6.3.2003 Elizabeth Calling
Normally, I wanted to write a light-hearted entry, I was in the mood for something light, but due to the timeliness of events I felt it necessary to write about the following instead. There had only been a few times in my life where I felt fearful about certain events where I had to try hard not to think about the worst-case scenarios. And some people know that one of my superstitions is the announcement of some good news would be soon followed by some equaling weighted bad news just to bring the universe back into equilibrium – Murphy’s law of the averages, or something like that.
I’ve decided to split this entry into two parts due to the shear length. I’ve tried to be brief in my descriptions of the recent events and only include what was necessary, or at the very least, factual – which would have been a tough detachment of the thoughts that ran rampant through my mind.
It was a little hard to stomach, but the call came right after lunch this past Friday that consisted of Elizabeth sobbing uncontrollably. After about a minute, it became clear that what had happened was that she had fallen down the stairs while home alone. Panicking myself, I tried to calm her and then asked if she needed an ambulance. She continued to cry and said that she was in too much pain for her to stay on the line. I told her I was coming home, but she noted that it wasn’t necessary, and how she was going to try and get some rest, possibly sleep it off, and then hung up. I couldn’t tell but my guess was that she was just being a martyr.
I rushed away from my desk and proceeded to try and get home. Looking up the express bus schedule, I noticed that the next bus was at 1:32. It was now 1:28. Of course, these were just estimated times, due to the traffic, it was never truly reliable what time the bus was arriving and departing. The next bus wasn’t until one hour later. I rushed downstairs and sprinted the one block to the stop to see if I could even catch a glimpse of the bus. Nothing. I paced back and forth waiting restlessly for about 5 minutes before I decided to chance things with the subway.
Darting one short city block, I ran down the subway station stairs, swiped my metrocard, proceeded through the turnstile, and waited on the subway platform. After another 5 minutes had passed, the subway arrived – soon enough, and empty enough for me to get a seat.
It had been a while since I last rode the subways. And one would think that growing up in the city and riding the subways, I would be accustomed to it. But after spending part of my adulthood living in suburbia, I have come to realize that the subways, while traveling through Brooklyn, sometimes may match the speed of a turtle. It can be frustrating at times, and this was one of them. The train clumped along the tracks. I pulled out my Palm Pilot to see what time it was and noticed that a half hour had already passed. This was alright – I was about half way home.
Her voice on the telephone just repeated in my head over and over again. I tried not to let my fears get the best of me. Our apartment has a few staircases. We live on the top floor of a 3-family house where one of the staircases starts just on the inside of our entrance. We keep our shoes at the top of these stairs and I have noticed how hazardous it appears when we attempt to put on our shoes at the top of the steps. My fear has always been one of us losing our balance and tumbling down a full flight of stairs. And then, of course, coupling that thought of knowing that Elizabeth is now 6 months pregnant – it’s difficult to rationalize.
Unbeknownst to me, the subway I was riding was running on a limited schedule for it was not rush hour (heavy commute time). We arrived at a certain station. I noticed the doors stayed open a little too long. After they closed again, the train proceded in the opposite direction, back to Manhattan – not a good thing.
I rode the train back one stop and had to transfer subways. About one half hour later, I finally arrived at our station, and I darted from the train. Another frustration of riding the subways is that we live too far from the station, and it is somewhat necessary to transfer to a local bus. Usually, the wait for a bus would be only a couple of minutes, but since it was not during rush hour, there was not a bus to be found.
I then proceeded to jog home and once again, I tried to fight away the most fearful thoughts.