Face smashed against the pillow like a beached whale on sand. At the very tip corner where my lips connect, a bulb of warm wetness forms. Slowly but surely, the tissues inside my mouth feed this drop until it begins to ooze down to the waiting pillow below.
The pillow is one of my favorites; slightly smaller than a bedroom pillow. The fabric has a metallic sheen, and the geometric pattern effortlessly matches and dresses up every couch and chair in the room. It’s also soft and holds a heavy cheek with tenderness and grace. It’s such a great pillow.
I don’t know if there was drool the first two days that I laid cloistered in a dark bedroom, wallowing in the terror of it all. (Read “SLAM! The Story of Hitting My Head here) But, here on the blue couch (December 2016), there is drool. Awareness comes days before any motivated action to wipe it away. The drool must have come long before the awareness.
My mind realizes, “Oh, I’m drooling,” and I almost have a feeling or follow up thought in response, but not quite. There is some jewel eating away at me, but I can’t quite put my finger on it before another wave of unconsciousness pulls me under. There is something enticing and welcoming about the free flow of my bodily fluid. A truly mouthwatering experience.
More blankness and a distant acknowledgement that someone has delivered my children. I can’t recall who had done this or whether they had come in to check on me or just released the kids into their home, where they are currently doing something on the other side of the room. Perhaps playing nicely. Perhaps beating each other senseless. No way to tell from here on the couch.
By day five, there’s no denying the warm liquid dripping from my mouth, AND I feel sad that it is getting all over such a nice pillow, but still not enough energy to put my mind to the task of figuring out a solution to this ongoing problem of pillow wetting.
In fact, each day for the rest of this week, I discover this drooling situation anew along with the feeling that there is something important for me to capture about this experience. At first, it feels like a brand new realization, then I remember that I previously noticed my predicament and I sink back down below confusing waves of awareness, nothingness, and shame in not being able to remember.
My writer’s imagination starts on its own journey. I say inside my head, “This is good research for describing a character waking in an alternate dimension where everything is incredibly slow and slug-like.” I drift through the story allowing myself to be tossed about with the possibilities. I struggle to try to hold onto this concept and the wonderful descriptive words. The next day, none are present, and I begin the process of discovering them all again.
How would I capture the details of this languid moment if I can’t remember my ideas or observations?
I start to consider getting up to find paper when I fall asleep and forget again.
Waking, I pull myself above the water of unconsciousness. Maybe an hour had passed. Maybe a day… Or two. Something bounces around in my peripheral. Two somethings. And a light bulb goes off; one I have to grab quickly before it goes out and I plunge back beneath the surface.
Those kids could be useful.
“Sebastian,” I call, my tongue slick and drippy, “Max?”
“Mommy is calling us! Mommy, mommy, mommy! Are you better? Can you play now?”
“Not just yet,” I reply, suffering too much to feel any guilt or regret at the moment. (That comes later) “I need your help. Can you find a pencil and some paper and write some words for mommy?”
“Yes!” “Yes!” Then running, a shove, a slam, some crying, perhaps a punch, a little yelling, a small apology, then some full on taunting.
Seven years later, they return, energized and eager to do anything warranting attention from mommy.
“First write the word ‘drool’.”
“How do you spell it?”
“D R O O L.”
They obey, and each write all the words I tell them on the back of an envelope and a grocery store receipt. Not at all in the order I say them, most misspelled, but the important act of putting the words to paper is accomplished.
“Good. Now put those on mommy’s dresser.” Another round of bouncing, shoving, and yelling ensues, but I pay no mind.
My relief is immediate. A blanket of bliss covers my aching body, and I’m able to fully descend to the deep, heavy, dark place of rest on the bottom of this ocean. Peacefully snoozing and drooling, knowing my inspiration will be patiently waiting for me when the waters clear. Which it is. (When the story gets published, I’ll post a link here)
Yet, I’m still days away from having the where-with-all to grab a tissue and wipe my face. The poor pillow.
It does get better. Read “Worst Hangover Ever: Day 44 of Traumatic Brain Injury”
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“I write to open up space for my heart and head to tumble, stumble, bounce, and roll. I write to explore the magic of our world and the power of words. I write to expose the tragic truth of life as well as the authentic abundance and joy. The stories are meant to inspire all of us facing the challenge of knowing and honoring our authentic self in a world of commands and demands.” –Jessica Sabatini