Living with obsessive compulsive disorder can be a curse. But it’s become such a normalcy in my life over the years I rarely break down into an existential crisis anymore.
I shut the cabinet door three times after pulling a bag of tea from the cupboard.
I dipped the bag into the mug three times, ensure each time it was fully submerged.
One… two… three
I blew on the surface of the brown liquid to cool it.
One… two… three
You guessed it, three quick sips.
My repeating loops were pretty textbook, I couldn’t disrupt the sequence, or I’d have to start the count all over.
After I had my morning tea, I made my way back upstairs, ascending and descending the steps three times, to wake up my wife Gale. I rolled her wheelchair next to the bed and lifted her from the mattress to the chair, chair to the mattress, mattress to the chair. She wasn’t too fond of this process but loved me all the same. I was fortunate to have such an understanding partner, I know my disorder can be tedious.
She smiled up at me as I gave her three quick pecks on the forehead. I rolled her wheelchair to the top of the stairs and started to help her into the chair lift on the side railing when I lost my footing. Gale screamed out in terror as she was sent violently toppling down the steps. I quickly rushed down, back up, down, back up and then down before scooping her into my arms. She was crying out in pain, a bone fragment protruding from her wrist where she’d caught herself on the hardwood floors in the foyer.
“I’m so sorry Gale!” I cried as I began carrying her back up the stairs.
“John, stop… what are you doing?” She wept.
I paused at the top of the steps. I’m sorry, I mouthed to her as tears streamed down my face. I then rolled her back down the steps. She went toppling head over feet before smacking her face at the bottom.
I repeated the process, crying out in agony. This time she was barely conscious when I got her limp body back to the top, her face a bloody ruin.
“I’m so sorry…”
I couldn’t help myself, I had to complete the loop.