Blinkin’ Rainbows

Yesterday on the morning run I had trouble catching my breath. I began wondering if I’d finally caught Covid. Then I remembered that I always have trouble breathing when I am under stress. I remembered the time a doctor did a full work-up suspecting pneumonia when all I really needed was a proper job description so I could draw a ring around my obligations at work. Get a handle on them.

So on the downhill slope of the interval hill, I forced myself to slow down and take a deep breath. Fill the bottom of my lungs. And on the exhale, it was as though a cork popped and I sobbed for several minutes – loudly – standing still in the dark on the trail, with E.’s arms around me.

Then we finished the run.

Draw a ring around it.

I’ve read that most of us have four or five people whom we can truly count on and for whom we will be there for when they need us. The kind of person who will fly 4000 miles over an ocean to be with you through a divorce, then again three years later to be your matron of honor. The bad times and the good times.

One of my five told me she was seeing blinking rainbows on Tuesday. “Not as cool as it sounds,” she wrote. She was heading in for an MRI. I sent her a couple of voice messages so she wouldn’t have to read them. But she hasn’t opened them yet. Since then I’ve only gotten updates from her husband. From the MRI she was taken straight to the hospital.

It’s not my story. But these are my fears, the ones that literally take my breath away. I googled, because we all do that, right? And under the diagnosis (still to be confirmed) is a long disclaimer about the prognosis. If you want, you can follow the link to the charts with the statistics. Some people want to know. And now I wish I didn’t.

What do you do with numbers? What were the statistical odds for this thing to have taken root in her brain to begin with?

So now I have a handle on it: this weird piece of baggage filled with numbers and uncertainties. And with so much love.

I am carrying it through the days. And I will be carrying it around with me for many more days. Turning it over. Staring at it. Wishing it were a magic portal to take me 4000 miles over an ocean to be with her. Wishing it could somehow gestate a miracle.

I’m sorting through the ever-changing travel restrictions. But for now. Just stuck holding this bag. And wondering if I will ever look at a rainbow the same way I used to.

3 Replies to “Blinkin’ Rainbows”

  1. I know what you mean, Ren…I’m trying to figure out who my five friends would be. The ones who would fly 4000 miles across an ocean for me. My two sisters, for sure. The others? One, I know. We do what we need to do as we live in this scary world where, in a New York minute, anything can change.

    1. I feel really so lucky to have five. Two are my kids, one is my husband. One is just a little train commute away. And then there is my friend across the ocean…

  2. Five? Not me. But small blessings, they count too. The owner of my local coffee shop when she heard of my medical issue and costs, simply told me one day my money is no longer good in her shop. It’s just a cup of coffee, but no, it is so much more. This counts as much as my medicine. Honestly. Do I, do we, have “enough” in our lives? Might even call that faith?


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