Seizure: being grabbed and tossed to the ground. In an instant, I became a bucking horse, forgiven everything except this moment. In exchange for a mouthful of blackened bacon sweating grease, here is a chaser of carpet and the hail of a table’s debris. It is unusual, to say the least, to awaken face down on a carpet, having been mounted by electrical shocks and rendered, pardon me, dumb and empty and useless. A man with a need for sugar and grease is of no use to anyone except the doctor or the mortician. My morning trip to Farmer’s market cost me a leg on the coffee table that my legs violent thrashing kicked off. The table showered me with a coffee mug, an ashtray, my laptop, half bottle of lemon water, a nail file. The tremors stopped even as my head continued spinning and I got up off the floor disoriented like I’d had a years’ worth of sleep in a handful of seconds. I surveyed my body from head to toe — what the hell am I doing here / what exactly just happened. I got up from the floor, surprised by the sudden newness of everything. I took aspirin, then unplugged the power strip from the wall seeing how the desk lamp had broken its neck and all bottles of liquid had spilled into a wet outline haloed around me. After dropping the aspirin, I needed to lay down again immediately. I couldn’t make the couch and chose the closest floor. Have you ever been confused by your own body? I was confused by more than that. I looked across the terrain of the carpet. The broken table, the broken lamp, the scattered ephemera and the dumb luck of not electrocuting myself, at least.
And then, I looked up at the silent black phone. Perhaps you would have called any number of friends or family or even an ambulance. I had no friends or family and the ambulance was a rubber banded roll of money chocked deep down in my throat I couldn’t get up. In truth, there is a hospital four blocks from my building… but, but, but. I looked at my phone, useful to me now as a toaster might be, and felt deeply sad. Right then, I felt sorry for myself. And I thought back to earlier that morning when I’d gone to the farmer’s market where I bought eggs and the aforementioned bacon which probably led to this absurd afternoons non-delight. Smirk now as I tell you I walked past a man shoving kale and arugula into a plastic bag and kept walking. I walked past another man standing in the middle of the flowing wave of shoppers. He was speaking so loudly into his cell phone it seemed like a performance. I thought I recognized him … and did. He is my biological brother. And as if this might explain anything, I walked past him while he stood blindly screaming: “What?? Should I give up my freedom to do what I…” and I walked past him, unnoticed and stopped listening after losing count of all the “I’s” shoved into his sentence. He never saw me, unable to see anything except his own issues. How to say: we are better as strangers than brothers? More familiar to one another in thought than face to face. As I walked past, I realized there were no memories I wanted to volley back and forth. There was nothing I wanted to catch up with. We emerged from the same biological muck, brothers in the dictionary yet strangers and useless otherwise. He had sons, a daughter, an ex-wife, plenty. He wasn’t adopted. He was wanted. Somehow it was just me who didn’t match the set. It was me to whom my “birth mother” said, “lets agree to disagree”, before handing me off like a casserole. I walked past him and bought cookies at a booth two tables down. I preferred sugar and the kind smile of a stranger vending baked goods and fresh pasta.
I didn’t think of my biological brother again until later that afternoon when I found myself on the floor, table broken, dishes scattered across the floor in an awful tableau. From my vantage point, I couldn’t think of a single name to call. The only thing I thought of was him shouting into his phone and with that, my body flattened against the rug. Depending upon him, I’d be good as dead. The spilled items agitated me. I pushed myself up, stumbled to the couch and waited. I lay on my back and listened to my body. Adrenaline is gasoline burning clean beneath my topsoil of skin. My heart thumped even down to my fingertips. I was glad to feel anything. I spoke to myself, not a prayer, but how you’d test a microphone, and I sounded okay. I flexed my toes. Whenever a wave of thought whitecapped I breathed slowly until it smoothed out. I watched the adrenaline burn and turn from red to orange to blue and then ease. The day outside was so pretty and so bright and so useless. I reached for my phone to make a doctor’s appointment then realized the next open slot was more than a week later. Once I could move comfortably, I called medical services to expedite my appointment. The woman-operator on the phone cheerily asked What Was Wrong. I didn’t want to talk to her, I wanted to speak with my doctor. She asked: It isn’t sexual is it? I used the word Seizure then the word Stroke and then a nurse was connected on the line and quietly urged me to call emergency. Turns out there is a hospital but four blocks from my front door. She talked me down from even trying to walk it, alone, especially before knowing what was wrong or whether it would happen again. She said my appointment couldn’t be changed. I hung up the phone and stared at the wall, breathing.
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