Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I'm sitting at Starbucks, a grande decaf skim latte burning my tongue, glad for a place beyond my apartment to write and edit. I'm at the surgery section of the book but my eyes keep tearing up as I read what you all wrote me. The well-wishes, prayers and way to go's mean so much that I have to look away to stop myself from crying. It's hard to go back to that place, that hospital room, the pills, the pain, but I see more and more how alone I was not. You were all there with me. The tears I hold back now are those of gratitude that have helped to wash away those of retroactive fear and pain. Thank you. So much. You will never know how much you mean to me.
Monday, September 19, 2011
I inhale deeply, my lungs thick with mucus and crying for oxygen, but the forced air brings on a coughing fit that leaves me wincing and clutching my throat with a cold hand in hopes that it might bring down the swelling I can feel growing in my trachea.
Two Advil found their way into me, summoned to fight the headache that I can't quite identify: sinus or fragile skull; I'm not sure. Yesterday I tried combining one Advil and one Wal-phed (for which I had to sign a waiver promising not to make meth), but I didn't feel a difference in snot-output, so I gave up.
Today is Day Three of my first cold of the season. No idea where I got it from since I'm often quite isolated, but colds are funny that way - if they want to find you, they will. Now I lie in my bed, mind foggy and eyelids drooping, and contemplate the fact that I need a job, though I'm inwardly glad that I'm allowed a guilt-free sick day today.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
I glanced at the bird and flower collage clock - 9am - and a nagging feeling came over me; I was supposed to do something. But what? I thought back: today is Wednesday, I'm going to lunch at 11:30, but no, that's not it... I have to move my car! I jumped up, beelined to my keys that sat on the kitchen table and ran out of my apartment still clad in red plaid boxers and an old tattered tshirt from John's fraternity, my hair sticking straight up, clearly illustrating that I sleep on my right, and my face still greasy, mirroring every object I passed as if my nose were covered in glass. I clutched my head, cursing myself for the jostling caused by my comical half-jog and promising to take two Advil when I got back. The morning air was cold, reminding me that the season changed last Friday, dropping to the seventies after our final Thursday in the hellish nineties.
Speedwalking toward my car at the end of the street, I checked the other three mis-parked cars to see if they had yet gotten tickets on street sweeping day. No yellow envelopes were folded in half and shoved through the crack in car doors, impossible to miss next to the driver's handle. Hope welled inside of me, maybe the Enforcers hadn't come yet, maybe I could keep my twenty five dollars... Joy spread shamelessly through my body as I reached my beat up silver Sebring: no ticket. I thanked the parking gods and jumped in, NPR coming through my speakers when I turned the key and shifted into drive. Five cars sped by before I was able to turn right onto the one-way at the end of my street that bordered the North end of the park. Ten feet later I pulled into a safe parking spot with a two hour limit; more than enough to get me through a shower, bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats and the rest of my emails.
Of course I saw an empty parking spot completely legal and right across the street from the door to my building, but I didn't care enough to trek back to my car and move it again. My body contemplated a shiver as I passed a man out walking his great dane. His eyebrows rose as he took in my pajamas and spiky hair and offered a smiling "good morning" as he saw the keys in my hand, making the connection between my haggard appearance and the parking sign behind me. "Good morning," I answered, and it was good: I hadn't gotten a ticket.
Friday, September 2, 2011
All of a sudden the seasons have changed. The air on the patio of the Starbucks at King Sooper's carries a chill as it swirls gently toward my cold nose. I people watch the shopping carts in the parking lot, guessing what my neighbors are having for dinner as my lattte cools - the first hot drink I've ordered in a while. Goosebumps rise on my arms and legs, bringing to mind the freezer section of the grocery store I'm about to enter.
After months of heat that leave me weak and lightheaded, I'm glad for the crisp air that awakens my senses and sharpens my mind.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Tomorrow at ten I'm getting my hair cut. It's gotten so long, I can hardly believe it. The scar that used to part my scalp like Moses parted the Red Sea is grown over with dark brown curls that trip over each other, bobbing up and down as I walk. I stood in front of the mirror tonight after I washed my face, a few forgotten droplets rolling down my cheeks. I ran my fingers over and through each ringlet until they looked teased and stood straight out, parallel to the floor. I stared, astonished, and remembered one night a week or two after the surgery, when my uneven hair mirrored the changes within me: half falling past my shoulders like it had for years and half still peach fuzz, new and growing, vulnerable yet protected. Mom sat on my bed as I played with my long hair and lamented it's inevitable loss. "But mom, look, it's so nice and long and pretty," I looked at her, pleading her to appreciate my plight, "it's gonna take forever to grow back."
"Well, let's see," she mused, ever the problem solver. "Hang on, I'll grab a ruler". She crawled to the edge of my bed and bounced off, a creaking sound following her as she walked down the hallway. Moments later, she returned with a ruler like the one I'd used in grade school math to draw straight lines. She held the wooden stick to my head and pulled one lock straight, telling me the measurement before switching to the other side and gently touching my hair without putting pressure on my fragile head. Not even half an inch yet. "Okay, if this is how long your hair has grown since January 24th, it'll take...", she paused, calculating in her head, "about two years."
"Two years??!!" Something shiny and girly sank inside of me.
I thought of that tonight, noticing how seven months can seem so long and so short at the same time. I remembered my mom sitting on my bed and it feels so far away. I saw her leaning on her elbow and looking lovingly at me, the way she did every night, and it made me miss her so much. I miss the time I had with my parents, the luxury of seeing them every day and basking in our love for each other. I miss the warm feeling I get when she hugs me, the assurance that no matter what, everything will be okay.
Today is September first; I'm not going home again until Christmas. I count the months on my fingers, my heart feeling just a little heavier with the passing of index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky. Four months. That's so far away. Mom, if you're reading this, I miss you.