twenty two (x365: the revival)
For those who don’t know, this blog is one of many I’ve kept over the years…starting back during my days on MySpazz. When I left the Spazz, I started a blog called tales from mid-air, which I loved…but then I shut it down for some reason I can’t quite remember.
In any case, during that time, I stumbled across this site called x365 (that no longer exists, sadly). Here’s what it was about, in the creator’s own words–that I included on a long ago blog post:
“This started with one guy who wanted to mark turning 40 in a cool and meaningful way, now people all over the world are making a list of 365 people they’ve met during the course of their lives – people who left an impression and whose name they remember – then they’re randomly writing a set number of words about someone on their list. They’re doing this once a day – for a year.”
In any event, I was strolling along nostalgia lane–which is a total normal thing for me–and came across some of my old posts. I remember how healing it was to write these things and how I never finished my 365. I think I’m going to start again. I’m not 40 and not one to write with rules, so I won’t be following the word counts. And some of the original ones I wrote have changed as my relationships with people changed.
I thought I’d share one of the ones I wrote back in 2008, which hasn’t changed and likely never will.
Your eyes sliced through my life, piercing the morning and skewering everything I thought I knew before that day. I had been asleep up until then, and you woke me up…shook me so hard, I didn’t need gravity to fall.
I never wanted to meet you.
I wonder sometimes if you knew what was happening to me that day. You looked at me with your sad, unwavering eyes like a man who had seen way too much. Pretty soon, I had adopted that same stare.
It was always you. You with someone else. Every time. It didn’t matter what time of day.
I remember the first time I ever called for you. It was day after she was first released from the hospital. They still didn’t know everything. We didn’t know we were living on borrowed time. Not yet. No one had given us percentages for survival. Not yet. Not quite.
The day before, I brought this new stranger home to a place that was both mine and not mine–some strange carnival ride of what is this fell into my lap. And I lost it. In front of her. My eyes wide, I cried and said, “I can’t do this. I need help.” And I wished for you, then.
She cried for you. She no longer felt safe in rooms filled with quilts. She needed lime jello and painkillers and IVs to feel protected from the awful boogeyman in her chest. She was so afraid that her chest clamped down on her lungs and stole their air. So, I called for you. “She can’t breathe. She hurts.”
I hadn’t even finished “hurts” before I heard your wail ramble down our block. I wanted to wail with you. Instead, I held her shoes.
In moments, she was somewhere beyond me–back to your world–where she stayed mostly those two months. You told me to bring my keys and close the door. The neighbors stared. And I sat next to you in your rig. I watched Alameda and Bannock blur by. I held her hand in the ER and walked in the darkness of Broadway once she was admitted late that night.
After her death, I left that place. I went somewhere she had never known. It was mine–a new start, a place to forget. Ironically, it was blocks away from nearly every hospital in Denver. Late at night, I’d hear the sounds of sirens whirling through the neighborhood–just like tonight, and last night. I’d wonder if it was you. Once, after working past midnight, just months after, I walked up my block from Colfax. I saw the lights and your familiar silhouette. An old woman had collapsed. And you waved. I pretended I didn’t know you.
It’s not that I didn’t want to wave back. It wasn’t because I disliked you. A part of me was comforted by the fact that it was you, in fact. A part of me was forever tethered to you. A part of me would never be able to put words to the gratitude I had for you. But I wanted to forget. For just one day, I wanted my tears to be about my shitty job that kept me past midnight. I wanted it to be about anything except a sick woman who couldn’t breathe.
I often wonder if you remember me. Am I the woman who held her mother’s shoes? Do you mourn her like I do? Do you remember her John Kerry pin and her scared, pale eyes? Do you remember her spunk and how brave she was? Do you dream about sirens and green oxygen tanks like I do?
It’s not that I’m not grateful you were there. I just wish I didn’t know you. I wish I never met you.