When I woke, I was baffled in the muzzy, not on all thrusters’ way that one is upon waking. I just couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to lift my head. Then I realized it was because I wasn’t in bed with my face on my pillow. I was lying on my living room floor and my cheek was stuck and sticky on the hardwood.
I spent all day at work, trying like a maniac to clear my desk to have no worries for the weekend and daydreaming about the evening. I scurried home to clean and do dishes and to shower, then went to a little style shop close by to get my hair done because I wanted to look my best for our first face to face. I carefully applied my makeup, praying that I could disguise the strain that is showing around my eyes and mouth from the stress of the last week. You hit a snag with your passport and we’d both had several sleepless nights over that.
I put on new underwear – matching, a luxury I rarely indulge in and a new dress, that I can ill afford. Stupidly, I bought you flowers. I had it in my head that no woman had done that for you and I wanted to be the first. So when you finally decided to allow me to know what was going on – after my several texts, many calls to you through the day – it was 4:30 or so.
The time that you said you’d be landing at Heathrow.
When I jumped out of my chair to grab my phone, jumped because I’d been running on adrenaline and excitement all day, what I was expecting was you saying “Here safe and sound baby.” I had been in the middle of searching the taxi schedule to surprise you with my bravery and with my stupid flowers.
Instead, what I got was a text to say you weren’t coming. You never even got on the plane.
Have you had a panic attack? Of course you have. You mentioned it a few times in the last couple days. That feeling of terror and disorientation? The roar of an ocean pushing against your eardrums? Of howling loss the week before when you were held back at the gate? The fear and the wish to die that you told me you felt? Just like that, only it wasn’t circumstance or a crazy stranger that caused it for me. No. It was you. You made me feel like this on purpose.
No warning, no discussion. Just “I’m not coming.”
And that’s what happened. Panic. The ground opened up and it was like I was on a runaway elevator, the faster it fell the hotter I got. Staring and staring at those words, while my eyes were trying to push out of their sockets as the symptoms started, as the heat built up from my feet to my head, and the intense pressure. I was dizzy and disoriented, I dropped my phone and fell, trying to hold back what would have been vomit if I’d eaten anything all day. Thank god I didn’t, I had been too excited and busy. When I fell, the tears were starting and my heart had started to race and skip, wanting to jump track like a runaway train, I could feel the pressure in my head get worse. My nose started to bleed, all over my new dress. I panicked as the drops fell faster, and then started to stream. I ran the back of my hand over my nose, in a vain attempt to stem the flow, got blood all over the bouquet. I wasn’t actually very aware of all of that because I was tying to wrap my head around grief that was like broken glass in my guts that you were pounding with a baseball bat, gasping for air because I couldn’t even cry, my body was so pulled into itself that the tears couldn’t get out… and then I fainted.
I came to on the floor, stuck to the floor in a mess of blood, snot, and tears and crushed flowers.
Roses. I’d chosen a bouquet of three each of red, white, pink and yellow; passion, purity, perfect happiness and friendship. A kaleidoscope of meaning and intent… They looked how I imagine a bird of paradise in flight might look, when I threw them off the balcony…
Excerpt from “A Grain Of Truth ~ Book Two by Karin Bole Tupper