I stay home from school today because I know I’m going to have a seizure. It lurks in my body, taunts me with its octopus’ arms, wants me in its clutches.
I lie on my parents’ bed on my stomach and watch Dialing for Dollars on tv, waiting.
The waiting is the worst. Like waiting for death only I think worse. Like waiting for an abusive husband to come home and notice you broke a dish. You know he’s going to hit you. It’s like that. I know the seizure’s going to come like I know my own name, where I was born, the sound of rain against a window. It has its own texture and taste and you hate it, but you’ve got to bear it, right? You don’t have a choice.
At some point, my mother comes into the bedroom with my lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup. After I eat, I set aside my plate and I lie back. I know it’s coming now, and just as I yell out “Help me!” I fall into terror and space. I am gone.
When I come to, I am still gripped with terror. I have no idea who I am, or who this woman is standing over me. I ask the same questions over and over again, “What happened? Where am I?” My mother answers my questions with patience and kindness and an undertone of sadness.
The force that has ripped through my body has left me completely and utterly spent. I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Every muscle aches. You never know how many muscles you’ve got until you’ve had a seizure. And my head screams with pain, a heavy pain, an all-encompassing pain, a dead weight on my forehead, entering my skull. Even with the blinds drawn, the light is too bright, too loud, an explosion. I feel like a hurt animal. And even though my mother’s here with her pained expression, I am dismally alone. I don’t know anyone like me, anyone that goes through this. I feel guilty. I feel like I’ve done something wrong.
“I’m sorry”, I say to my mother. She looks more pained. “Oh darlin! You don’t have anything to be sorry for”. But I do somehow. The guilt doesn’t go away with her saying this. I’m a problem, I think. I’ve created a problem. I’m making her life harder; I know it. And I can’t seem to change it.
All these thoughts though, they’re like gray moths fluttering beneath my mind. I’m too exhausted, too spent to really know they’re there.
Bit by bit the terror recedes, and I pull the covers up and fall into a dark sleep.