June 24, 2012


I have, now, these days. By the pool, in the hot sun, the cool water, the chilled breeze. We flip pages, close our eyes, dangle our feet over the edge. The blue water, the blue sky, the concrete so reflective it's white, the puffy, white cumulus clouds. She opens the sun roof as we drive back; I have the wind in my hair, the Washington Monument to my right. White white against the blue blue sky. "I am one of the lucky ones," I breathe it in, breathe it out.

These days wash away - a dunk under water, face up to the new light - these days wash away the days past.

The sound of my car tires rolling down the driveway, driving away without me, for the first time, for the last time, for the only time. I watch from mid-driveway, back my way up to the garage stairs, sit for a moment with my face in my hands. Stacks of boxes teeter behind the house door, but everything in front of me is vacant. Empty and silent and oh so loud. Everything I didn't expect. Not this time.

The sandstone colored diamonds make up the recovery room floor. One-sixteenth a light white, a Caribbean beach color, and the rest a red-brown sandstone. I count them with my head between my knees, apologizing for my weakness, trying desperately not to become another patient. The caretaker, the patient, roles I'm not used to; I'm clumsy, afraid I'll break them. I almost do. Vasovagal syncope with a medical procedure trigger, the nurse tells us her daughter is the same way. I catch it in time, old hat by now, but I'm worried. If this is the first of many recovery rooms, if this is the first of many... I can't, I don't want to go further with that thought. Regardless, when the time comes - "when" because I'm facing the hourglass now, the draining sand, the time will come. When the time comes, how am I going to do this? How am I going to do this? Without going unconscious.

I leave the room to sit with the nurse in the hall and she's all "HIPAA, HIPAA, HIPAA" and I'm like "oh believe me, I know" because I've worked in four hospitals now and I start to laugh because of the irony of it all. The girl who can't remain conscious when faced with medical "stuff" has more hospitals on her resume than anything else. And the nurse and I laugh and I'm okay and it's all okay, it's all okay, and I guess this is how I will do this, when the time comes. I'll do it with help. I'll do it with kind souls. They'll let me be me and that part, that part will be okay.

I saw my afternoon snack and dinner, mid-digestion, Friday evening. After a day-long meeting and a pounding headache, and an hour nap I had no choice but to take, and the canceling of plans, and the first few bites of pizza, and her handing me a cold glass of water, it all came out. The packed boxes, the day at the hospital, the long ride back, the hot dc heat, the unanswered apartment search inquiries, the too-long work day, the suit with pockets full of dreams pulled from the back of my closet. It was all too much.

I spent the meeting drawing comparisons, measuring myself up. Tools for measuring: years, goals, vocabulary, wedding rings, linear regression models, articles published. All mine, only present in a lack there-of. Without, without, without. Sitting among idols, absorbing every. single. word. Sitting among idols, reaching, reaching, reaching. Always reaching. I toppled over, Friday evening. To my knees, quick and urgent. Before tucking myself into bed.

Saturday morning, wearing bed head and pajamas, we decide to go to the pool. I worry and then I stop. Sometimes, it's that simple. Pack a bag, with a book, sunscreen, towel, sunglasses. Climb into the back seat, the air conditioner and open window air roll over each other and through my hair. The pool water is blue and clear, the sky the same, the sun hot, the clouds white and puffy.

I have these days, now, that wash the rest of it away. Sometimes, it's that simple.

[sandra cisneros, the house on mango street.]


  1. I am swirling your words around in my head now. I particularly enjoyed "I am one of the lucky ones" as almost a mantra.

  2. it helps to read your words when you are too far away to give a hug.

  3. Your stream of consciousness format reminds me of the way I like to write... it's superbly satisfying isn't it? The best way to widen your inner channel.

    1. oh absolutely, completely, totally. i think it might be my favorite way to write.