“Oh, dear God, I was going down. There was no stopping it. Visions of broken necks danced in my head.” J. Lynn (author)
Six days before the election I fall in the middle of the night.
I haven’t been sleeping well. Has anyone? Well, my husband has – for one. He slumbers away like a newborn baby, one without colic anyway. He drops off in seconds (really, I have clocked it), and then snorts and moans and whinnies through a whole menu of snores, while I lie wide-eyed awake next to him.
On this particular evening lying sleepless next to snore boy, I glance over at the reading choices on the nightstand, pick up the latest New Yorker and force myself to read an article in its endless entirety. Done with my vegetables, now I choose dessert, Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth. I flip back a few pages to reacquaint myself with the characters and then settle down to wait for Patchett’s magic to steal into the room. It doesn’t take long, and I gratefully surrender to her relatable world where families splinter and fracture but never completely break. At some point, my focus fades, I close the book, and drop it to the floor with a soft thud.
I click off the light and flop around in bed like I’m some unfortunate fish caught on an angler’s hook, looking for a comfortable position where I don’t hear my heart pounding in my ears. Jim does not stir. I must slip into an uneasy sleep because the next thing I know is I have to pee. Once I ignored the urge, and fell back asleep and dreamt I was sitting on a toilet, which led to disastrous, soggy results.
Won’t make that mistake again – so I untangle the sheets from my legs, tug down the t-shirt that has wrapped around my body and yank my panties out of my butt crack. Groggy, I stagger the few yards from bed to toilet over the well-worn route in the tan carpet.
But, for some reason, instead of staying upright and brushing the door jamb as is my habit to get my bearings before I plop down on the toilet, I flail, hands outstretched trying to stop my fall against the shower curtain. The curtain gives way, of course, smothering me like a shroud as I trip over the three-inch lip on the edge and crash into the shower landing hard on my right hip and shoulder, head clunking against the back wall.
I am awake now. It takes me a minute or two to make sense of just what has happened – that I am sprawled in the shower that we rarely use next to an object covered with a pink and black sheet. What is that? Oh, yeah, that’s the poinsettia that I covered recently hoping that plunging it into darkness will force bright, red blooms by Christmas. My butt is wet. Is it blood? No, just water that has pooled by the drain from watering the poinsettia before I put it in blackout.
So, to recap: I stagger in the dark seeking relief, try and fail to break my fall, land hard, rattled and bruised and sore as hell, but still intact (more or less) and likely to make a full recovery. Have I just played out my nightmare?
Could Hillary be the shower curtain, the thin, fragile barrier between order and chaos and that try as she might she can’t stop Trump, and the result is going to be a big, painful mess, but ultimately I (and we) will survive? Or maybe the curtain is the veil between what used to be common civility, decency, and shared values, and incivility and its various faces of fear: intolerance, misogyny, racism, the “other.” Or maybe the curtain is the veil between the material world wracked by decisive politics, power and small ego concerns, and the spiritual world where all really is One.
Grunting and groaning, I haul myself up and take a quick inventory. I shake my wrists, rotate my neck gently, and utter a “thank you” for no paralysis or broken bones. Then I take my seat on the throne, do what I came to do and feel my way back to bed in the dark. Before I fall back into a fitful sleep, I offer up a little prayer that I was just a klutz in the middle of the night and a fall is just a fall.
I wrote this the day after I fell when I was still hopeful, but unsettled too on a deep level about the election. I debated whether to post this entry at all since for some (many?) it may just be old news and folks are ready to move on. Yet for some of us I suspect that the effects of this election and the 1,461 days of this administration may never be old news.
So, what about you? What signs, dreams, intuitions, etc. did you experience leading up to the election or since? I would love to hear from you in the comment section.
The next post, Part II – After the Fall, A Plan to Thrive in the Time of Trump will explore an empowered way forward and include some specific resources I find helpful.