The Girl I Promised I'd Be

So, real talk - I haven’t been feeling like myself lately. I’ve been feeling down, insecure and just kind of sad.   On top of that my back plate has been acting like kind of a jerk.  When the weather fluctuates and there is even a little bit of moisture in the air, I feel like this plate is expanding and the screws that keep said plate in place dig themselves into all of the nerve endings in my lower back. I try hard not to get too worked up about it.  This pain is not a surprise. It is my body now, and I really can’t do anything about it except allow myself an extra glass or two of malbec that night (who am I kidding, its three you guys – I give myself an extra three glasses. I got run over by a truck for God’s sake, a gal deserves a drink!)

A few nights ago, I was in such a bad place that I indulged in feeling sorry for myself. Like super sorry for myself.  So much so that I didn't go straight home and instead I just wandered around my neighborhood like a creeper, mumbling about back pain and adopting puppies and that I just need to lose 10 pounds to be happy (which is my mantra when I am feeling all of my sad face feelings.)

I kept my head down for most of my amble around my hood, but suddenly something across the street caught my eye. I looked up and saw a man wedged between the door and the stairs on his front stoop. It looked like he was struggling to get himself out of the door by scooting himself across the ground without the use of his legs, and it wasn't going well.  I could hear his exasperated sighs from where I stood.  I felt embarrassed for catching this middle aged man struggling, but before I could register the embarrassment I was crossing the street to his front door.

“Sir, I’m sorry to bother you – but can I help you in any way?”

He looked at me through thick black framed glasses and sized me up.  I am about 5’4 on my best day, and didn’t look capable of giving him the help that he needed.  Reluctantly, he told me that he needed to be lifted from the doorway to the bottom of the stairs.

Now, once upon a time, I lifted 250 pound men off the ground as a party trick (its all in the legs you guys) so I felt unnecessarily confident that getting this slight man down the stairs would be something I could handle.  I was also conscious that there was a good possibility that I would hurt us both, but I knew that I had to try.  He had been put him into my life for a reason, and there was no way I was going to walk away.

In the hospital I had no use of my legs, and I had gotten moved by other a lot, and I knew the way that I liked to be handled, and I took my hospital knowledge and I lifted him the way that I had liked to be lifted.  One arm looped under his arms and an arm around his lower back to support him.  Before I made any movements, I asked him if this was was ok, and if he felt comfortable.  He said that it was ok.  I was suddenly terrified, but I'd come this far - so, together we moved from the ground to an almost standing position, and he leaned into me.  He smelled like cigarettes and Old Spice aftershave, his lime striped shirt was starched and ironed and in that moment I felt needed, and I felt strong.

As we moved my lower back started to burn with the added weight of his body, and the pain seeped into my hip joints and spine. and we carefully went down the four steps down to the pavement. He asked me to seat him on the bottom stair, he was waiting for someone to pick him up, I went up and fetched his canes and placed them next to him.

He put out his hand for me to shake and asked me my name, and if I lived in the neighborhood.  For some reason that brought tears to my eyes. He was real, I was real, this just happened. I helped my neighbor. I blinked back the tears and told him my name, and that I lived around the corner.

“Thanks for your help Katie; I’m Sal. I hope I see you again.”

I told him that I was happy to help, and that I hoped I would see him again soon too.  I kept my shit together for the 40 feet that it took for me to get to the corner, and I turned right and I felt like something inside of me became unmoored.  I couldn’t stop moving, and I cried like I had invented crying.

I knew that 7 years ago I probably wouldn't have stopped for Sal.  Not to say that I wouldn't have wanted to, but I think that his need would have never caught my eye.  I would've been too focused on my own pain, on my own problems to even be aware of another person.  Since getting run over, I feel like the world and I have an understanding – whenever I start to feel really sorry for myself for small things, I get reminded about how beautiful life it is, and I’m given the opportunity to be the girl that I promised myself that I would be. A person who makes the world slightly better for having me in it.

That night I walked into my kitchen, pulled out the bottle of champagne I always have chilling in my fridge and poured myself a pint glass of my favorite beverage.  I watched as the bubbles rose to the top and then exploded into nothingness in a steady stream. I tipped my glass to Sal, to the world that gave me another shot, and to trying, everyday, to be the girl I promised I'd be.
No matter what, its always worth trying. You could surprise yourself with what you can accomplish!

Comments

  1. Wow. What a powerful experience. Sal is really lucky you happened to be walking by at that moment!

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    1. Meghan you are so kind to have read the blog, and thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! I feel like we were really lucky to have run into each other in that moment! Life is so beautiful sometimes! I hope you have an outstanding day :)

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  2. Another great read. I really look forward to these now....I miss you Katie! Keep living life and having a blast. Besos. Corey.

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    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness Corey, you are the most best! Thanks so much for reading, and I am SO DELIGHTED that you're enjoying them - that makes my heart swell :) I cannot wait to see you in a few short months! Counting down the days! xoxo

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  3. You continue to amaze me with your strength and courage (and flawless writing style, if I may add). How you continue to make the best out of every day and find happiness in little moments, makes me so proud to be your friend! You are a reminder of God's grace and mystery; and Sal, like many of us, will find it difficult to forget your thoughtfulness and warmth. Girl, you are more than the girl that you promised you'd be!! Don't forget it.

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