Sunday, December 19, 2010

All Blues and Hail Mary

that's the name of the song joe henry was playing with over the rhine the night i will never be able to forget.
on my happy anniversary day things were perfect, oh so perfect: blue skies, no wind, snow in all the right places and dry roads for driving. shopping, a little bit of whining (all in good fun) over what i wanted but knew I shouldn't buy but, later, did anyway because life can be really short.
walking in fresh air thinking, feeling, being.
dinner was a surprise, at my favourite hotdog place, Senate.
i would describe what I ate (and how much) but it would seem obscene.
neal had paid the bill and we were just about to leave when he decided to use the men's room.
normally insignificant
i stood at the bar, waiting, enjoying the wine coursing through my body, smiling in the warmth, anticipating the next event.
nothing could have prepared me for what was coming.
you know how sometimes you can be really self absorbed, not paying attention to your surroundings? tonight was one of those nights, but out of the corner of my vision, my left periphery, i noticed the older couple seated in the corner.  i thought how strange they would choose to be eating fancy hotdogs at their age ... they seemed so out of place considering the crowd. i turned away for a time, then surveyed the room again.
his back was to the widow, her arms reaching out to him, leaning desperately over the length of the table, as though hanging on to him for dear life ...
and so she was
as though in a fog, i noticed he was holding his throat, clutching at air, at life; she was clinging to hope.
suddenly he collapsed and I heard someone yell for a call to 911
i couldn't process it all at first then my mind kicked in and i, too, grasped at air, at life, at hope.

i had no idea what to do, so i made myself as small as possible, pressed up against the bar, stretched out my right arm and prayed.
i closed my eyes
i was utterly alone in the crowd
i opened them again and he was lying on the floor, lips and fingers a strange purplish blue
i felt numb as my fingers and toes began to tingle
i caught neal's eyes from across the room and mouthed i don't know what to do

i wanted to leave
to run away and hide
instead i stood, arms now at my side and i prayed
i prayed for mercy, i prayed for grace, i prayed for life, while five minutes down the road there were fireworks
and then i went to a concert

1 comment:

SmallWorld at Home said...

Oh my goodness. Why am i just now reading this?