two of will come back in two weeks. I'll check into the massage angle."
"Margaret, this young man could be the perfect prescription for you. You seemed happier, when you first walked in, than I remember you being in a long while. I can only assume that this boy toy of yours, has been hugely responsible."
Maggie looked over to me saying, "He's been a breath of fresh air in my life, Gloria," her eyes moistening a bit.
"I love her more than I can say," I said, holding her hand and giving it a kiss. Maggie gave a big sigh, and leaned into me. "I think I love him too!"
On the way back to Maggie's, I spoke up, "Maggie, the doctor wants me to observe you, so I will be staying over at your place for the next two weeks, monitoring you and generally keeping an eye on you. I am going to keep close tabs on what you eat and when you eat it. I also promised Gloria I would perform my 'boyfriend duties' as needed."
"I'll agree to all but your 'boyfriend duties, '" Maggie said. "I'm not ready for our relationship to change to any more physical contact then we're doing right now!"
"Just remember Maggie, I'm there for you whenever you need anything, and I do mean anything. I know it makes you a little uncomfortable to hear this, but I do love you ... I am in love with you, Margaret Christena Dickson Hassilev."
"I haven't heard anyone use my whole name like that, since I was a little girl, and mom used it only when I was in trouble!" Maggie said.
I said, "I can wait for as long as it takes, but know this — the moment you realize that you love me, I will be in your life, and your bedroom for as long as you'll have me."
"You do realize that I am 11 years older than you, Jeff?"
"It doesn't feel like 11 years anymore, does it really feel that long to you?" I replied with hope.
"Actually no, you have matured significantly from when I helped mom by changing your diapers." she enjoyed that remark way too much.
I responded by saying, "Let's swing by my place, so I can get some clothes to change into. I want to get some nicer clothes, so I can take out my girlfriend to someplace nice, so we can dance!"
"Dance! I haven't been out dancing forever, Jeff. I don't know if I can anymore?"
"Dancing is like riding a bike, or making love, Maggie. Once you've learned how, you want to ... all the time. We're here, come on up, sis ... you haven't been here in ages. I have some new posters up on my walls."
"Oh, you want me to come up and see your posters ... how many girls have you used that line on, bro?"
"I may have used it on girls, Maggie, but I've never had a woman like you up here before. At least, not a woman that I care for as much as I care for you. I'll be out in a minute, look around if you'd like. There is bottled water in the fridge."
I got my suitcase out and packed up a dozen changes of clothes, including some bathroom items ... along with a few condoms. I didn't really expect to get to use them, but it would be totally irresponsible of me to not have them. I left my room and saw Maggie looking around at the posters on my walls.
I couldn't help myself, so I quietly put down my suitcase and came up behind her, wrapping my arms around her waist, and kissing her neck.
She pulled away and said, "You packed already? Let's go!"
"I said, let's go!"
"Are you mad at me?"
"Let's just go Jeff, please?"
"I'll drop you off at home and I'll come back here. I know when I'm not wanted or appreciated?"
"Jeff, don't be mad at me, please?"
She said this with her eyes filling to capacity.
"Maggie ... in the past week, I've opened up my heart to you, telling you things, I never thought I would get the chance to tell you. You've flirted back a little, but I don't see the commitment from you, that I'm willing to make to you, so we had better part ways, right now ... before I do, or say something that will break us up as brother and sister. I love you too much to be willing to cause that relationship to break apart."
We got back into the car, and I took her to her place. It was now very cool and quiet between us. I was aching inside. We got to her place; I opened the door for her and said, "Is there anything else before I go?"
She immediately responded, "Jeff, I don't want you to go?"
"Why, Maggie ... why don't you want me to go? Tell me why, please?" I was begging her for a response, and I started to cry.
"I don't ... I can't ... say the words you want to hear Jeff, I care for you deeply, I just can't say those words. The last man I said those words to ... is gone. I'm just not willing to make that promise to another man." she broke down sobbing into her hands.
I reached down and picked her up and carried her to her sofa. I went to the linen closet and got a blanket and put it over her. Then I sat down, but on her settee.
I looked over at her, worried about what was happening between us, or I guess what wasn't happening between us. I was really getting confused about my feelings. I loved her ... I was in love with her, my own sister! She didn't know how she felt about me?
Maybe it's just a guy thing, but I've probably been in love with her since I first learned what the word 'love ' meant. Being around her, smelling her, seeing her and holding her; I wanted to do all of those things, all of the time, plus one additional thing ... I wanted to love her.
