I think my wife is trying to kill me. There are seven steps from the living room to the bedroom and there are seven steps from the bedroom to the living room. Seven steps, seven opportunities to trip. Seven opportunities to stumble. Seven opportunities where a gentle push or pull could lead to disaster.
There is a light in the hall that, when on, illuminates the steps. It puts an end to the shadows that obscure the steps and make them less distinct.
And there’s her dog, the one she’s trained, a co-conspirator curled up at the bottom of the stairs. The dog is brown and white and blends quite well with its surroundings. Seven chances to go wrong and then quite unexpectedly, her dog, like a child’s toy that I don’t notice until I’m ready to take my last step.
I leave the hall light on day and night, one cannot be too careful. But my wife turns it off, even at night when it is most needed.
I’ve asked her to leave it on, but she thinks it’s not really necessary. But I need it, I could slip, I could stumble, I could misstep and take a nasty fall. I could break a bone. I could even die. I would lie at the bottom of the stairs, maybe merely crumpled or perhaps completely dead. She would find me and say, you should have turned on the light. You could have avoided this accident. Or if I were dead, she would wouldn’t need to say anything.
“Turn on the light if you need to go down the stairs at night,” she says. But the switch is near the top of the stairs, and one could trip reaching for it in the dark. I think it’s better to leave it on.
But not her, she thinks I’m being silly. “You don’t think I’m trying to kill you,” she says, “do you?”