Walking, Blues by Jane Mead

Debussy on repeat. I am so exhausted, but I am wide awake and working. My father was confined yesterday afternoon, doctor’s orders, and I have packed my bags and my life and so I am here, now, at the hospital.

Took a cab; it was raining hard. Lots of things going through my mind: Is my office going to be flooded again? Did my friends receive my message cancelling plans for tomorrow? Fuck, this is your life, T., always cancelling plans with people, even those who matter. How long would they keep Papa in the hospital? Ugh! Stupid cab drivers. What would we have for dinner? Does my mother have enough money for the next few days?

And while I was taking the bags out of the trunk, while I was stopping to let security check my luggage, while I was walking down the hallway noting the absent piano, while I was pressing the button on the elevator, while I was holding my breath to keep the anxiety at bay because whenever I’m at the hospital I feel the walls closing in on me, it hit me: this is the first time I’ve been here since my grandfather died. The last time I’ve been here was almost two years ago.

My knees threaten to buckle, but I had to walk. I walked and walked until I got to my father’s room, until I saw his face. I am not alright. I am writing to keep from hyperventilating. I hate hospitals. But I’m here, so what else am I going to do but deal with it.

Walking, Blues
Jane Mead

Rain so dark I
can’t get through—
train going by

in a hurry. The voice
said walk or die, I
walked,—the train

and the voice all
blurry. I walked with
my bones and my heart

of chalk, not even
a splintered notion:
days of thought, nights

of worry,—lonesome
train in a hurry.

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