I seem to need 3 years to tell the more shocking stories of my life.
It just seems to take that long. I cant speed it up and I cant hold it back.
I think its like a pregnancy and the story needs time to be born.... rushing will cause it to emerge fragile and not entirely whole, but holding it back is dangerous and risks an unpredictable explosion with large amounts of shrapnel.
Three years is my emotional gestation period.
- One year to brace for impact, try to survive and grieve.
- One year to acknowledge the carnage, pick myself up, shake off the shock and accept the reality.
- Only in the third year can I move on.
First I have to figure out who I am now with this additional chapter in my story and I have to move forward with the new me .....no matter how many missing pieces.
Putting the story to paper and into words is the last step, in moving on and saying goodbye.
Once its down in words there's no turning back, and I cant run anymore. The words exist, the story can not be denied and my mind cant play hide and seek with reality.
I have to look down and realize Ive been totally shattered but somehow reorganized.......in some ways weaker and in other ways stronger, but never ever the SAME.
Its impossible to describe how strange it is to MISS YOURSELF.
That girl you USED to be, the person you ONCE WERE ....before this happened, or before "that day"......before that fine line between what was and what is ...became so goddamn clear.
THREE YEARS AGO.
MY LINE BETWEEN PAST AND PRESENT.
BETWEEN WHO I WAS AND WHO I WAS TO BECOME.
BETWEEN EVERYTHING I KNEW AND EVERYTHING I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO RELEARN.
Three years ago .........the universe got impatient.......changed course and lost the map which charted my fate. It was impossible to find, and had to be re- written.
The same author, but now a different book.
It was Mid March 2007 .
I was still reeling from the brutal murder of my girlfriend......all sense of safety GONE ....even going home everyday was an ordeal. I was very uneasy living next door to where shed been killed ..... I had a toddler and a small baby to care for who I was nursing full time. I was fighting SEVERE post par-tum depression and my little sister was dying slowly in front of my eyes.
Every day something new taken from her until eventually she lost the ability to even hold a glass of water for herself with any sort of dignity.
On top of it all I was REALLY PREGNANT AGAIN.............the ultimate mind fuck with the daily contrast between the life slowly beginning inside me and the life slowly ending in front of me.
The times my sister touched my belly to feel the baby I literally looked down and saw death embracing life. It seemed a betrayal to be so full of life in the face of death.
It was agonizing and almost too much to bear.
I remember thinking it couldn't get any worse, and with those words I will give advice .......a sort of warning to the wise.
Dont ever think it can not get worse.
No matter how bad you think you have it now ....trust me it can always get worse....... DONT UTTER THOSE WORDS OUT LOUD.......EVER.
Especially do not stand in the middle of your driveway kicking your car repeatedly and screaming at the trees that this just can not get any worse.
The trees will bend and the wind will whisper........" just you wait and see you little fool ".
The gods like drama, and they set the stage well for us to play out the scenes of our lives in the most dramatic way possible.
I found this out the hard way............9 months pregnant running full speed through Jamaica Queens during some sort of stand off between gang members and police........while gun shots rang out and sirens completely surrounded me.......afraid for my life and the life of my unborn child .......but so much more afraid for the life of my husband who had just been thrown in an ambulance with chest pain, a severe headache and his entire left side going numb.
Hell broke loose on my "lucky day".
Though Ive fought most of the demons that were released that night, there are still those that linger with knives in hand stabbing me from time to time. Always demanding their two pounds of flesh, and always wanting it to be from the heart.
I was so pregnant I was literally counting the hours until surgeons would remove the extremely large baby I could barely carry anymore. I don't remember where we all were coming from but the gates of hell opened up around the same time the driveway gates did. It was late, I was exhausted and barely able to hold my head up ...........so looking forward to just hitting my bed and contemplating staying there until my c-section.
" Sue I think we need to call 911" - was my introduction to hell.
For one very strange moment I looked down wondering if I had somehow gone into labor and was too tired to notice I was beginning to give birth in the front seat.
That would have been a blessing in the face of what was really happening.
Im not even sure who called 911, I just remember the way the ambulance pulled up and men jumped out with looks on their faces that scared the hell out of me, like they knew something I didn't.
They saw me and seemed reluctant to come closer.
Maybe it was the house........perhaps they too remembered what had gone on.........
AGAIN FLASHING LIGHTS IN FRONT OF PEACHES HOUSE.....the sirens screams mixed in with those in my head.
Memories of murder and mayhem.....again people running around urgently...........again me standing holding a baby ......caught somewhere between fight or flight....and thinking call we add FALL to that?? Is falling an option? If I just fell down would all this go away?
