There’s no easy way to say this – I think I’m dead. I know I tend to be a pessimist – glass half empty or whatever – but I do think that I’ve passed on to the other side. It’s because I’m having difficulty moving my legs. I’m trying to move my left leg and then my right leg but nothing doing – just not happening. Then again, maybe I’m just paralyzed – that’s seeing the glass half full, isn’t it? Perhaps I’m morphing into becoming an optimist. That would be a switch after my 50 plus years on the planet. They say that you come into the world with certain attributes, characteristics, things that make you uniquely you. There are theories about that, nature or nurture, but I’m firmly of the opinion that I came into this world like this.
In my family, I was always the last to dip my toe into the water at the beach and the last one to get out of the water when Muzzy called us in for lunch. I wasn’t the smartest one in my class and not the prettiest but I always got okay grades and had a couple of close friends that I could always count on. Being the middle child had its challenges, like when my older brother George tried to stretch me with one of his buddies using a technique that I believe they call the modified rack, an instrument of medieval torture, now banned for obvious reasons. Or when my sister Cath could devour a double fudge sundae with Oreo cookie sprinkles on top without even thinking about the calories and never even got one zit afterwards. Sure, that hurt but mostly my sibs and I get along pretty well.
And now I’m having trouble moving my left arm. It’s just pretty much lying there like a loaf of day-old bread on the shelf that nobody wants. Speaking of which, my bread-making skills have really taken off. I think my sourdough starter is strong now and my Banneton bread proofing baskets have given my loaves a very professional look. Of course, I’ve been monitoring how much bread I eat, that’s what that app is for, but I give a lot of the bread to Cath and the kids and of course, Muzzy when she was still eating., I just love to cook and bake; that’s been my downfall and also my greatest joy. But unlike Cath I just have to look at a piece of cake and to quote Joan Rivers: I don’t know whether to eat that cake or apply it directly to my hips.
Now my right arm is acting kind of funny too, like I can’t move it at all so it’s joined my other limbs in this permanent dormant state. I feel like a sack of potatoes lying here like this. I have a great recipe for potatoes au gratin with blue cheese, the really lovely cheese that I get at the Saturday market from that sweet couple from New Jersey. That recipe is super rich and I don’t think I’d want to enter the number of calories into my app. What’s the point, it takes all of the enjoyment out of it don’t you think? But I’ve been good at entering every single thing that passes my lips for over a year now. And, I’ve been good going to those meetings that I thought would be a crock of shit. Being with a bunch of fatties stepping onto those scales and the whole room clapping if you lose a pound or even more mortifying if you don’t. Like I said, I hate being the centre of attention. But actually, I found the meetings ok, better than ok, because I don’t feel like such a big fat loser. When the pounds started falling off, I began to feel something that I have never felt before in my entire life – slim. Slim is not a word in my lexicon that I have ever used in reference to myself. Not until now, of course. I love that I can go straight into a designer store and buy clothes right off the rack. I’ve never actually enjoyed shopping, but now I can fit into all kinds of cute things and I actually tried on a pair of Stella McCartney pants in size ten the other day, and they fit me like a glove. I’ve never spent that much on an article of clothing in my entire life, but hell, it was worth it. I’m in the best shape of my life. So why the hell can’t I sit up and have a sip of water?
I was out driving my scooter along the road by the river when the rain started. I had my handy dandy rain poncho, which was bright yellow, by the way. I don’t know how that car could have missed me, but the rain was falling pretty hard by then. I was racing to get home, and maybe I didn’t look both ways, but the car came out of nowhere, and before I realized what was happening, I was flying through the air. I guess I landed pretty hard because I don’t remember anything after that.
I don’t know how long I’ve been here in this hospital but I’m pretty sure it’s dark outside and I haven’t been home all day. My babies must be getting worried; they know I’m always home shortly after dark. Herman will be pacing around by the door crying and Hess will be perched on the window ledge looking for me to walk up the steps to the front door. I wish I could reach my phone to call my friend Janice to go over and feed the boys but I don’t even know where my arm is let alone my phone.
Shit, my throat is parched, and I could kill a cold crisp glass of Chardonnay right now with maybe a dozen or so Malpeque oysters on the side with lots of lemon and freshly grated horseradish. But I can’t seem to sit up or roll over or move my mouth or even open my eyes. But like I said, I’ve been working out, riding my bike a lot all through the streets of Brooklyn and I love discovering new neighbourhoods. For years I subscribed to Joan Rivers’ advice on exercise: I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor. Only in my case, it would have been a cappuccino from Gorilla Coffee or possibly a Krispy Kreme donut on the floor.
If this is the hereafter or heaven or worse, why am I not seeing any bright light, soft music, pearly gates, or anything that looks vaguely like what I imagine death to be like? And where are all the dead people that you’re supposed to meet after you die? I don’t see Lou, my dear dad whom we lost 15 years ago; I always looked forward to playing backgammon with you on the other side dad. I’d love to see Muzzy. It was really hard when she died last spring but most of all it was hard to see her decline. But no Muzzy, no Lou and no Heath Ledger here to greet me so does that mean I’m still alive? Even though I can’t move any of my limbs, open my eyes or speak, I think I can still hear. I’m pretty sure that I’m dead but if I can still hear, that’s a good sign, isn’t it? What are they saying now? “Asystole. I think we lost her. Time of death – 14:45”
Well, it’s not like everything completely stops. I can still see the nurses scurrying around even though I can’t make out what they’re saying. And that doctor with her hair all piled up on top of her head; she looks pretty worn out. I don’t know what comes next, but I’m already feeling a little lost here. It feels completely unfamiliar, although not that terrible. At least my head doesn’t hurt anymore, and I’m glad to be feeling less pain, no, make that no pain. There is a feeling of relaxation; yes, that’s it, like deep relaxation. Kind of like Savasana at the end of yoga class; that was always my favourite part of the class anyway. Corpse pose. Like my yoga teacher always says, just let go. I guess that’s kind of what it’s all about. I may not be the best yogi on the planet, I was never all that flexible, but I think I’m getting pretty good at this letting go business.
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Got me right in the feels. Even though I knew something bad had happened from the start, I still invested in your protagonist because of how real and emotionally compelling you made her. Cheers :)