Mar. 26th, 2016

Firetruck

Mar. 26th, 2016 12:26 pm
ritaxis: (hat)
This is something that happens to me sometimes. It didn't happen to me today but I read a story that made me cry and so I was thinking about things while I was at the pond with Zluta. And I thought about this thing that happens to me sometimes. Well, it's kind of a thing that happens, but it's also mostly a thing that doesn't happen, not really.

I don't want to say I have a post-traumatic stress disorder. I feel that it would be presumptous: that it would dilute the label, contribute towards making people distrust it when it is used for people with more disabling issues. But this thing that happens to me: it's kind of like that. But not really, because it almost sort of doesn't happen at all.

It could happen on any kind of day. A bright summer day, like that day--with the light fog in the morning and the insistent breeze off the bay in the evening, but wait? Do I remember what kind of day it was? I can remember the way the day was on one of the days after, when it happened to me, when it was even a Tuesday morning just like that day, and it happened: that was a high-up grey kind of day, the air still and gentle, warm enough for the children to play with water but not warm enough to strip them down to their diapers and underwear and give them juice pops in the play yard. Was that day like that too? It was August, so it could even have been hot, though I don't remember that.

But it doesn't have to be that kind of day, or even daytime at all. It could be a rainy winter day with the rain drops picked out of the air like tiny glass crystals, the doggy smell of wet asphalt everywhere, happy little floods dancing in the gutters. It could be late at night, the house silent but for ghosts and rodents and the proprietary dog pursuing her claims against them. ANy kind of time at all. I could be anywhere.

When it happens to me, I could be anywhere. I could be in my house, chopping kale and parsley on my daughter's cutting board. I could be walking my dog in the neighborhood, past the firehouse, or beyond the soccer field with girls in ponytails and boys in pink shoes, all leaping after brightly colored balls. Or in the grocery store parking lot, or driving to the piond, or like that time I remember, in the play yard at my old job.

What happens to me is almost nothing. It always seems like it will be nothing this time. That's how it starts: with me noticing that it is not happening.

That's not true. It starts with a firetruck, or an ambulance, or a siren, or a person in a uniform. Not juist any uniform: a firefighter's uniform, or an emergency medical technician's uniform. Anything from the first responder's kit, really. They don't have to be responding to anything. The firetruck or ambulance can be tooling around town or parked in a parking lot. The siren can be blocks away. The person in a uniform can be standing around, or buying groceries.

The first thing that happens, as I said, is I notice the presence of the firetruck, or ambulance, or siren, or firefighter or ambulance driver. I notice they are there and I notice that nothing is happening to me. And then I notice that nothing is still happening to me.And I think about how grateful I am to the firefighters who came on that day even though they couldn't save him and neither could my son though he was almost a doctor when his father died in his arms. And then I think some more about how this used to make something happen to me but it doesn't any more. And then I think about the thing that used to happen to me when I noticed the presence of one of these things. And then I remember what it felt like when that thing happened to me, and I congratulate myself for not feeling that thing, for not hjaving that thing happen to me an hymore. And then I rell myself that I must have gotten much better because I am not feeling that thing that I can so vividly remember feeling. And then I remember several occasions when I felt that way, and I vividly recall the sensation of feeling that way.

And then I'm not really crying because there's hardly any moisture coming out of my eyes, and I'm not sobbing because my body isn't really shaking and there's no sound coming out of my mouth, and I'm not really grimacing but there's a kind of little frown if you look closely and my eyes do close tight but they open right away so you can't really say anything is quite happening to me, but it feels like something is happening to me and I really, really, really wish that day had not happened.

But it's not really quite a thing that happens, still: it's more of an echo of a thing that used to happen, over a thing that happened, years ago now.

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