Sunday, December 21, 2008

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

When you are single, there are certain moments that drive home the idea that you are utterly alone. One such moment happened to me not long after my ex-husband had moved out of our house. I was having an unusually good day for that time in my life, and was in high spirits. I had just gotten home and heard the phone ring. The phone was in the basement and in my buoyant frame of mind I found myself bouncing down the stairs to answer it. I decided to take the last several steps in one bounding leap. I joyously launched myself from the stair to the bottom and suddenly saw stars (yes, STARS) and everything went black.

A few moments later I was lying on my basement floor, and felt a throbbing on the very top of my head. I wasn't sure what was going on, but I realized that I was alone. It was the weekend and my kids were with my ex-husband, and I was ALL. BY. MY. SELF. If I lost consciousness and started bleeding into my brain, no one would be coming home to find me. I could slip into a coma or even die and it could be days--DAYS--before my poor children ran in to greet me after their weekend away and found me unresponsive on the basement floor.

With my survival instincts in full force, I crawled across the floor to where the now-silent phone lay. I picked up the receiver and dialed Terri's number. I got the answering machine. I left a message that I had hurt my head, and that I would appreciate it if they would check on me later to make sure that I was okay. I hung up the phone and rested my weary head with the comforting knowledge that someone out there would find me before it was too late.

When I was ready to get up, I looked back at the staircase where I had been so happy just a few minutes before. I noticed that up above the last few stairs, the ceiling lowered a few feet. I had literally launched my head at full speed into the ceiling.

Tonite I once again fell down the stairs, to the mixed delight and horror of my second-born child. I was wearing my fuzzy socks and missed the first step. I was certain that I would right myself and gain my footing on the next step, or the next, or the next, or the next (NINE times I expected to stop falling.) Finally the momentum stopped, and my crumpled form slumped over the bottom stair and pulsed in pain at several different points. Immediately, I felt Gabi's arms around me, asking if I was okay. I caught my breath and somewhere between a laugh and a sob, looked up. It hurt. I cried.

I peeled off my sweater and viewed my arm where much of the skin had been peeled off by the stairs and a large area beneath my elbow had already swollen grotesquely. As Gabi shared her view of the incident (the back of my head nodding fiercely as I stuttered down the stairs) and tried to hold back a snicker, I burst into hysterical laughter through my tears. Once Gabi determined that I was really okay, and that I wouldn't kill her for laughing, she had two things to say, "I didn't want to have to call the hospital," and "You might have whiplash--your head was really bobbing."

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