The thoughts in my head a mix of .......is this real or am I on drugs.....alright WHO DOSED THE PREGNANT LADY .........can everybody just drop the medical bags and reveal the cameras so we can have a good laugh right before I give birth right in the driveway.... !
That would have made for good TV, and the ginormous lawsuit I would have filed might have made me happy. But nothing was funny this night, and none of it a joke.
Time again sped up and while still standing there dumbly, my husband was loaded in the screaming vehicle and taken away.
Im not even sure I said goodbye. Though I should of. It was the last time I saw the man I knew.
I don't remember anything in specifics, it all just seems hazy and unreal. They just all took off and left me there .....in shock holding my babies.
I was force fed a huge mug of razor sharp reality with a shot of stress induced dementia .......all in the same glass ..... struggling to understand what was going on as I slowly became aware that I was standing out in the freezing cold with no jacket on....for how long ...i have no idea.
How could they just leave me there?
It was only the wails of the children desperately clinging to me that snapped me back in action and caused me to go flying next door. My mothers face when I literally threw the kids across the room and into her lap now seems comical......the closest Ive ever seen an elderly person yell WHAT THE FUCK!
But I had no time to laugh. When they say fight or flight they really mean FLIGHT. When you chose flight...............nothing stops you, you become super human and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody told me I never actually turned the car on but got it to move anyway Fred Flintstone style.
This of course came in handy on my approach to the hospital, and the surrounding area. Now ground zero in a very dangerous game between the good guys and the bad ones.
Previous to that moment I had spent the last few weeks barely able to walk .......looking more like a drunk duck than a pregnant human......with the "waddle" getting worse by the day. It took me half an hour to get out of bed and get to the bathroom........it should have taken me a month to make from the car to the hospital......but the speed in which I was suddenly able to move would have made the olympic US track team jealous.
Its amazing what fear can do. If you think Red bull can give you wings .....try a glass of fear mixed with panic. Its like Rocket fuel and crack mixed together.
The closest parking was BLOCKS away due to the danger in the area but I ran the full five blocks like the hounds of hell were on me......... and perhaps they were, but the fact I was running straight into the war zone and not away from it might have confused them.
I didn't care who was shooting at who, and what sirens were wailing telling me to get off the streets, I was so focused on getting to the hospital and finding Gary. I remember thinking of some Andie McDowell movie where shes combing thru a war zone looking for her husband.....something from the safety of my couch I thought was stupid. Suddenly doing the same thing, I understood and realized I would have walked through hell the same way she did to find my missing half.
Comprehension dawns in odd places.
If it wasnt for the fact that I was so heavily pregnant and in such a state I dont think they would have even let me into the ER, it was on total lockdown due to the police injuries. The guard who would have stopped me looked down, looked back up at me holding my stomach snarling at him and stepped aside.
The scene inside was a madhouse ........................split between those who were there for the " suspects" and those who were there for the "boys in blue". Wailing and screaming, accusations and defenses being thrown across the nurses desk as if any of that would matter to the people behind the curtains fighting just to live.
Nurses with barely enough time to get out of the way of my stomach tried to tell me I shouldn't be there ......I heard it all in a very distant way as I ran bed to bed, pulling back curtains, shocking people and being shocked myself at the chaos and madness I walked into.
I started to panic as I realized I was running out of beds and there was no sign of him, and every horrible thought that could have crossed my mind did so in an endless loop of WHAT IF ......
Please God let this be him........... Oh God no .....thank You God thats not him...took on a strange singsong in my head, until I reached a small hallway not even inside the ER proper.
Right by the back doors where the half dead come in and in front of the room where they keep the really dead is where I found Gary.
I wasn't even sure he was alive the way he was laying with the sheet over him and his lack of response to my calling his name was terrifying. It felt like it took me five years to walk five feet over to his bed. More praying and chanting as I inched closer...... denial protecting me in its strange way.
The minute he opened his eyes I almost collapsed in relief. He looked strange and confused to me but at least he was alive. Sitting next to him on that dirty blood stained bed I should have seen the danger, I should have seen the warning signs ......instead all I saw was life, not what he was lacking.
Looking back now I realize he was already slipping away on that cot, but all I can remember was such profound happiness that he was alive, that it was like I won lottery. Nothing else mattered.
Even surrounding by people screaming as others died, I felt like the luckiest person in the world. I found him and he was ALIVE.
What I didnt realize ....was that he was also half dead, and our journey to hell and back hadnt even BEGUN YET.
( but thats another story for another day )