I grab my winter coat off the kitchen chair, stuffing my left arm in first, but my arm gets caught in the lining that has torn. I always forget this coat is a hot mess. I pull out my arm only to try it all again. Same result. I am the one-armed woman. How can I not figure this out? Fuck. Simple tasks are lost on me! Finally. I grab dad’s keys, say the obligatory, “Dad, I’ll be back in a couple hours, ok?” And back out of the driveway.
Puffs of exhaust from cars along Arlington Heights Road punctuate the winter air. Pairs of red brake lights parade on down the Kennedy from before Nagle on through my West Loop exit. I occupy myself with creating a chorus of curse words strung together in the most Jodiest of ways. What-the… You-piece-of.. Are-you-fucking-kidding? Oh, you best believe I cursed myself too. That is something I do quite well–the cursing of self. Now, an amateur at the art that is Chicago traffic, my ability to remain composed while enduring a barrage of brake lights has waned.
Inching off the exit at Jackson, my nerves–shot. My hands look like two fist fulls of lower case “C’s” from clenching the steering wheel so hard. Without even directing my eyes towards the heavens, I spy a spot on Washington. Can I fit? I square up parallel to the Audi, but in the rearview mirror, I notice this gaping hole I failed to see previously. How did I miss such a monstrosity? Something is telling me to leave it alone, not to try it. This is NOT a good idea says the voice in my head. BUT I could try it? Blocking a lane of traffic now, I can see the man behind me is losing it, so I circle the block in hopes of a better option.
I will find a parking spot. I will find a parking spot. Please God, let me find a parking spot.
Shocker, I don’t. But that one spot. It’s still there. A bit challenging, but..
For some reason, at this section of the street, the black asphalt is almost gleaming. Here, there aren’t rings and webs of salt that form to make little pictures like other spots on Washington. Plus, at the height of rush hour, there are no cars lining up to give me the finger as I decide what to do.
Something is off. Not right. Odd.
But I need to get on with it. I think.
Yea, but wait. That hole is too much for you to maneuver.
What do you know? You’re just my head and heart. Shut it.
Fuck. You need to listen to me. The hole. It’s much too big. You won’t make it out.
I turn the wheel. Put the car in reverse. My hands are sweating. My left tire does a quarter turn. Ever so slowly I begin to back up.
Into the hole, I fall. I am in slow motion now. Watching myself through the glare in the window. I am perpendicular to the hole now. Free falling. There is no scream. There are no tears. I pass concrete slabs, rows of steel beams before I sit underneath Washington Street staring out my cracked windshield.
I reach for the glovebox. I’ll need my insurance, I think. Where’s my phone? I need to call 911. Maybe I’m hurt?
Why didn’t you listen?
Here we go again.
Seriously, why? I was trying to help you.
I. Don’t. Know.
Then, the tears come and my clock alarm sounds.
I bolt awake. My face is hot and wet. It’s still dark outside. I look across the upstairs hallway and see the bottom of Rosie’s gym shoes ontop the bed.
“It’s so cold. I don’t want to go downstairs,” she says to Dad.
“Ok, honey lay back in bed. Here you go,” Dad turns her around and covers her with the comforter.
I wait till Dad goes downstairs before I walk over to her.
“Do you mind if I lay with you a bit?” I ask.
“Sure, you can lay with me. That’s ok,” she crosses her arms and stares at the ceiling.
I close my eyes, but can’t stop thinking about the hole in my dream. How many mistakes I’ve made by not listening to myself? Swallowing my intuition. Ear muffs to the the messages of the universe? As I’ve gotten older, those mistakes have become more costly–in all ways imaginable.
Recently, the decision to NOT listen to myself has really fucked me over. While I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, I ain’t no dummy either, but then I am? Shit.
Laying with Mom this morning, I was thinking.. God, Mom please allow some of your old school wisdom permeate my soul. Somehow, someway help me be the best version of myself. A woman we’d both be proud of because right now, I need me some Rosie.