Two weeks ago tomorrow I fell through a crack in the earth. Things broke. A leg. The strap of a purse. A cell phone. A heart. The fall was swift, thorough. Complicated. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, there’s a sense that up is down and teacups are no longer to be trusted. The path from active and vibrant to existence on a couch is more than winding and certainly not one I’d anticipated. But this is no Wonderland and I’m no Alice. I’m simply a woman who was startled by how abruptly one’s day can intersect with an unlikely event. How one can so easily happen upon a wrinkle in the earth and fall … fall … fall.
I suppose it’s not so bad, this exaggerated drifting through days of painful surgical recovery, numerous leg casts, endless hospital trips. Immobility. Isolation. Loneliness. But there’s a cupboard full of books waiting for hands to open them. There are two award-winning manuscripts in my drawer, completed and just needing an agent to give them wings. A couch-bound writer has nothing but the gift of time to research agents, write query letters, anticipate that one “Yes” that can propel an unpublished story toward its rightful place on bookstore shelves. There are more stories to write. More ideas to dispel.
There’s also an exquisite humility that enters the heart when one is suddenly disabled, helpless, dependent on others for everything. Modesty has no place. Determination becomes an abstract concept. A clock insults the true length of a day for the bedridden. A Handicapped placard now hangs from the rearview mirror of my car — a car I can no longer drive.
So paint those roses red, boys. Call the Queen of Hearts. Deal the cards and pass the pills that make me small and make me tall. Pour me another cup of tea; I’ll be here a while. I’ll follow that time-obsessed March Hare until I figure out the logic of this place. Like Alice, I’ll flutter the rabbit’s fan and wonder if I’m still the same person I was before. I’ll grow and shrink and when it’s all done, I’ll either be a little crazier or a whole lot better for this unlikely adventure. And maybe, oh just maybe, I’ll figure out the Hatter’s unanswerable riddle of “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Certainly, if nothing else, this Dancing Bird with a broken leg will have plenty of time for pondering answers to such nonsensical questions.
Wish me luck.