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."