the hospital street

Monday, June 30, 2014

I used to have dreams about him leaving me. Walking out and not looking back. I would wake up with a hard ball of panic in the pit of my stomach and let my heart beat it’s way back to normal. This was before we lived together, and usually I would be alone in my bed, and I would fumble for my phone to call him in the middle of the night. My voice would reach out for his in the dark and he would answer.

As we grow older and more twined around each other, the dreams slowed and then stopped. I can’t remember the last one I had. I suppose I just felt more certain, and my mind no longer needed to surface those insecurities in the night.

On Saturday I was sitting in our completely ordinary life. Steele was working overtime and I was sorting through old photos on my hard drive, watching an episode of House, and occasionally sending Steele a photo of himself as a scrawny seventeen year old. Then I got a text from him saying that he was having an allergic reaction and was going to the hospital. (For those of you who don’t know, he is deathly allergic to peanuts.) They had ordered a spicy Thai pizza at work and he had eaten a whole piece without knowing that there was a peanut sauce on it.

My heart started out okay. It was still and quiet as I moved around the house, shutting my computer and grabbing my keys, locking the door behind me and running to the car. On the drive it became less calm, speeding up in my chest as I sailed through green lights, cursing at cars driving the speed limit. Every time I got stuck at a red light it dropped and without the car moving I was left with the sound of my breathing and that choking feeling you get in your throat when you’re about to cry.

My mind caught on the oddest things. Things like, what would I say to a cop if I were to be pulled over right now. Do cops let you off when you’re rushing to the hospital? My mind insisted on pointing out to me how strange it was that there were three blue cars lined up together. Or it began wondering about the life of the man in the black truck in front of me, the one who was driving approximately 15 miles an hour.

By the time I was on Williams, the hospital street, I had gotten another text from Steele that said he was fine, that it was a minor reaction and he just had to take a few pills and stay there for a bit to make sure nothing went wrong. My throat still choked and my heart still raced, but as my feet slapped against the parking lot of the emergency room, I realized that I had never really expected the worst. I just didn’t believe it was possible. And that day, it wasn’t.

Maybe as we grow older, my prior insecurities will be replaced. And it won’t be him leaving me that I will fear, but these things I can’t predict or change or stop. These are the concerns of a family, of an adult, who is aware of the worst scenarios, even when she never really expects them to pass.

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