“It was the entire school,” he repeated on that October day. And then, softer, “What if I remember more?”

I considered this. It took more than a decade for the emergence of his recollections to plateau, and I thought of our life stretched out for another 10 years, and then 10 more after that, dealing with this issue in perpetuity. Instead of anger or hatred or an urge to leave, I imagined a lifetime of my husband bolting straight up in the early morning hours and me coaxing him to breathe, assuring him he’s okay.

“If you remember more, I will believe you, and your family will believe you, and your friends will believe you, and we will figure it out together,” I said in my now-practiced whisper. I set my keys on the table, hung my coat on the back of a kitchen chair, and crawled up into the nook under Trav’s arm, nodding against his chest.

I know that this couch moment will pass, that it will never be as bad as those first early and uncertain days. I am grateful that “I” is now a solid community of “we” because now, most nights, instead of waking to sounds of Trav thrashing himself alert, I wake to find that at some point in those early morning hours, my husband’s hand has reached across our bed’s center pillow to rest on my waist.

Shonna Milliken Humphrey is a writer based in Maine.

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