Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting for time zones

My sister says not to book a panic ticket back to the States. My mother couldn't come to the phone at all yesterday.

I couldn't understand what to do with myself last night.

It doesn't feel like a board game, where you miniaturize yourself into a little pink or blue peg with a round head, as each space offers you a new car, a wife or husband, one to three children, a mansion or a shack. It seems more like I just keep moving one space ahead, and all the questions about why or how struggle inside my little pink head. Like, the whole board connects and there really is no roll of the dice or choosing a card from the deck to determine next moves.

Why did I not move to Switzerland when Mr FD was offering? I had rational explanations: Paris is a more central hub from which to work, I need my own apartment / space, I don't think I'm slave material, etc. But the feelings underneath, surrounding me, swirling around my head as I lay floating in the sea - those feelings never really found explanations for themselves. Even as I tried to describe them to close friends, I couldn't solidly comprehend them.

Why was the vacation with my sister so meaningful? We grew closer than ever before. We took a day trip out of Amsterdam into a small city on the shore to reenact a photo from our youth, a surprise we gave to my parents two days ago.

Why did I choose to stay in Paris? One by one and in groups, my colleagues who have been my closest friends over the past two years have left the city. For two weeks, I've questioned the night sky about my loneliness, about community, about the curious desire for intense friendship.

Why did I visit the TV Producer? When I left his apartment, one sigh was of relief for releasing pent-up sexual frustration, the other sigh was for the old pattern: trading my ability for a lengthily, labor-of-love cocksucking for a short ride on his lap that ended before I began.

Why did the Butcher and I reinstate our friendship? Our dinner and drinks before he left for Asia led to me crying in his comforting arms. Last night, we were supposed to have dinner and drinks. I pushed it back to just drinks, and then cancelled, feeling like I should stay home to hear how dad's surgery was going. My sister called 15 minutes after I should have been at the Buther's apartment, "You home?"

It seems that, for me (not applicable to everyone) things have a way of just happening. I'm not commenting on quality of these events or feelings, and I'm not saying it was destiny that my father get bladder cancer (if it's that). But these little spaces on my board game seem on the one hand, predetermined, and on the other hand, whispering warning signs or encouragement to assist my free will.

And, now, well, right now, I have no idea what to do with myself. Last night, after I did and didn't do as much as I could (not booking a panic flight, but telling my landlord I might return to the States for a week or forever), all I could finally do was take a sleeping pill and drift off with the phone in my hand and "Pirates of the Caribbean" tallying ho in my ears.

My sister called at about 4am. Our father was out of recovery and was awake, but totally incoherent in his post-anesthesia dream land. She said he sounded like grandma, his mom who is slowly sinking into Alzheimer's and who rambles on about disconnected subjects and tells disjointed stories. Apparently, the hospital staff mistook this as a signal that our dad was fine, alert, and comprehending the situation. "Clearly," my sister said "they do not know dad." He's never a rambler. He deliberately chooses the words to explain his thoughts, even if it takes hours to tell a story about a trip to the grocery store. He was obviously not wholly conscious and probably didn't know what was going on in the slightest.

She said the doctor thought a CAT scan would be next in order and she urged him to schedule it now. I guess this idea hadn't occurred to him - they're so used to following procedure.

So, now, I wait. I wait for the 10,000 lakes to wake up.

I took a shower, fed myself, did laundry, and started a new book. These seem so mundane, but they're taking more effort than usual. When I indulge myself, I'm sick with guilt that I'm on this gourmand holiday while my sister and mother cry in the stale, air conditioned hallways of the hospital.

And then, just now, the next space on the board: he's awake, eating, feeling well and doctors will visit in a couple of hours.

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