I wrote this story around the time I started my self-actualization research and project. I had an unfortunate encounter with my then-tween son, which spurred my imagination and need to sit in front of the computer and type out what I was feeling.
For days, every time I tried to read or revise it, the tears would just stream down my face. I’m not usually one to cry, so I wanted to know what the heck was wrong with me. That’s when I realized the story I felt so compelled to write was the story I needed to read. It’s a very sad, but honest, depiction of where I felt I was in my own life – strapped to a bed and strangled with luxurious bedding.
It always astounds me when I can let something I’ve written sit and rest for weeks, or in this case, months, then pick it up and feel the exact emotions as if I were writing it all over again. I hope you will take a few moments to read and comment on the story as I share it publicly for the first time today.
Fresh linen sheets drape across my torso as I lie pinned to my chamber of plague. My head rests in comfort on the sterilized pillowcase, beautifully unhinged from the wilted soul it was once connected. The quiet and bare appearance of my room reminds me of the solo journey I am destined to take through another cycle of the sun. The only solace is in the luxury of the threads – heavy enough to cradle, yet light enough to let me breathe.
It’s been three days since anyone has uttered more than ten words to me. One of them walks by the main frame, passing me on their way to the kitchen. Cabinet doors open and close. The sink turns on, then off. The refrigerator opens, and I hear a faint crackle of a container breaking. A microwave hums. The clink of cutlery hits the metal sink. The fridge door snaps shut and footsteps cross my path, headed towards the home office.
The motion around me seldom stops; I stay in the same spot. Swaddled in fabric, waiting for release, the clock is no longer necessary. Time is known by the routine sounds of each passing day. A loud slam is heard as the morning light peeks through thin curtains. Pills rattle. Feet scuffle. Warm, woeful hands attempt to comfort my silhouette.
After awhile, the front latch eases. The knob squeaks, turns, and a burst of energy passes through the threshold. Three voices enjoy dinner and talk amongst themselves, as if in another world. I can’t always hear the words, but I feel the love at the table. And, I sense the sadness in their stride as they walk across the floor of my wing.
My son used to be the first to visit. When I was still strong we played games, read books and talked about the future. He told Knock, Knock jokes and I laughed. We depended on one another.
Almost overnight, he went from a little boy to becoming a man and growing into himself. He was officially a teenager. Though I missed the party, he visited before bedtime. He informed me of the fun he shared with friends, the decorated cake from our local bakery, and the present he saved to open in front of me. As he went to untie the ribbon from the box, he saw my body twitch. Uncomfortable by the movements of my disease he shook his own body in fear, threw the box on the floor, stood to his feet and lashed out, “Why won’t you just die? It’s not fair. Make it go away.”
Weeks later, I remember the scene like it happened only moments ago. Still unable to make the pain disappear, I turn my face into the pillow, hoping my air flow is constricted enough to grant his wish. If only I had the answer to his question, everything would be okay. Mommy would make it okay. I’m sure of it. But, there is no answer and nothing I can do. Except wait for time to end.
Freed from my inertia, I hear quick and excited footsteps making their way towards my door. Tonight, my spirited little girl has the leading role in her musical. Dressed in costume, she runs to my bedside and shouts, “Oh, mommy, I wish you could be there. Daddy will record it so you can hear me sing later, okay? I love you. I’ll miss you.” As she lays her head to my chest, I hope she feels the warmth of my love. Good luck, baby girl.
In the darkness of the night, a tall, slender male enters the space so I’m no longer alone. I feel a light touch on my wrist and a stroke of affection sweep across the top of my hand. My lips turn at their edges and the sides of my eyes crease enough to wrinkle. The recorded melodies of my daughter’s performance play in the background. The balcony door of my room is open and the breeze blows against my sheets. They wrap my body in a lavish cocoon of confinement. I embrace the infirmness and sleep.