Friday, June 17, 2005

9:37 PM

I'm standing by the fireplace, my cane hooked over the mantel. Dinner's over, the kitchen's clean (throwing that take-out box in the trash was such a job) and I'm having another wild Friday night: drinking at home alone.

I take a sip of my bourbon.

My apartment's in its usual Friday state of clutter -- newspapers piled on the piano, piled by the fireplace; books in heaps on the floor. It'll get worse this weekend and hit the nadir on Sunday. Sunday evening's when I usually pick up the books and put the papers in a stack by the door. On Monday I'll come home and find the floor dusted and the newspapers gone and Mrs Brudzik's weekly note, written in the lovely penmanship probably beaten into her by some nun long ago. The place will be neat and clean and smelling of that orange stuff she uses when she dusts. And then the whole weekly cycle will begin again. Just the way I've arranged it.

Except that on Monday, Stacey will be working at PPTH again.

I finish my drink. Stacey. At PPTH.

Damn it.

Wasn't this morning bad enough? Just when I thought I'd settled this in my mind, when I thought I'd moved on like everyone keeps telling me -- and then she springs this on me. With you I was lonely.... Wasn't it enough that she came in and informed me that I Was The One and it Still Wasn't Enough -- with you I was lonely -- that apparently she found me incapable of even just keeping her company? Without her I was... I'm lonely. Now I'm going to get to look at her at work too. Maybe I'll be able to avoid her, but I'll still know she's there. When I buy my coffee in the morning, I'll know when she likes to buy hers (though apparently she likes sugar now.) When I go to get lunch, I'll know what she likes to eat. Even if I just get on the elevator and see the button for Legal's floor, it'll remind me that she's here.

It's time to move on. Well, how in the hell am I supposed to move on when the past keeps tagging along, murmuring you're The One, but you're still not good enough.....

Like I have anything to say about it. Has Cuddy planted some kind of tracking device on my cane or something? Snagging me like that on my way out the door; Stacey "leaving it up to me" -- and leaving it to Cuddy to ask my permission! Stacey knows how to get hold of me. She could have come to my office, she could have called, she could have paged, but instead she leaves it to Cuddy to put me on the spot. Did I really have a choice? No, it's not okay if you hire this experienced lawyer who knows the hospital and whose poor sick husband is getting treatment here, because I broke up with her five years ago and I still Haven't Moved On. I was supposed to take Stacey's dare and say that? In the middle of the lobby? Especially with Cuddy giving me that concerned look? Either way, Stacey wins. If I say yes, then she can say Oh, but it was okay with you. And if I say no, then I'm the bad guy, the selfish immature ex.

So why fight it? "Fine. Good." I said, and shoved my way out the door.

You were The One... but with you I was lonely....

It's one of the great tragedies of life: something always changes.

Once, Stacey and I both worked at PPTH, for the happiest two years of my life. Then things changed.

We broke up, Stacey left, then -- then the infarction. Things changed back, sort of; we got back together, Stacey did a few cases for PPTH, we fought all the time, we broke up again for good.

Something always changes. Stacey's back. She's married to someone else.

Which means that other things stay the same. Monday morning's going to roll around, and I'll still... still be crippled. And I'll never be good enough for Stacey.

Maybe Cameron was right the first time and that "you just couldn't love me" bit was just her trying to be nice. Maybe I am too messed up to love anyone.

I fill my glass and drink it straight down. God, this is pathetic. How long have I been standing here anyway? I set the glass firmly on the mantel. I've had enough.

I've moved on, I've accepted. There are some things I won't do, some things I can't do, some things I won't ever be able to do. Something always changes. But why is it always the wrong thing, and why always for the worse? Why can't something, just something, ever get better? Why this futility?

I lift my cane from where it's hooked next to the bottle, but instead of heading for the chair, I twirl it, toss it to my left hand, considering.

The voice inside my head is insistent. No. Fight it. Try again. Try something. Try anything.

Baby steps, that physical therapist used to say, baby steps, until I was ready to beat her with my crutches. And then, before I know it, I toss the cane back to my right hand -- it's, what, three feet to the chair? -- and, before I lose my nerve, pitch the cane across the room to the sofa.

I clumsily turn myself till I'm squarely facing the chair. I take a breath -- my stomach is churning, knowing what's coming next -- hesitate a moment, and then carefully step forward onto my right leg.

The remains of my quad start to protest, but it's okay, it's okay, I gather myself for the next phase and get ready to swing my left leg forward. I step off. The front of my right leg explodes with pain. The muscles are too weak, and my knee starts to buckle. I shift my weight to my left leg and grab my right knee but it's too late -- the damaged nerves are burning, screaming, nothing but pain, and I can't do anything with my right leg. I start to fall. I grab the arm of the chair and just manage to keep from hitting the floor.

My heart is pounding. I didn't plow the rug with my face, at least, but I'm still in an awkward spot. I bring my right arm around and push up on first the seat, then the other arm of the chair, until I can hitch my left foot forward and plant it on the floor. I start pushing myself back up again, panting as I drag my right leg forward a little.

I've got to sit down. I plant my left hand on the side table, grit my teeth, and hop my left leg over towards the piano bench, seeing stars as I lean a bit on my right leg for balance. Almost there. I straighten up a little, grab my right knee, and lower myself onto the piano bench. Made it.

The pain in my right leg rebounds, and I rock back and forth on the piano bench until my ears stop ringing and my brain clears a little. What a stupid adventure that was. I reach in my shirt pocket, pull out the Vicodin, rattle the bottle a little, and shake out a pill.

It's one of the great tragedies of life that something always changes. It's one of the other great tragedies of life that some things don't.

I look down at the pill in my palm. Hydrocodone bitartrate/Acetaminophen.... onset of action 20 to 40 minutes....

I suppose I should be grateful for the things that don't. At least I know what to expect -- if nothing else, it's good for perfecting stupid drug tricks. I toss the pill in the air, catch it in my mouth, and sit back to wait. Moving on, staying still, it always catches up with me. Might as well wait.


Blogger Renee said...

Cool blog! I love House! I am ready for the new episodes and i am so glad he was nominated for an Emmy. I REALLY hope he wins!!*sigh*

July 14, 2005 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Auditrix said...

Thanks, Renee! Glad you're enjoying the blog. Only two more months till the premiere on September 14....

Here's hoping that dear Messrs. Laurie and Shore both pick up their well-deserved Emmys (the show's also up for awards for the Pilot music and for the opening credits)

July 15, 2005 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That installment was awesome -- you totally nailed it.

July 15, 2005 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just beautiful, love the subtle and delicate- no words.

Detail is awesome and these last three enteries have been special- thank you.

Enjoy the backstory/Eileen parts too, well, all of it really!

July 15, 2005 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Benj said...

Awe and some, this has been a wonderful segmant of this fabulous blog, I loved it!

Blends perfectly with the aired ep and add so much more.

Top job, cheers!

July 15, 2005 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Auditrix said...

Thanks, Renee, Anonymous 1 and 2, Benj.... Thanks so much. I really appreciate it :)

July 17, 2005 6:53 AM  

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