Sunday, April 23, 2006
I was up and across the room pressing snooze before I even realized I was awake. Eyes still closed, I felt my way back to bed. The voices weren't as loud this time. They were more subtle and accompanied by images. There was a bottle of pills in a glass bowl, nestled in a second bigger bowl, and then a third. There was a pencil with the lead broken off, the pink eraser end dry and useless.
I threw the covers over me and turned onto my left side, clearing the drone away temporarily, like windshield wipers in the rain. It quickly got too hot, so I threw back the covers. I reached up and opened the window above my bed. Back down again, I turned onto my stomach, hands under the pillow above my head.
I had to pee. I contemplated. I waited another 30 seconds and then got up. Sitting on the toilet, the room took a sideways bend. Immediately I knew it would be a rough morning. I had to lay down fast. I broke out into a cold sweat as I made my way back to my bed, tripping over yesterday's Toronto Star. I remained very still until it passed. I drifted back into a sleep, peppered with snippets of last night's conversations and random images: there was a dog I wanted to take for a walk, but I didn't have grocery bags for scooping; a mirror I was cleaning with Windex; clocks with alarms that might go off at any moment.
It all started yesterday when I spent the day with this guy I've been dating. We had a nice lunch, with the April showers as our backdrop. We window shopped under an umbrella, spoke French, laughed at ourselves, went to a movie... As we drove home, I became aware of a tiny seed of a bad feeling. The rain seemed more menacing than cozy. I couldn't put my finger on it, but whatever it was, it was firmly embedded in the pit of my stomach by the time we kissed goodbye:
"Have fun tonight." I told him.
"You too. I'll talk to you later."
There it was, though, and I couldn't shake it. I couldn't lose it or name it. It was this sense, which threatened to take over the space inside me. I felt like I was going to cry but instead I threw myself into getting ready to meet my friends for dinner. Then on the streetcar, I focused on listening to my music and watched the cars and the people, holding onto the umbrella in my lap with everything I had. A rough looking man with two boys got on at Bathurst, one around eight years old and the other about three. The younger boy was small with shaggy blond hair. He had meaty little fingers and he was wearing winter boots with "Tonka" written down the sides. He looked up at me and I smiled at him. He smiled back and then turned away, bashful, toward his brother. His brother grinned and patted his head. I blinked back tears and wished I could turn around and go home. I didn't want to go out for dinner. My appetite was gone, but the feeling was getting bigger and harder to ignore.
"What's wrong?", Shoshanna asked when I sat down at the bar next to her.
"Nothing." I told her.
I considered how if she pushed, I might turn into a complete raving lunatic.
"You sure? Something seems wrong."
"I'm fine", and with all I could muster, "really".
I held my breath. Please leave it alone, please leave it alone, please leave it alone.
Just then Rob arrived and right behind him was Jami. After a few sips of wine, it struck me that the feeling was slowly receding. I took another swallow. Farther still. Many drinks later I couldn't even conjure it up when I tried.
This morning, as I carefully chewed on triscuits and sipped water, I read a story about a drug-addicted doctor who had an angel that followed him around, trying to get him to do the right thing. The building tension of the story became indistinguishable from my own nausea and the feeling from last night that was making a pulsating comeback. I closed my eyes and set the magazine down. I drifted to sleep again, this time seeing pregnant women, baby birds feeding from droppers, and an angel with cats for shoes. I woke up for a moment, reached for the phone and left Evan a message to tell him I wouldn't make it for brunch. I rolled over and fell back asleep still holding onto the New Yorker.
Posted by Rachel at 4:30 PM