First off let me apologize for not writing all summer, I am a bad, bad writer in that sense. Please forgive me?
Ok whew, now that we have that behind us, how about some good news?! I started Graduate School last week! Woo! It is going to be a whole new world for me but I am excited!
Today I think I will share a piece that I may later add on to… or maybe I won’t. I haven’t quite decided so I figured my readers could help me out. Comment & let me know what you think & whether I should continue this story or move on! I will probably post lots of things like this for your input, so be ready🙂 Here we go…
Worries of the Mind and Soul
I sat back against the worn leather seat and stared out of the plane window into the dark night. An overweight man with greasy black hair and a long thick beard partially blocked my view with his heaving chest, already fast asleep. I sighed to myself and cursed myself for not paying the extra money to upgrade to a first class ticket. For at least the tenth time that day, I questioned myself about whether I was making the right decision of attending the international conference for my company that weekend. My husband, Gary, had been acting more distant than ever in the past few weeks. All the signs had pointed to him having an affair but I couldn’t convince myself to confront him about it just yet. I wondered who it was, Cindy his little, borderline anorexic secretary, or maybe Tonya our single neighbor. She always had given him that “look” that made me uneasy. What a tramp. I let out a deep breath and tried not to think about it. This was going to be a long flight from Chicago to Denmark.
I studied the people in the seats around me who would likely become my greatest source of entertainment for the next 8 hours. In the row in front of me I could see the back of two blonde heads, one looking to be a woman in her 40s with huge curly hair, and beside her, a younger version girl with long ringlets and hot pink hoop earrings poking out between her curls. A small child squirmed between them, bouncing up and down and causing the seat in front of me to shake. I wondered if the toddler belonged to the older woman or teenage girl; either one wasn’t a far-fetched assumption these days.
I glanced over my right shoulder, wondering if I would have any luck finding a chat buddy in any of my fellow passengers. In the row behind me sat an Asian couple wearing large hats, who seemed to be arguing about something intensely in Japanese. Beside them sat a young boy with huge headphones wrapped around his head, probably no more than sixteen. His eyes were closed as he nodded his head violently to the music, playing an invisible set of drums in front of him with a couple of colored pencils. His sketchbook was still open on the tray in front of him which displayed a perfectly drawn depiction of my now snoring neighbor, complete with a drop of drool trickling into his wiry beard. I giggled and turned back around before he noticed.
A young girl in her 20s made her way back from the bathroom and took her seat in the empty chair to my right. She had been gone so long that I’d forgotten she was sitting there. Inspecting her now I realized that she was shockingly beautiful. Her chestnut brown hair had an unkempt look but shined beautifully, falling down her shoulders in long, natural waves. Her green eyes darted up at me as she slid into her seat and I noticed that her cheeks were flushed, and a light mist of sweat coated her forehead.
“Are you alright?’ I asked her softly, not wanting to intrude.
She nodded quickly and leaned back into her seat, carefully draping her pale yellow cardigan across her body as a makeshift blanket before closing her eyes. She looks so peaceful drifting off to sleep, I thought to myself, kind of like the way actresses look when they sleep on TV, not like normal snoring, drooling, people such as my hefty neighbor to my left. I smiled at this thought and settled into my own seat preparing for the long ride. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
I still couldn’t believe my parents were sending me off to Denmark to spend the entire summer with my grandparents. I mean so what if I’d skipped a few classes last semester and tagged up a few walls with graffiti. They don’t understand my love for art and probably never will. I sighed deeply and dug my headphones and iPod out of my backpack. The Chinese people beside me were yelling at each other right in my ear and I was starting to get really annoyed at the whole ordeal. I turned up my Pearl Jam playlist and began to sketch a picture of my Rottweiler, Ranger, who I wouldn’t be seeing for at least two long months. I wish I would have brought a picture of him with me but the only one I have is on my phone and I’d better not turn it on or the plane might.
I rolled my eyes and turned to a fresh page of the sketchbook, looking around for something interesting to draw. A beautiful, young brunette girl was sitting in front of me a little while ago but she’d been gone from her seat for a while now. There was a pretty woman seated in the chair next to hers, probably in her mid 30s with rimless, modern glasses and straight, jet black hair. As I examined her expensive looking business suit between the cracks in the seats, I noticed her check her diamond studded gold watch. Yeah, I agreed with her silently, it was going to be a very long 8 hours.
I decided that the man beside her looked like the most promising subject for my artwork. I studied the huge hairy, Italian man with his hair slicked back in an attempt to hide the bald spot peeking through the massive amount of gel that sat on top of his head. A raspy snore escaped from slightly open mouth, allowing a stream of drool to leak down into his bird’s nest of a beard. Perfect, I thought to myself grinning and began my drawing, taking my time on his caterpillar eyebrows that seemed to crawl together with every breath he took. About halfway through the sketch, my favorite song came on my iPod and I closed my eyes, drumming my pencils in the air, already yearning for my beloved drum set that would undoubtedly sit unused in my room for the entire summer.
