Over the Edge

English: Purbeck : The Pinnacles & Chalk Cliff...

English: Purbeck : The Pinnacles & Chalk Cliff A steep drop – so don’t get too close to the edge of the cliff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A year passed, and we were still living with the guy I met at work…the one who rescued me from Michael the Archangel.  We just sort of settled in, pretending to be a family.  Except for flinching every time he tried to put his arm around me, I thought I was doing fairly well, considering.  Then, as fate would have it, I got invited to a Tupperware party.

I really disliked Tupperware parties.  Oh, I loved all the little squares and rounds with their matching, color-coordinated lids.  I just disliked the parties.  I always felt guilty when the hostess looked me in the eye and told me how many points my friend would get if I would just host a party of my own.  I also hated the drive home, thinking about what a disaster my kitchen cupboards were, and how, if I only had a spare $327, I could reorganize my entire food supply.

Weaving my way in and out of the typical Los Angeles area work traffic, I checked my watch.  I hoped my friend Theresa would already be there when I arrived.  I knew that she would be the only person I knew at the party.  What I didn’t know was that after this particular Tupperware party, it would be years before I would go anywhere alone again.

The music I usually enjoyed blaring from the car radio was starting to get on my nerves, so I flipped it off.  The normal traffic noise seemed louder than usual.  I checked to see if my windows were up.  I began thinking of all the excuses I could use to leave the party early.  My husband is ill.  I’m not feeling so great myself.  I need to help my son with his kindergarten homework.  Our pet pig got stuck in the dishwasher.

By the time I pulled up to the house, I had my excuses in order, but I was hoping that seeing my girlfriend Theresa would help me forget about my nervousness and I wouldn’t have to use any of them.  I walked into the house and put my coat and purse where I could get to them quickly.

The women were clustered in little groups of two or three.  Theresa was nowhere to be found, and no one made a move to try to include me in their conversations.  I felt invisible, and alone.

I got up and looked out the window.  Where was Theresa?  What’s wrong with me tonight, anyway?  I began to imagine myself flippantly tossing out one of my excuses and casually walking across the floor, picking up my coat and purse, and heading out the door.  “Ta-ta!  Hope to see you gals again soon!”  Instead I felt glued to the chair.  I was positive that every one in that room would know I was lying and give me a silent glare.  I finally got up the courage and mentioned to a woman sitting next to me that I had to go, grabbed my coat and purse, and almost flew out the front door.

THE EDGE, there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.

Hunter S. Thompson

As I got into my car, I started to feel as if I couldn’t breathe.  My thoughts raced through my brain so fast it seemed as if I was interrupting myself.  My palms were slippery on the steering wheel.  I pictured myself passing out.

The traffic on Hawthorne Boulevard had gotten worse.  With each red light the feelings became more intense.  My arms and chest began to feel numb.  I wondered if I was having a heart attack, at twenty-three-years old.  The urge to jump out of the car and run down the street screaming for help was so strong that looking back, I don’t know how I kept from it.

I managed to make it home and got into bed, pulling the covers over my head.  My breathing slowed, and eventually I got to sleep.  The next morning, I hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and lay in bed for a few moments, trying to get my bearings.  I had a vague feeling of unease.  Did I have a bad dream?  No.  Is something wrong with one of the kids?  No.  Oh yeah, last night!  With that thought came the memory of the nightmarish rush home from the party.  As I replayed it all in my mind, my breath began to accelerate.  Then my hands went numb. I froze. I had walked too close to the edge one too many times. This time, there was no regaining my footing.

14 comments on “Over the Edge

  1. Luann Long on said:

    That is great Linda, I can’t wait t hear more.

    • Hi Luann, I posted this a few moments ago. It is so neat to think of you reading it within a matter of minutes. We will always be connected. Stay tuned because you will soon be appearing in the story of my journey.

  2. Maureen Hendricks on said:

    I love the way you write. I know I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. I’m very sad that I was not around when you were going through this. I was going through a hell of my own… at 23 years old. As you write about your life, your experiences will help us all with our understanding, empathy and compassion. Love you bunches!

    • Maureen, I wish you were around too…we could have “been there” for each other. I hope I see you again some time! Thanks! You encourage me to keep writing.

  3. Linda, this really helps me to understand even more of where you were at emotionally whenI first met you and how far you had already come. It also gives me more insight, as a coach, of anxiety attacks and how utterly terrifying they truly are…keep writing, girl!!! ♥

    • Hi Dixie, when I think to where I was emotionally when you and I met, I don’t feel like I had come that far yet…but maybe I had! Thanks for commenting!

  4. Linda, can’t wait to hear more of your story when we do the podcast. Your writing is beautiful.

  5. I thank God for the empathy he has given me and my own fearful experiences so I can better display HIS LOVE and outstretched arms to others. I am so thankful I respond so differently now when I read these things or talk to people struggling with their emotions. My heart actually started racing while I read this…I will be reading more! You have a gift of writing. 1 Peter 5:7 is a verse I cling to. May God continue to bless you as you write to help others.

    • Thank you Eva. Your comments mean so much to me! My heart actually starts racing sometimes when I write about this stuff! But like you, I respond so differently now. My joy is to give hope to others.

  6. Ok, now I understand that this is your story told in segments. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Hi again, At the beginning of some posts I remind readers that this is a memoir and they should start at the beginning. I think I may need to do that in each post. Kind of feeling my way through this process. Thank you Pastor Sherry. This is helpful information!

  7. I understand that edgy fear of being in a room feeling totally alone, even with family. I love your writings and learning about your emotional capture and how you will escape. Your experience is so much more deeper than I but Linda I get it. Thanks for opening up.

    • Hi Jane,

      “Emotional capture.” I love how you put that. That is really what it felt like to me…like I had been captured and was a prisoner of some unseen and unknown enemy. I will escape, and I almost can’t wait until I get to that part! Thank you for your kind comment. I believe you get it.

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