Have you ever confused a dream with life? Or stolen something when you have the cash? Have you ever been blue? Or thought your train moving while sitting still? — Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted.
I am gripping the steering wheel of my 2006 bright red Toyota Prius, my left hand poised around 7:00 to 8:00, cycling through contractions and releases as I navigate. It is four days post incident, yet the numbness and waves of nausea-heart pounding in chest-hard to breath episodes still percolate to the surface, defiantly bubbling over the lid I have firmly secured to withhold intrusion. Bubbles in my chai with espresso. I cringe, but I swallow and move on.
The truck to the left of me accelerates in the far right hand lane, making way for my merge onto I-5. Drop an ice cube on the back of my neck, and I promise you I will not feel it. Stub your cigarette butt on my forearm, and no, I will not feel it. The numbness has rolled in with the stealth of fog, and I breathe. I expect the air to be thick, but it slides down my trachea smoothly like butter. I am grounded to the seat of my car, my nerves registering the feel of weathering fabric ten years loved. My body is still, but around me, my train moves.
But I know, movement is an illusion, stillness the reality. I must not float in the stagnant pond; rather, body surf in the rising tide. As humans, we become hinged to things of the nether annals of the world. I hold my tweezers, and as I write, I sit here picking thread by thread, cutting each string with sewing scissors, slowly allowing movement to manifest as reality once again, a dream awakening to the world with the curiosity and determination of a baby’s first breath.