The only peace you have is in the few seconds after the anaesthetic kicks in, and the many more it takes to give out. Once you’re lucid you become aware that you’re alive, safe, rested, and not all there. In a +++cold/bare+++ terror I slipped my hand under the covers to feel a bare leg. Not my leg, a bare leg, prickly with three day old hairs; someone else’s bare leg. It was dark in the room and I couldn’t see. In the veiled visage that darkness left me I traced timidly with my hands over the surface of the leg, looking for the sleeping giant it was connected to. Slowly as I traced the direction and felt the contours of what I deduced was a thigh, I realized that no other leg could sit at such an angle to me, but mine.
Grief operates in a roughly processual manner. Denial being the first of the five steps one undergoes on the road to acceptance. +++Find Kubler Ross Quote+++
I didn’t notice that I was crying until pain from the creases on my face pulled me back from the numbness of my legs. I couldn’t breathe. It was exactly like the time when my brothers and I were playing soccer in the early morning dew. I stole the ball from Jeremy and took off on a fast brake for Justin at the goal. My left leg swung back to kick the ball but i seemed to be carried back with it. Suddenly I was on my back in sharp pain suffocating.
I breathed in at last, a raspy pained gasp only to let it out again in agony. I knew all too well what this meant. In a fervor I kicked back, but there was nothing. I ran, I stomped, I jumped, I seized, frothing at the mouth against the inevitable truth. I was paralyzed. My eyes had adjusted and I could now make out the midnight blue and grey peaks and valleys of the rough white sheets in my bed. I flexed so hard my face ran hot with blood and my body shook like a struck bell, but the cotton cloth lay still and silent before me. Nothing would move.
Stained with indignation I sat back, my arms folded across my chest, trying to ignore it all. Trying to search for something else to think, but everything escaped me. I was trapped there in that anonymous room.
As if trying to surprise them I lunged forward at my legs, my arms flailing, aimed at boxing those useless stubs of flesh into submission. I wanted anything out of them, humid heat, slimy cold, an unforgiving itch, even pain. Suddenly, a spark pain. Before my hand had finished rearing back to hit what I had assumed would be a knee, my back erupted in an icy torrent of it. I tried, instinctively to throw myself back, but I fell forward, accelerating. The pain grew exponentially as I helplessly flew ever downward into those valleys of cloth. My arms behind me, I toppled face first into my lap, defeat, and pain unlike any I had previously known.
Sometime drop by a public swimming pool, and instead of jumping in immediately, just watch. Observe the people there and look for the new swimmers (they’re not hard to find) who are taking their first dip into the choppy sea. Watch how they convulse and thrash about looking for something, anything, to hold themselves up above the water. You still haven’t seen anything compared to me trying to get back up.
It all happened in slow motion. As I was falling and the pain creeping up from my back and around my trunk, and I kept saying to myself, “No, this is it, it can’t get any worse than this.” Yet at every inch I was proved wrong. I met the cotton valleys nose first and felt the apathetic, squishing sag of my thighs as my head was caught between them. It was a rare mix of unmatched anxiety, torturous burning, and acute abhorrence, being so suddenly face to face with my newfound burden. The abhorrence though, more than even the pain, was what made me scramble to get back up.
My every finger was outstretched and sending a sickly shutter down my arms, and up every tube connected to me as I pushed against the spongy mattress and heaved myself back against the flattened mass of pillows behind me. Frightened of movement though terribly relieved I sank back into the sweat dampened pillows gulping air and slowly sinking off to sleep on a sea of tears.