in the hand of providence…

in the hand of providence…

water droplets on black asphalt road during night time
Photo by Ruvim on Pexels.com

strange how life works, sometimes the path is laid out for you, literally, not even subtlety, it has been many years since I traveled Chain O Hills road, so many I can not even count or remember, but twice now, in two days time, I find myself on that winding road for quite different reasons, last night I happened to be working not far from my first ‘real’ job in Avenel, the job that was to be my future and lead to my Florida adventure, these do not even seem like my memories anymore they are so old, but they are, the streets all look the same, some businesses have changed, some remained, so many remain as they were a decade ago, the street signs, actually stone posts in that town, the weathered painted letters,  I know all the curves of these roads, then today, today started out or at least in bursts there was sun, then, the aforementioned foreshadowing come as the temperature dropped lower as the day grew longer, and grayer, then the sky turned to a shallow rain, cold, not heavy, but enough to trip the wipers into action, by all accounts I was going to be home early for once, tired, as last night was not the best for sleeping, no reason why, just was, the client today was a bit grating but nothing I hadn’t seen or been burdened by before, my phone rings, an odd time for a call, how we know things are wrong, how our calls are as nearly calculated and reliable as a heartbeat, I pride myself on preparation, on mentally going through scenarios, but even inevitability stops you cold, the words, you have pretended to hear them so many times, like footsteps approaching, you just do not have the bus schedule in front of you, but surely the bus is en-route, so I digest the information, such as it is things always take a moment to sink in and calculate, to percolate, to transfer to the extremities of your internal network, the tingle in your fingers, palms sweating slightly, the situation,  just a matter of how bad and what next, I wonder if I am speeding and have conversations in my head with officers should I be pulled over, am I over the limit? these roads I know so well, my backyard in a sense, but they seem longer and foreign now, in the night, the glaze of rain makes me extra cautious, I desperately need my GPS as my logic is seemingly off kilter, my brother calls, he too is on his way, a deep hardening in my diaphragm is like constriction, a corset, inside, if such a cinch is possible, my thoughts collide, I never want to assume the worst, but as you age and watch those you love age things become more acute, I know this route, I know this route but my mind is exploding with doubt, I wipe my hands, tune to the classical station to find some calm, try not to blow through the stop signs, trying to contain my mind expanding in so many directions, pulling up to the hospital, I just see “entrance” and that becomes a beacon, my goal, immediately, the parking lot is agonizing, a zig zag, a maze, torment, I rather park on the street and walk a block, so I do, I have never been to this place, as far as I recall, so I don’t know where I am going, scanning for my brother’s car, no where, my pulse is sharp, I need a moment to catch my breath, calm, calm myself, I’m at the front desk, and learn from the desk that the Emergency section is actually another street down, a couple of rights, the attendant asks me where I parked, I think, almost as if my ability to discern what she is saying is failing, I point vaguely outside, she hands me a voucher that looks more like monopoly money, a five, in that game, blue, if I remember the details, to put into the little machine and out drops a golden token, I pocket it without even thinking, hop back in my car, go around the block, which entrance is it ? which goddamn entrance is it ? I think I drive to far, and then suddenly there is an ER entrance road, it seems, subdued in subterfuge, while I am certainly not, I weave around the lane with screaming arrows painted past the door, another infuriatingly strangely laid out parking lot, I secure a spot, careful to park carefully, I spy my brother’s car, thank god this is the spot, I approach the door and can see my brother and fiance’s heads in the waiting room window, I nearly well up, not knowing and letting your mind fill in the blanks leads to hangman, another deep breath, a pause, to compose my thoughts, and so we wait…

adult aged baby care
Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

sitting in the waiting room, waiting, it is what you do there, I know she is OK now, stable now but not the knowledge of the  extent of the not OK, she is in x-rays for what seems like days, my father, finally, a couple of hours later comes out like a phantom, her purse in his hand, looking a bit disheveled and quite exhausted, the word, at the least a broken hip (upper femur crown to be exact), surgery imminent, but for tonight just stabilization, so now my brother and I are afforded visitation even if the room is just a staging area until a more permanent situation exists, my immediate thought, she looks so small and frail now, faded, as if age had caught up all of a sudden or maybe I had not been paying attention, her hand is cold, I notice, so cold, she wills a smile up at us, her two boys, the only mother we will ever know, there are no words, there is no way to convey comfort but with a look, and the words, ‘I love you mom’, maybe with more meaning than the many times before in passing, time spins, as it is time to leave, I whisper “be strong”, have I watched her just wither away all this time? and is this all our fates? the idea of wanting to let go if you are in too much pain, seems so foreign to me, but how would I, how could I know, until I am laying there, threads being held together by medicine and the divine, so in my own way this is a prayer, even if for a time, might she find some rest when the morphine kicks in, for the days/months ahead will be long, and hard, but there are days ahead, I tell myself and for her, there are days ahead.

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