My phone buzzed. How was your day? I thought about the day’s events. No, stop. Too much. It was easier not to answer. I checked the refrigerator and found enough items to make cereal. Sitting down, I propped open my laptop. How was your day? I had no idea. How had it been? No part of me wanted to to contemplate, introspect, or analyze. Good, I typed. I read before sending, thought better of it, and added a smiley face. Smiley faces made it all sound better.
I basked in distraction. Social media? Thumbs up. Sports headlines? Fair game. Top thirteen things I did not know about the cast of a TV show I had never watched? Thank you, Internet. As I scrolled to thing #8, my email lit up. I closed it so that nothing could distract me from my distractions. Good, it was gone. Good riddance.
I sprawled on the couch and looked out the window. When had the leaves come back? Maybe they always grew back on Wednesdays. Or was today Thursday? All the days blended into one, and I felt seasick. It was imperative not to focus too much on details. I know who I am, and that is good enough.
That was too deep. No, that was too shallow. Cut more. Don’t cut at all. What about that bleeding? You probably should have cauterized first. Careful, I would not touch that. Come on, be more aggressive! Take your time, it’s not a race. Be more efficient; we need to move! First, do no harm. But what came second?
The phone buzzed again. Are you free? The question lingered my mind. Was I free? I did not like to think about it. Not on Wednesday/Thursday. Never mind that love was at stake. All the smiles, all the energetic chatter, all the positivity of the past fourteen hours had been spent on people I barely knew. The ones I cared most about would have to leave empty-handed.
I turned my phone over and covered my head with a pillow. This was how the world worked: people crawling through parallel tunnels so close to each another that you could hear and smell your neighbors, wishing that one day, the tunnels would intersect and we would see each other in full light. But it's futile; cold logic dictates that parallel tunnels never meet. We will always be alone.
Bzzzzzzz. Startled, I lifted my head, saw the sweet face on the screen, and answered the phone.
I love you. Would you like to get dinner?
And with those words from her, the walls of the tunnel collapsed. The world up there was green, and she was reaching down to lend me her hand. And I knew in my heart that she had saved me, just as she had saved me on many Wednesdays (or Thursdays) before.
This post was written by Jay Shridhar, MD.