Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nothing Had Changed

Here's the last scene in "On The Steps Of St. Something." Thanks for all the sweet comments!

Somehow I struggled through my morning classes in spite of the waves of nausea. I taught in two classrooms, both disadvantaged by noise -- one was right next to the men’s bathroom and every flush echoed through the room, the other next to a deaf rabbi who yelled each and every day about Nazis, the death penalty, and how morality is shot to hell in the world as we know it. I wondered how he worked that into a basic freshman composition class. In a weird way, I was thankful for feeling bad because not having a hangover would have made the world seem unbearably bright and full of possibility, something I could not have borne that particular day, November 1st, the Day of the Dead.

I left a little before my office hours were over, thinking about getting my prescription so that the night would be quiet and I could sit home alone without having a terrible anxiety attack, maybe cook dinner or watch television. I studied the map in my office, but out on the road I couldn't figure out which street was the service road I was supposed to take. I tried to stay calm, but I couldn't concentrate because I didn't feel entirely okay from the drinking, and I teared up, thinking that I would be on the same ugly roads, passing the same ugly buildings forever, not getting any closer to where I was supposed to be.

I pulled over next to a Catholic church and took my crumpled map out, but it didn't make any sense. All of a sudden, a hot flash washed over me, and I felt as though I was going to be sick. I stepped out of the car, hoping the cool air would help, and tried to appreciate the beautiful Indian summer day, a perfect day before the long winter set in. I sat down on the steps of the church and rested my head on the railing, thinking, Here I am on the steps of St. Something, and I feel like I might die. I thought I knew the area, but I lost my way. I didn't know if I could get back. I was too late for my appointment, and I didn't know what I wanted to do, only what I didn't want to do, which was get back in my car and drive home. Even though I hadn't prayed in a long time, I prayed the only phrase that came to mind - - "Make a way where there is no way."

After hanging my head down for what felt like forever, I heard the school next door let out, the children in their uniforms enjoying the weather, free from duty for a few hours. They waited for their rides, and I sat beneath a statue of Mary, her heart open and full of thorns for everyone to see. I looked at my map again before stuffing it into my purse. Nothing had changed, but I didn't feel quite so anxious. I felt tired and ready to sleep, and I found myself thinking about my ex-boyfriend and crying for the first time sober, remembering the many road trips we took together, the many miles I went with him, vast empty stretches we covered before I woke up and realized that the entire landscape had shifted.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I married Isis on the fifth day of May/ But I could not hold onto her very long." Bob Dylan

Cocktail Hour
Drinking suggestion: Watch the Pistons tonight!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


Anonymous said...

That's where I had my peyote epiphany!!--Tony Soprano

the walking man said...

Fine wrap up. Ties it together nicely, liked the last stopping point as an ending as well, though this one, gives the reader hope for the future of Alexa and concurrently themselves.

Nice though that it is apparent that not all epiphany's are of the sun in the eye kind.

Thanks Michelle



Charles Gramlich said...

"make a way where there is no way." That's a useful prayer.

Anonymous said...

This is an outrage!!!You hate Heebs!!!--Rabbi Dr. Jacob Goldbaum