There is a world of infinite space. It stretches on into forever, yet takes up no space at all. It reaches all the way back to my earliest moments, and extends all the way out past anything I’ve ever seen or experienced. I have been spending most of my time there this week.
I don’t remember the babysitter’s name, but I remember her house. The front room had the good furniture in it. Curtains drawn in the daytime. You got the idea that no one ever sat there unless there was company. I wasn’t company, but every day I had to lie in that darkened room on the couch and pretend to take a nap. That’s when I’d pull a bobby pin out of my blonde hair and make it be a person who explored the tufts of the couch and climbed steep knee-hills only to plummet off the other side. The back room was where the babysitting took place. Quartered oranges for snacks. Mr. Potato Head. Romper Room. Children chewing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut in triangles. Once there was a fire in the kitchen and the firemen came. I had to go in a back bedroom with the daughter of the house, who had a broken leg, and she taught me to play War with a deck of cards.
Is this a circle being completed?
Sometimes the hours stretch on unendingly. Other times I look up, blink, and a whole hour has passed. I can’t tell about time anymore. My world has gone deep, deep. I speak words but they are just a wee slice of the vast spectrum of thought inside me, sometimes so much smaller than the thought they connect to that I just leave the thought inside. Speaking takes energy anyway. There is much less energy these days.
In fact, energy is at a premium around here.
I weigh options. Going up the stairs to the bathroom vs the discomfort of sitting downstairs, holding it. Five minutes of catching up with a friend on Facebook vs closing my laptop in silence. Asking for a chair at the bank vs. standing at the teller window trying to lean my weight on the counter and hoping my legs don’t give out. Sending Soulmate to the bank instead of me going at all. Spending days completely inside the house because walking just to the corner takes so long, tiny wee steps like Tim Conway’s LIttle Old Man on the Carol Burnett Show. Saying anything, doing anything at all other than lying on the couch playing BubbleXplode on my iPhone because everything else is Just Too Hard.
A conundrum: What does a person who is COMPELLED to express, convey, share, and exchange — who lives for this and dies cell by cell when she can’t — do when the expression, conveyance, sharing, and exchange is just So Much Work?
Explode, maybe? After a certain amount of time?
My head hurts. In my world, this is Not A Good Thing. It means the weeds are on the march in my brain, pushing brain against skull. I thought it was a detox headache for a few days. Like caffeine withdrawal. But it didn’t go away, so there is a doctor and an appointment, and Monday late-morning could be a rush of MRI, hospital admitting, punching holes in skulls to relieve pressure, head shaving.
And my first thought, my FIRST thought, to all this is: WHAT ABOUT MY HAIR?
I know, right? Hair? Compared to … I don’t know … LIVING? Should I be concerned about this? But I just bought henna, my mind said. Two boxes. Do I get to use it? Will it grow back? Will my man love me?
Once I would have cried to think about losing my hair, or about how adorable Miss Kitty is with her delicate white paws, or about how exquisitely beautiful the leaves are in the evening when the sun is setting and the sky comes alive with pink and gold, but not now. It’s too much work.