I just sat there, watching her breathe. She was especially pretty when she smiled, with a contented looking smile on her face. I let her sleep as long as she wanted to. After about four hours, I thought I should wake her, or she might not sleep during the night.
"Maggie," I jostled her a little. "Maggie, wake up ... I'm taking you out to dinner."
She awoke stretching; yawning a little, immediately asking how long I let her sleep. I told her about four hours. She was surprised.
"I never sleep that long anymore, if I get to sleep at all. Yeah, something to eat ... that sounds good, I'll make us something, OK?"
"No, I'm taking you out to dinner, your choice, my treat. It's the least I can do for my beautiful sister, the girl that's in my dreams. Besides, I have to keep track of what you eat, if we are going to get to the bottom of your fatigue problem?"
"So, you're staying?" her voice and her eyes perked up.
"You couldn't get me out of here, even if you wanted to. I love you Maggie. Now change into something fine for our dinner date."
"My little brother is taking me out on a date? What will people think?" She was mocking me, but she had that wonderful smile back on her face.
"Let them think what they want? They'll only need to see the look on my face, to see a person who is hopelessly, madly in love with the girl on his arm."
"Hmmm, hopelessly and madly, a perfect pair."
"Just like we are, Mags — just like we are!"
"Have you ever been to Buddy's Italian Restaurant, Maggie?"
"No, I haven't Jeff, is that where we're going for dinner?"
"It is now, Mags. It's going to become 'our place, ' because they'll see us there every week from here on out."
"I really like the shorter nickname 'Mags.' Randy called me Maggie, but now only you can call me 'Mags, ' is that all right with you Jeff?"
"The way you're looking at me right now, is the way I would like you to always look at me, especially when you wake up next to me in the morning. We're here ... now don't eat too much, keep it light, doctors orders." She slapped at my chest.
We both laughed at that, gosh, when she laughs she's even prettier. I've got to keep her laughing, but I need to find a way to convince her, that it's necessary for me to perform my 'boyfriend duties!'
We ordered and were going to share a medium pizza, with pepperoni, salami, olives and mushrooms, and a Calzone and an order of grilled onions. It was Maggie who added the grilled onions, so I got up and walked around the table and gave her a nice big kiss, quite unexpectedly.
"What was that for?"
"I wouldn't have wanted to, after you've eaten the onions, so I decided on a first strike. Didn't I do it right, Maggie?"
"What am I going to do with you, Jeff?"
"Maybe I didn't do it right, if that's all you have to say about it?"
She started to laugh ... and I joined her. Could this really happen, Maggie and Me?
We got home from Buddy's. I helped her out of the car, like I had been doing the past couple of days. This time, when I grabbed her hand for the walk to the door, she didn't shake my hand off of hers.
"I have an interesting experiment I would like to try tonight at bedtime, Mags?"
"I'll bet you do, Jeff?"
"No, nothing like that! You say you haven't been sleeping well the past three months, or was that when you started noticing you didn't feel rested when you woke up?"
"Actually, that's quite perceptive of you Jeff, I'd have to say that I haven't slept very well, since Randy died, but recently I've noticed that I'm waking up, in the middle of the night, and getting back to sleep OK, but that seems to repeat itself throughout the night."
"So, you are getting to sleep, but waking up after a bit, then falling back to sleep and that repeats itself through the night."
"Yes, you said it better than I did, but yes. What are you thinking of?"
"Have you ever heard of Sleep Apnea, Maggie?"
"No, what is it, Jeff?"
"What I know about it is limited, but Ruth and Rebecca, both have it. It's much more common in men, but with your sisters having it, could mean you have it."
"Jeff, you have me worried a little, what exactly is it?"
"Sorry, I'm not trying to worry you, I'm trying to help you feel better, and that is part of the 'boyfriend duties!' Apnea means 'without breath, ' there are three different kinds of it, but, in all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer."
"Well how would I know if I had, is there a test or a treatment for it?" Maggie asked.
"As I remember, Ruth told me she went to a 'sleep clinic' and they put a series of recording devices on her, and checked her for brain activity, eye movement and a slew of other tests. Your insurance should cover a 'sleep study.' When I was watching you sleep earlier, I never heard you snore, which is common with Sleep Apnea, and I never heard you stop breathing, and that was over four hours."
"You watched me sleep, Jeff? Why did you do that ... that is so sweet of you?" She started to tear up and I put my finger on her cheek and caught the tear. "I was being a little snippy before, what was your experiment about, Sleep Apnea?"
