that's how long i was in hell tonight; two and a half minutes. long enough. too long.
i was on my way to choir practice and i was thinking about monday, hoping that something will go terribly wrong and that i will die.
i have something of a bad history with anesthesia, so it's not all that far-flung an idea. monday i am having the first of a course of ECT treatments and we get to find out how i'll do with the anesthesia.
so i'm thinking please let something go wrong and let me die. i'm done with all this and at the same time i'm ALSO thinking please don't let anything go wrong. i'm not done yet.
it is very uncomfortable, having both of those thoughts in my head at once. and i'm trying to sort it out, trying to come out from under the staggering weight of it and i get into downtown richmond (such as it is) and just as i go to cross the tracks, the gates come down.
my train is coming.
before i know what i'm doing my seatbelt is off and my hand is on the door but i manage somehow not to open it, not to leave my seat but the temptation is there and renews as each car of the train goes by.
it is not too late. i can still catch the train.
but i think for a moment about the people inside the church. surely the would hear those sirens. it would be messy. later on rumblestrip will tell me that it doesn't matter to her one bit whether the departure is messy or not; it would still be what it is, and horrible.
but thinking about that saves me for at least as long as it takes for the remaining cars to pass.
and i don't know if it's God's idea of a joke, but it's a prety poor one and i have some words about it later.
meantime, it's choir practice. don't look up. don't look people in the eye. don't give anyone a chance to ask.
don't make me lie to you, i think. but there's one among them to whom i have promised to tell the truth: rumblestrip.
so, skirt around the outside. avoid her if i can. and i do.
but it is my habit after practice or after a meeting jsut to go into the sanctuary alone and have a few words or just to sit quietly and listen. sometimes both.
and tonight i'm sitting, head bowed, crying, and i hear someone come down the aisle.
"i don't know who you are," i say, without lifting my head and without knowing who it is, "but it is not your night to have to watch me."
it is rumblestrip, tender and sensitive and ready to retreat. "i thought maybe you didn't want to be alone", she says. "that you shouldn't be alone."
"no, yes. i'm sorry. thank you. please stay."
rumblestrip is right of course.
and after a while i'm ready to go home. i wasn't expecting rumblestrip to follow me there, but she did and i'm glad. it was quite a thing, going back over those tracks, train long gone.
it's going to hurt some every time i go over the tracks for a little while, i'll wager.