Thursday, October 30, 2008

A BAG FULL OF LIFETIME

Today's word, generated by the internet's Random Word Generator Plus, was: LIFETIME.


I had my carry-on swung over my shoulder, and the flight had not been too long, so when our plane pulled up to the last gate in the terminal furthest from Baggage Claim, I planted my vision straight ahead and commanded my feet to engage. In the nearly 5 years since they were briefly paralyzed with GBS I have mourned the death of the child in me; the one who used to run up the street, take stairs one foot at a time, and kick her way through amber layers of crispy-downy autumn leaves. But the other day at the airport, for the first time in this many years, I actually felt my legs sort of move when my brain told them to move. It was so compelling I pushed harder and harder, never risking both feet being off the ground at once like when I used to run, but still! So when I arrived at the moving sidewalk I kept up the pace, stepping onto the fluid metal ribbon of floor with history behind me, knowing that it would not respond to my weight in any negative way; knowing that without breaking a sweat I would achieve my human objective with superhuman timing. Is it a comment on my simple life that such a thing gives me a rush? I just love those moving sidewalks. I feel light and able. I become conscious of the air against my cheeks, of the slight rise in energy exchange as I pass the people on solid ground. I whisper to my brain that this is heaven and in just 19...18…17…16 seconds we are going to hit the earth. I remember thinking once that this was going a bit too far, analyzing the moving sidewalk, and I reprimanded myself for making everything too symbolic. Take things at face value, I’d tell myself, and try to focus on what gate we were aiming for, or where all the kids were, or what time the flight was leaving. But this self talk always backfires on me and I am caught mid-thought when the sidewalk stops moving and I hit solid ground, and I cannot…CANNOT…not think about being born. “That was Heaven” I say as I lift my heavy legs and double my effort to cover the same ground with twice the work… “And this is birth!” Inevitably I imagine myself jumping from a swift moving cloud into my lump of flesh. My angel hands me a satchel of lifetime and reminds me to spend it well. Dipping my hand into the bag, I pull out an hour-sized chunk and rub it against my gown. I glance down and notice the shine. It’s a good one, with something magical coming up. Spreading my fingers out I hold the hour in my palm and watch it fizz away, leaving just a slight trace of purple smoke and the faint scent of baby sweat. The satchel, though lighter now, still swings from my side. I hardly ever notice it any more. I only ever think about it on the moving sidewalk, or when Anna Bella giggles and I know that the next time I see her her giggle will have changed. I look for everyone else’s satchels and they are invisible. Most people don’t even know they have them. But I am reminded of my handful of lifetime every time I go to the airport. It’s good I fly now and then.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your writing- Im glad that you put it on a blog format. It always makes me smile... and think. Thanks!

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