"No, my idea thinks that your head, specifically your brain, is keeping you from sleeping ... not something physical, but something ethereal. I think you need someone in the bed with you, and you would sleep better, if not through the night."
"And whom would you suggest we get to sleep with me, or do I even need to ask?" She broke into the sweetest smile I ever remember on her face.
"My suggestion has nothing to do with sex, absolutely nothing! My brain has processed, that your problem started just after your husband's tragic death. You went from having someone to love, who was in your bed, to losing the only person you ever loved."
"I wonder ... if your brain misses the fact that you have nobody to love, so it's causing you to have these sleeping problems. I know it sounds a little crazy, but I'm only looking out for my big sister here, who I love so much, that I would offer myself, fully clothed, on top of the covers, but in the same bed as you, as an experiment, to see it your brain can re-boot itself so to speak, into thinking that you're at peace and are able to sleep!"
"You're serious aren't you?"
"As a heart attack, Mags!"
"You would sleep in the same bed, but completely clothed and on top of the covers, while I sleep as I normally would?"
"Yeah, Maggie ... what do you think?"
"I think that you are doing this whole thing in an attempt to get into your sisters bed, and ultimately, in her pants as well!" she declared.
"Fine! I'll go and I'll see you in the morning, Good night Maggie!"
I grabbed my suitcase and headed for the front door.
I'd expected Maggie to say something before I walked out the door ... but she didn't! So I threw my suitcase in my car and left. I don't know how I found my way home, considering I bawled my eyes out the whole way, not having a clue about what do to next.
My personal life had been rather hectic before Maggie and I became friends again, but I had stopped pursuing any other women, hoping that Maggie and I might become closer, possibly intimate.
There ... I've said it! I wanted to ... make love to my sister — gosh that sounds so bad when you say it to yourself, like that.
Maybe Maggie was right in her assessment of the goal of my experiment, but I thought I had her best interests at heart! I went over to my computer and looked up Sleep Apnea. I hadn't looked at it very much, since back when Ruthie and Becca told me that they had it.
Ruthie caught it early enough, and they found she had 'Central Sleep Apnea' which is helped by a relatively new set of drugs. Becca has 'Obstructive Sleep Apnea, ' where there is an actual blockage to her airway. She wears a device to sleep that 'keeps her breathing' during the night.
Not knowing how often Maggie checks her email, I sent her a link to the American Sleep Apnea Association website. Maybe she can help herself out, without me.
My phone rang, I saw it was Maggie, but I pushed the ignore button. She tried back a couple more times, but I decided to use a tough love technique called, not answering the phone!
I fell asleep at the computer; I guess I'm the opposite of sleep deprived ... I can fall asleep sitting down, laying down; I even caught myself asleep, leaning in the doorway of my own bedroom once.
I woke up suddenly, not because of any sound ... but something told me that Maggie was in trouble. I can't begin to explain it, but I stepped into my shoes, threw on my coat and drove as quickly as I could to her home.
I knocked on the door, but there was no answer, so I used the key Maggie gave me to get inside. I found Maggie lying on her sofa. I checked, and there was a pulse, but it was very shallow. I shook her to wake her up, and she groggily said, "Randy, oh my god ... you're home!"
"No, Maggie, it's not Randy, it's Jeff ... your brother, are you all right?" She became more alert and sat up.
"Jeff, what are you doing here?" she seemed annoyed.
"Maggie, I woke up with a feeling of dread, that something was wrong with you, so I got over here and I found you on the sofa. Did you take something to help you sleep?"
"Yeah, Jeff ... I found some pills in the bathroom cabinet, and I took three. I slept real well, but my head feels a little bit fuzzy."
"Where's the bottle?"
"In the bathroom, Jeff! Calm down, everything's OK!"
I looked at the bottle and it was five years out of date. It had been prescribed for Randy, and had too many syllables in it to pronounce.
"Did you take anything with this, Mags? It's important!"
"Noo, Jeff ... I thought it was a sleeping pill, it looked like a sleeping pill to me."
"Maggie, this is a very strong prescription, written for Randy, for him to take after he got home. It is very powerful and it is way out of date. How many did you take?"
"Uhhmm, three maybe?"
"For sleeplessness, you probably should have only taken a half of one of these. That would have been plenty to help you sleep. Ohh, Maggie ... why did I leave you alone last night, I should've never left you alone — If I hadn't come in right now, you could've died, and I'd have had to have stood over the casket of my beautiful sister."
I had started crying again through this speech, but I was so worried about her ... and all I wanted to do, was help her feel better.