I wish I felt more conviction and gusto in this moment. Instead I feel like I’m being dragged along the ground by a god damned deer, a topless woman (with a great bod and the power to create bolts of light from her hands), and an oyster. They are moving at the pace of a clydesdale horse that has already been pulling people in a drawn carriage through Times Square for three days straight with no feed bag or water. It’s the type of dragging where my arms are crossed over my chest, and my body – torso to feet – are tied in rope with my head and shoulders taking all the grit and friction. And if that sounds ridiculous, what’s even more so is that they don’t even know why they are dragging me or where the fuck they are going! So, it’s like the three of them got together, showed up at my house with some rope, walked in the door without knocking and said “let’s just do this peacefully.” Unlike a hasty kidnapping, this twisted amicable moment of starting off begins like a procession, and we all know: it’s just going to be like this for a while…
The truth is I invited these archetypal fuckers into my house quite willingly. In fact, they are the only thing that gives me solace these days. Where before they have been a beautiful ocean that I gaze upon from a beach, receiving spiritual reflection and mythical wisdom, now they are a life boat that I cling to as the oceans raging waves crash upon me, and I pray to them for strength so I can keep going and not drown. I have always believed that the cards choose you and, these days, they do so more than I have ever believed.
I suppose it goes without saying that the metaphorical “situation” I’m in has me feeling worn down, captive and desperate. What fascinates me is that I don’t feel the need to escape or revolt. I’m almost eager to snuggle in and patiently wait. Noticing my disposition makes me wonder what kind of person I am. It’s hard to distinguish if I’m being wise and patient or if I know what it means to have self-respect, and if I’ve ever know what it means to live; or ever will. Regardless of the answer the voice inside of me, that says I’m running out of time and need to act now, has me desperately grasping for something that will make the events of the past year (and really my whole life) feel like they were in service of something, and not some senseless accident. In my desperation, I now pray to these cards. As I shuffle each deck I ask for strength, I ask for answers. Then, one by one, I reveal them and I listen to what they have to say. That’s how a deer, a topless “light bolting” woman, and an oyster have anything to do with what I’m writing right now. This is what they said to me:
A year before the god damned deer, topless woman and oyster “showed up at my door” it was half past midnight and I was working at my desk, still in the clothes I had worn on my run on that hot “Indian summer” evening. I was opportunistically working on a big project and waiting up for my husband who was out with co-workers after dinner. I was in a trance-like flow as I designed pixels on the screen when my part of my mind started to think it had been a while since I had gotten his text that he was on his way home. It took a few more moments for my brain to bail off it’s creative wave so I could look at my phone. I pick it up and notice that it’s been an hour since his text. Then I notice I have a missed phone call and I’m wondering why my phone didn’t ring. At the top of the list of missed calls is a number I don’t recognize. I call the number back and get the answering service for Harborview Medical Center, which I assume is the medical clinic next to my husbands office that he’d been trying to call me from because his cell phone has no charge and he needs a ride home. Why didn’t my phone ring? I hang up and try his cell phone. No answer. I call the unrecognized number back. This time someone picks up. My mind is trying to figure out why nobody picked up the first call as I start to explain that “I got a call from this number.” I don’t recall what the conversation what after that, I only remember them saying that my husband had been hit by a car and was in the ER. As I’m typing this, my body is remembering the sensation of trembling and panic that came over me. Now I’m sobbing, I can barely breathe and I’m going in circles between the office, bedroom and kitchen as if I’ll be able to collect the parts of myself that have just exploded as I try to process with this person on the phone what’s happened to my husband and where he is. I make the person on the phone give me the exact address of the hospital. I hang up. What do I do? I call my sister. Despite being the middle of the night in San Francisco, she picks up after the first ring. I’m so surprised and relieved. I’m shaking and hysterical and I tell he what’s happened. She asks me if she should fly up and I say I don’t know. She says she’s coming. I say “ok.” Then I call my parents house where it must have been four-thirty in the morning. My dad picks up after the first ring. How is this possible? In hindsight it makes perfect sense because my dad is the type of person who is always up at 4 am. I tell him what’s happened, I don’t remember what we say, but I tell him my plan and that I’ll call with an update as soon as I can. Things are frantic inside of me and I’m not sure how to function. All I know is that I need to put on clean clothes and I can’t drive. I call a Lyft and start to change my clothes.
I get in the Lyft and call Jason.
Jason had moved in with us three years prior, for what was going to be a few months until he got settled and found his own place. When I reach him that night he hadn’t been in his place for more than a few weeks. I tell him what has happened and then I say “I need you to meet me as the hospital.” What kind of way is that to ask someone for help? I’m befuddled. What would I have done if none of them picked up the phone?
When the Lyft pulls up to the Emergency entrance at Harborview, Jason is standing outside. I can’t believe he’s gotten there so quickly and my brain is trying to figure out time. How long was I in the Lyft? Did Jason walk here? As I get out of the car I realize that I’m numb and all I’m capable of is taking action, and as fast a possible. I want Jason to understand everything I’m feeling, but I can’t feign any emotion. I rush toward him, hug him in a way that feels more like body slam and then ricochet toward the ER entrance. There’s a mini “security” set up in the lobby that looks like something from a small airport and I can’t handle it. I want to scream at everyone within earshot (and beyond) that nobody who gets a call about their spouse being in the ER because they were hit by a car should ever have to endure this fucking false pretense of “security.” I yell about a million other rants in my head as I angrily peel and slam personal articles in bins and attempt to get through the metal detector like a squirrel crossing the street each time the guard interrupts my advance. Jason and I finally get through the security checkpoint. I have only vague recollections of “checking in” with someone and not having to sit very long before someone called my name to come back into the ER. I stand up, I turn back and look at Jason and tell him I want to go in alone. I can’t explain the look in his eyes. He nods. I turn the other way and head toward the person who called my name whose body and foot are wedged between the double doors of the ER.