The latest I’ve had is existential conversations with my Parisian friend. (technology is wonderful that way. I can’t get behind all the grandstanding about how social networking is Alienating Us All.) “Safety is an illusion”, she says, and I’ve always tended to think so too. “Peddled to us by people who want us to feel afraid of losing it.” I’d never thought it that far through, but I think I agree with that too. She’s walking through the locked down terror-struck city, because she does not wish to submit. To ISIL, to fear, to whatever. I’m happy to hear from her alive, and to hear these things, remotely, an ocean apart. It takes me back. To the day when it was my own city under terror siege and I roamed the desolate streets. At one point I stopped square in the middle of what would have been a busy 34th street intersection at any other time. All was still and silent and all the way south I could see the smoke pillar rising to the sky where the Towers had been. These are things we can describe with words and images but only when we’re communicating with another person who’s gone through something similar is there that feeling of “yeah…you totally know what it’s about”
Safety is an illusion. Never submit.
The week and a half prior to this I lived my life in a nightmarish Trevor Brown painting come to life. Probably due to spending most of it sleep-deprived and in a hospital. And it turns out that the terrorists, serial killing rapists, abusers, stalkers, and anyone else who has twisted me up with PTSD in this sad veil we call life has NOTHING on abject terror compared to this. At least not when you’re watching your soulmate, your psychic wedlock, being wheeled away for emergency surgery because he fell against a metal cart and broke two ribs and shattered his spleen. And he’s basically drowning from the inside. And if he’d tried to sleep off the pain just a few hours more he’d be dead.
After the doctor told me he’d pulled through the surgery he led me to the ICU unit. It was the middle of the night and dark. Not quite a section for visitors really, but I sat quiet and huddled into a chair, and holding Eric’s hand. The monitors, attached to human beings, their lives in the balance, gave off different tones that created an eerie song.
The first two nights I had to clear out at sunrise, as it was uncertain what the day staff would think of this. I didn’t want to cause trouble for those who were being so cool as to let me stay by Eric’s side as much as possible, so I did. On the third day they moved him to a semi private room, where we were able to have other visitors and I made a sort of “bunker” putting two armchairs together so I could sleep at his side. We jokingly called this “Astral Knife’s Bed-In For Social Plague”
We even made friends with our hospital bunkmates, an Italian poet/professor and his wife.
So now we’re home. There’s still a lot of wound aftercare and recuperating, and I still feel like I haven’t quite caught up on the sleep I missed. But dammit, we’re still here.