|This was the scene yesterday at the foot of our driveway. Filled with foreboding or just your average foggy summer scene?|
The day after the Pulp Fiction bomb Ben asked me if I’ve ever liked thrillers or action movies. I have, but not the blood and gore kind. Not the shoot ‘em up and hack ‘em up kind. And, based on my experience with that Woody Allen movie, not even the psychological thriller kind.
I told him that as soon as I got pregnant with Harry I felt so much more vulnerable than I’d ever felt before. The line between the cruel, cruel world and the safety of my child was just too, too thin. I haven’t been able to tolerate that kind of brutality since. I’ve felt like the act of watching those kinds of movies (and listening to the video games that my boys love to play) is a kind of self-torture. I’m just not into that.
But, even before my babies were born, I could not handle the tension in a thriller or horror film. Jaws, Unfaithful, Silence of the Lambs. Those movies marked me. I wish I could un-see them. And books? I still remember the name of one I read back in the seventies called Harvest Home. It was so appallingly terrifying that I threw it away when I was done with it. I remember reading, or trying to read, Misery by Stephen King. Very clever story line. Oh my god, though. I was so freaked out by every scene, every approaching scene of torture that I had to employ the only device I could come up with short of putting the book down and never picking it up again (and I was too far gone by that point, I wanted to know how it ended!): skip ahead to the horrible scene, read it with one eye squeezed shut, go back to where I had been and then read through, skimming as I hit the horrible scene for the second time.
What is it about that technique that works? I’ve used it over and over in reading this kind of book. And with videos? I’ve used it there too…fast-forwarding to the scene, the inevitable, pain and doom-filled moment…and then going back to glide through and beyond.
I want to cut the tension. I want the spoilers. Give me the spoilers! I want to know what to expect when I am in that moment, heart racing, breath getting shallow. How will it end? How will it end?
And that’s exactly how I’m feeling these days. Maybe that seems a bit dramatic, but I’m just being honest. I want to get through to the other side, through the horrible waiting that happens on surgery day, through the morphine haze days, through the uncontrollable shaking with pain days, through the days of Ben learning how to do all his activities with a spine that won’t bend in the middle. I want to be on the other side.
I have been worrying so much about those days in the hospital and I know it’s such a waste of my energy. It’s not like [announcer’s voice]: Susie was so thoroughly prepared having done so much worrying in the weeks leading up to her son’s surgery that on the day of that surgery she had no worries at all!
No, that ain’t so. I know it. I know it I know it I know it. Worrying today is just an empty exercise in causing more pain. Having visualized it today, I will STILL have to go through it on August 15th, however it plays out. There’s no getting out of it.
A while ago, Ben likened his scoliosis to the shark in Jaws…(cue shark’s theme song)…da dum…da dum…circling out there in the ocean…waiting for what was to come. I feel it now, too. And so, to mitigate that dreadful waiting, I have been distracting myself with PREPARATION. I have started packing. I have started a new uncomplicated knitting project. I have been making lists. I have been making itineraries (because, I will say, that I DO have a lot of stuff to organize before I leave...Harry's life? Toby's life? the animals? Yeah, I DO have stuff to do...). I have a new, engrossing book to read. I have my calendar getting full with who will come to distract me each day.
That’s a lot of preparation, I see. All to survive.
I don’t know if you noticed, but I have perfected this art of tension-cutting. I didn’t say I never read those kinds of exciting books. No, I do read them. I love mysteries. I loved the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. It’s not like all I read are romance novels. (Although I do love me some good ol’ steamy…oh nevermind.)
And in life, there’s no avoiding it.
But this next chapter? This next scene? I just want it to be over. In fact, I want to skip it completely.
So, I’m going to close my eyes and you let me know when it’s safe to open them again. Ok?