Thursday, January 24, 2008

One of those days

I don’t believe in bad days. Each moment should get to speak for itself without being drowned out by whatever else has happened in the same sunrise-sunset cycle. Resign myself to a bad day and next thing I know I’m writing off the week, the month, the season, the year, my earthly life.

But today too many painful things happened to too many people I love.

  • The twins had their 3-year-old shots.
  • Brielle crashed into a log in one of her first sledding runs, leaving her right eye swollen nearly shut.
  • Rachelle spent the day in doctors’ offices—all morning with the punctured twins, all afternoon waiting to check out Brielle’s shiner at urgent care.
  • Rachelle’s mom buried the man she called “Daddy,” while trying to be strong for the woman who called him “Honey.”

The day drew suffering like iron filings to a magnet.

  • A mother who came here fleeing violence just watched two of her little boys come home from school beaten up in a single week, and she wanted me to give her advice on what to do now.
  • A childhood friend lay a micron from death after 18 hours of surgery, 30 units of blood and 20 of plasma and platelets—this on the day her baby was delivered by emergency C-section.
  • Heading up the snowy mountain, the highway patrol guided us around a tow truck winching a car gone over the edge, its driver’s fate uncertain but grim.

It was nearly 9 p.m. by the time our unfed stomachs rolled into Grandma’s driveway to pick up Ashlyn and Melía. The pure beauty of their beings had only begun to soak in to me when I plopped down onto a couch, Ashlyn on my lap, and banged my head harder than I can remember. It felt as if the kitchen countertop just above the sofa had reared back, gathered all the might of its granite inertia and swung into the top of my head with a satisfying crack.

Remember all that nice talk about “never a bad day,” letting each moment speak for itself? Presently every sad second of the day screamed in unison with the pain in my skull, and came out my mouth in a flood of wailing profanity, as I writhed on the carpet. It was as if the singing agony of the moment was so exquisite that it inspired all the other painful moments of the day to join in, like that old Coke commercial with the people holding candles. Except scarier.

Melía was silent. Ashlyn thought it was funny. Grandma felt horrible about having moved the couch. I was too tired and sick of the day to do anything but get up, embarrassed, deflated, surrounded by purlple-ish stars, and take the kids to the car.

Maybe I did write this one off as a bad day. But I’m holding out hope for tomorrow.

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