There are dreams that hang on; the emotion you felt in that subconscious realm seems to spread out and become real even when you awake. It diffuses and infuses itself into the fiber of your day. Your logical brain attempts to compartmentalize, find meaning and move on. Your logical brain is not your whole self however, and you struggle. Smiling, you grit your teeth and try to remember boundaries.
Time slows to a snail’s pace when you’re sitting in a room with a dying man. With the blinds drawn, doors closed, machines counting down there is no concept of day or night. You rely on little things – the shadows and the way they fall, the shift from early morning to afternoon programming on the muted television, the length of time your baby naps. You sit. Wait. Pace. You hum lightly under your breath, listen to the snoring, smile at nurses. When you emerge from the dark room to enter the fluorescent halls, you blink. The world has gone on. Everyone went to lunch and came back, they settle into their afternoon routines. Your brain is filled with numbers – number of breaths taken, number of meds administered, number of days left. The rain falls appropriately.
I took deep breaths in between moaning; in it for the long haul. I hunkered down, sang to myself, paced. The hours could’ve been minutes or years. I closed my eyes and swayed. Between contractions I spent my energy getting ready for the next, staying in the moment more than I ever had in life. Only once did I catch the glint of sunlight coming through the curtains and grit my teeth knowing that this meant a night had come and gone. Only this reminded me of the reality of time.