Monday, July 4, 2011

on lowered expectations

Today we celebrate the birthday of a good idea, a country founded on our best intentions. With one glance at the newspaper, we see how far we've sunk—but then again, how far we've come. Perhaps the sinking isn't sinister, just a byproduct of good cop/bad cop Time. In growing up, we're given season tickets to the atrophy of dreams. We just get used to change. And not all for the worse.

New York is a ghost town today. The major arteries are cleared, there's very little honking. Some errant sirens and obnoxious music, maybe, but a day of quiet overall. And here I am in an 8x10 foot room, flat out on my messed up back, an ice pack tucked beneath my spine.

A year ago, I was an adult. I had a steady, big girl job, a closet full of shoes, a business card. If you'd asked me then to imagine life like this, making cucumber and cheese sandwiches three nights a week, attempting to write a murder novel, I'd have guffawed. Surely I never had the nads for this before. Surely not the stomach either.

This injury has filled me with such humility, such sense of mortal chance. It used to be good days were judged by how much fun you had, or if you got your way; now any day in which I sit and stand without feeling as though my spine will snap in half is good enough. Days without panic or pain. Nights without nightmares.

I don't care if I get there in a wheelchair, I am getting on that plane. I am going to meet Jack, who has grown his plant across the pond from mine; we've watched their tendrils knit mid-ocean in the Atlantic air. We're just now about to bloom.

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