So last New Year I was resolute to get back to my fighting weight. Forty pounds later, I feel fit as a fiddle and strong as a banshee.
Since I am indeed trapped on this island with very little mainland time in sight, for this year's resolution I've decided the best thing to do is make the best of my situation. When Mum had her stroke it took all of my time. When my sister died it took away all of my drive.
I suppose it is time to get both back, and use them to my advantage. I've picked up some of my old work, writing that's been put down on an end table and forgotten. Hopes and dreams set aside while Mum relearned to walk and talk again...
Here be chapter 1. Anybody remember Walter?
--The Lights Were Off, The Lights Were On--
Waking from a coma was much easier than all of just about everything I ever did.
My lights had been turned “off” and then, my lights were simply “on” again.
It was like the-time-before-me and the-time-after-I-am-gone had been here for me all along. One moment I wasn’t aware of anything, and then as suddenly as I was gone, I was close to being me again.
I mean, first there was me and then there was no me and then there was me and I‘m here again. You wake from sleep and you’re not surprised. You wake from a coma and you surprise everybody but yourself.
I had come from absolute nothingness to lying here with the hospital abuzz all around me.
Nurses in shifts cleaned me roughly around my private parts and welcomed me back. Some reporter came and took my picture. She called me a hero.
They all did.
“You’re a hero,“ they all said while I just nibbled and swallowed.
I really had to blink my eyes at what I had woken to become. I got stomped and trampled by a dozen pair of biker boots is what they tell me and I’m a hero? Imagine that? Three and a half months in a coma and in that dark and silent space you’d think I’d have bumped into some oblique understanding of life’s basic profundities? Yet here I am, dumbfounded by a compliment on my second waking day? It’s all a mishmash. Who knew it would all become a mishmash?
Who knew I could get so angry, and “do” those things I think I remember?
I certainly didn’t. Like those retroviruses that emerge under stressful conditions, apparently, I always had it in me.
“You really had it in you,” one of the reporter people said.
Boy oh boy. I can’t believe I did all the things I think I remember. I took on a gang of men all by myself. I stormed into a gang of men and demanded their respect. I did not turn my cheek. I did not roll over. I did not let them push me around. I stood up to a huge and hairy, nasty mob of enormous men- I spoke up and I defended myself and those around me who were suffering too. Yeah. I did that and I’m a hero.
I did other things too. Lots of other things. Lots and lots and lots of other things. Wow. Yeah. Every time I think about it, I did some more.
The end of me is down there wriggling beneath a hospital sheet. I suppose it’s my beginning too? That’s where I start and stop. My beginning and my end. It’s where I come into being or disappear. Those are my feet. After that, there isn’t much left of me in that general direction. I suppose I could say that my footprints are some of me? If that’s the case, then my feet are near the start of me, but I go on and on. My head must be where I begin then, if that‘s the case? My head that holds my brain and all my thoughts? Sure. That could be where I begin? I think therefore I must be me. I have a thought, and it begins me, and my feet leave footprints in the world and I leave me everywhere I go. My lights are off. My lights come on. I can wriggle my toes.
You can’t blame me for my way of thinking. I’ve got nowhere else to go. As I try to remember, I remember many things that seem like someone else. I remember deep, dark, gray, elongated days that seem to drain in circles. I remember nights of angst and emptiness and sleeping by myself. I remember the roar of the crowds when the lions were let loose upon the cold, dispassionate world. The malice in the angry cries of those lions as they roared at the mean-spirited crowds who jeered them on.
I remember I stood there naked and trembling with my little brittle stick pointing out the not-so-brittle man who did me harm. I remember crying “Momma” when I should have stood my ground. I remember peeing through my pants in one warm gush in front of a thousand laughing children’s eyes.
It troubles me. All of it. I mean, I can’t be sure too much of anything.
I was trampled after all. And they say I’m a hero.