Living on the Edge

CliffA 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. I was in free-fall, on my way to being certifiable. I just didn’t know it yet.

9 comments on “Living on the Edge

  1. If this is how you write with a coach… continue! getting coached. I laughed as I read, not at you, but at your funny excuses. I have had excuses like that… okay, not the pig in the dishwasher, but I do now 🙂

    • linda.h on said:

      Ha ha…thanks, Kathleen. I wrote this before coaching…I hope coaching will help! LOL. Yes…funny excuses. I didn’t really use those but I thought about it! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Dear Linda
    Your narrative is compelling, fully integrated, a cohesive piece that we both know takes so much psychic work and so much healing time and uncommon courage.-Women will want to read on and on…you have a gift of capturing a psychic state of mind, or ‘myind’ my word for one’s stream of consciousness, as did Daphne du Maurier.

    The only thing to edit is “seeing my girlfriend Theresa would help”. Omit ‘my girlfriend’ since you previously tell us that.

    I congratulate you on what it took to ‘tell this’. The rest–your genius for writing–is as James Hillman reminds me–“given to you by the guardians upon your birth.” (The Soul’s Code). Now the world gets to benefit from your generous offering.

    Don’t stop! I will follow….

    Nancy Lee Segal

    • linda.h on said:

      Thank you so much Nancy! Thank you for taking the time to comment on this. Very helpful critique. ;o)

  3. Every time I read your blogs it’s as if I haven’t read them before and want you to just keep telling the story. The mark of a good book….I agree with Nancy…women will want to read on and on………..♥

  4. Thanks for this, Linda. I stumbled across it on LinkedIn via the Women’s Memoir Group. More, please!

    • linda.h on said:

      Thank you Heather! I’m going to post again this weekend. So glad you want to read my “stuff!” ;o)

  5. Phyllis Moss on said:

    Hi Linda,

    I too enjoy reading anything that you write. Francis and I just got back from our trip to Iceland – really fun! I’ll post some pics on Facebook.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    much love,

    • linda.h on said:

      Hi Phyllis,
      I was just thinking about you both. I would LOVE pics of your Iceland trip! Post soon! :o)

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