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In the heat of the night

August 07, 2006 | Category: In My Life

I stood in the cool lobby, our movie finished. Dee was headed to the bathroom line but not me. I leaned against the wall and watched the people go by.

A woman is having a heated discussion into her cell phone on the other side of the fake palm tree. I debate informing her that it has no soundproofing capabilities, because she seems to think it does.

When I was in college, one of my suitemates was a Cancer survivor.

At 15, a growth had been found and removed. She'd been given a course of radiation. And then showed no signs of any illness after that. I knew her at 21, and would sometimes make what I thought was a callous remark - like "that boy is a Cancer on the Sorority."

I'd look at her, and mouth "sorry" and feel awful.

One day, she pulled me aside and asked me to stop apologizing. "The thing is, it was a month of my life 6 years ago. I hear about chemo and all that, and I feel like an imposter."

On my other side came a couple of ladies chattering in French. Both dressed more fashionably casual than I could ever hope to be. My size huge shorts sagging down my thighs, the red paint half chipped from toes. I close my eyes and try not to hear either conversation.

Dee takes forever. I suspect she has been kidnapped by one of those infamous Florida alligators that can swim up the plumbing and attack women on the toilet.

"You don't have authorization for that," Intent cell phone lady says. "You didn't have to pull me out of a movie for this. You already knew the answer."

I hope to myself that at least she'd shown the good manners to have her phone on vibrate.

"I'll speak to you in the morning," she snaps. "At the staff meeting."

She brushes past me, grim and tired-looking, and into Theater 2. "Barnyard." And she's ALL about the jolly kid's movie, I can tell.

It's Sunday night, and Dee has been kidnapped by the Ghost of Ladies Toilet. Right here in Oak Park, Illinois, a grave mystery has occured. But I don't have the strength to go investigate.

I am an imposter. I feel it humming through my veins.

I was diagnosed with Lupus 10 years ago, and since the initial sickness have never really suffered since.

Sometimes tired, sometimes, clumsy, sometimes confused. And a funny red rash like a sunburn on my face for a few days.

This is not the disease that kills so many. That is always a Usual Suspect on the TV show "House".

I used to feel like an imposter to even say I had the damn condition.

But now, I am ashamed. I feel like somehow, I have brought this on. After years of whining about wanting to quit my job, I finally do - and cursed us. Cursed us, yes. I am being frivolous in thinking I could have that power, but yet I suspect it. Did I make this happen? This crazy rush to ruin?

The fast approaching disaster of our finances, our lives, or my health.

You see me standing here, a regular Midwest Housewife. Except I am just a new kind of imposter.

Behind my facade, my nonchalance in the glow of a fake palm tree, is a tangled web of "what if" and "what next".

She climbs up the stairs to me, her sapphire eyes snapping.

"Thank Heavens," I said. "I didn't know if the kidnappers would release you. After all, I couldn't make ransom. Couldn't come up with enough Flounder to fit their demands."

She looks at me, a wrinkled-nose confused smile. And then she slips her arm around me to help me to the car.

"That's OK," she confides. "I used my ninja Yoga powers."

"It's all good, Supergirl," I commend her.

And laugh loud enough that the French ladies paused, to glance at me.

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Tagged: Corporate, Mommy, Life


How do you write about bad things so beautifully?

Posted by: Suburban Turmoil on August 10, 2006 07:52 AM

no, you're not. And no, you didn't. These things happen. Usually when you need them least, because stress plays a part. But who's to say that job stress would be any less of a trigger. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Big hugs from me!

Posted by: caltechgirl on August 9, 2006 03:58 PM