When I opened my eyes I saw the cute brunette returning to the seat in front of me. She was prettier than I’d remembered and I wondered for a brief moment whether I could pass for a few years older and hope for a summer fling in Denmark. I quickly dismissed the thought from my mind, knowing I would never have the courage to say two words to the girl, let alone strike up a conversation that could cause her to become interested in me. I watched the seat in front of me lean back as she settled in to sleep and wished I could drift off as well. I had just returned to my drawing, carefully shading the circles under the man’s eyes when I heard the pretty woman with the jet black hair let out a high pitched scream of terror. I jumped up from my seat and my jaw dropped open and the sight unfolding before me.
A week before the trip I had just lost my job of five years which I loved, my boyfriend Danny, who was the only man I’d ever truly loved, broke up with me for an 18 year old exchange student, and my parents finally admitted that they were giving in to their Marriage Counselor’s advice and considering “friendly” divorce. I couldn’t have imagined then that a week later I would be on a plane, flying halfway around the world for no particular reason.
I should have known the night before last that something was wrong. I had been having a nightmare in which Danny was calling to me from the top of a snow covered mountain. I climbed and climbed but I wasn’t getting anywhere and the top seemed to be getting farther and farther away. Suddenly, I lost my footing and began to slide recklessly down the mountain, tumbling over rocks and shark ledges at full speed. As I made my way down, my thoughts began to run together and jumble in knots, making me unsure of everything I thought I knew. It was as if I could truly feel every jolt of pain as I tumbled downward and my head began felt like it was turning into part of the mushy snow itself. This seemed to go on for hours and when I awoke, I was shivering and confused. I had no idea where I was or why. I knew I was me, but somehow I was even unsure of who “me” actually was. I wandered around my apartment in a disoriented daze and finally lay down on a couch and tried to return to sleep. Was this my couch? Was this my home? How did I get here? The questions had flooded my mind until I drifted back into a baffled sleep.
The next morning I felt groggy and my brain seemed to be covered in a thick fog. I went on with my day and felt a little bit better after eating my breakfast and walking my dog, Tiny. I decided not to tell anyone about what had happened. My parents would just worry and I didn’t want anything to interfere with my spontaneous plan to visit my dear friend and oldest pen pal, Anastasia, in Estonia.
The morning I was to leave for my trip just about everything that could possibly go wrong did. I somehow missed my alarm and woke up with a splitting headache. The cab was late picking me to go to the airport and halfway there I realized I had forgotten my passport and was forced to ask him if he could kindly turn around in morning traffic for me to retrieve it. Once I got to the airport I was chosen at random to have the extra security measures performed on me, since a 24 year old girl wearing sweatpants and a Hello Kitty t-shirt obviously looked like the Unabomber. Finally I made it to the gate just in time to grab a plain coffee from JavaJoes and dash back to the line of passengers filing onto the plane.
As I stepped through the threshold onto the plane, a large man in desperate need of a shower bumped me into the flight attendant with his monstrous belly. The coffee went soaring and landed hard on the floor between us, splattering steaming hot, brown liquid all over my favorite sweatpants. A couple drops must have landed on the attendant as well because she gave me a burning, laser stare that would likely kill someone if this were a Star Trek movie. My stress level was at an all time high at this point and I felt like I was going to throw up or bunch someone, possibly both. I dropped off my bag at my seat and rushed to the bathroom at the back of the plane. During takeoff, two different attendants pounded on the door, insisting that I must return to my seat. I refused and told them I would certainly vomit all over their plane if they forced me to leave the bathroom. They didn’t knock again. Alone with my thoughts I felt like a wild woman. My hair was soaked with sweat and my mascara was smeared beneath my eyes. I felt dizzy and weak and wondered if I had remembered to put my Xanyx in my carryon bag.
When the captain made the announcement that we had reached a safe altitude to move about as we wished around the cabin, I heard the first knock at the door. I sighed and knew I would have to return to my seat no matter how bad I felt. The person outside aggressively knocked again, sending me into an angry frenzy as I busted the door open and stalked to my seat. I settled into my seat and heard the woman beside me ask if I was okay. I’m far from okay, I thought, but nodded vigorously in her direction and closed my eyes. I felt for a pill in my bag and popped it into my mouth hoping it would help me to fall asleep soon.
When I woke up I was in a different seat on the airplane, surrounded by paramedics. They were shining a light in my face and I felt the blood pressure pump tightening around my arm. The lights above me seemed to move around strangely and everything was colored with an odd reddish tint.
“Are you with me sweetheart?” A voice beside me asked. I stared at him but no words came out. I looked to my right and saw the woman who had asked if I was okay standing with a teenage boy. Their faces were white with horror as they stared at me. I shook my head trying to clear it as a doctor in front of me placed his cold hands on my shoulders. He brought his face close to mine and said very carefully,
“It’s important that you don’t move your head around Anna. You’ve just had a seizure.”