You are probably familiar with Monday dread. I usually feel it Sunday night into the early Monday hours, but today I was hoping for a fresh start. Thanks to the snow, I’ve had a long vacation from school, but I spent most of it feeling unbalanced and lazy and anxious. Which then led to feelings of guilt since I had plenty of school and studio work that I should have been doing.
Someone was testing me this morning.
I started walking to my ten o’clock class, fully focused on my inner dialogue. “Gotta get back on track today, girl. Enough of this shit.” A man was handing out New Testaments on the corner of Tate and Walker. I said a bright, smiling “no thank you” and kept walking. My initial feeling was annoyance, but then I thought, “His intentions are good. It’s very sweet of him to come out here and try to save people. But no thanks.” And then I started thinking, “Why just the New Testament? There can’t be a New one without an Old one. And really I know the answer to this, but I’m just trying to catalogue the possible arguments for and against the Old Testament.” And then a girl on a bike stumbles onto the sidewalk in front of me and lies down in the grass. I was so lost in thought when I saw her, that I thought she was just lying there for the heck of it. I looked at her and then asked if she was ok. She was breathless, but said “yes.” And I noticed that she was sweating and fidgeting. She said she was just so tired. Another girl (E.) stopped, too and suggested calling someone. The girl, V., said no. I said that I could run and get my car and drive her somewhere and she said she couldn’t stand to sit. She had to keep moving, but she was so tired.
Ella grabbed her bike and I placed my hand under V.’s arm to steady her and held her hand. We walked to her dorm, about a half mile away. She said that her mother was already on her way, because she had a doctor’s appointment. We stopped when V. felt too exhausted to continue, then started again towards her dorm. A few times she almost cried. She must have felt so frustrated and hopeless. She couldn’t control her arms and legs. She couldn’t stop them from moving and sometimes, she said, it was painful.
Parts of her dorm were still under construction, so we had to take the long way round, and walk in mud and on ice. (Monday trials? or what?) And we finally got to her apartment. We kept her company while she waited for her mother. Finally able to rest easy, she became bright and talkative, quite the hostess. She was supposed to see a neurologist at Wake Forest today. We all exchanged contact information so that we could stay in touch. Her mother arrived. And I could tell that she was so distressed, hating to see her daughter suffer and not knowing how to help her. We all hugged and parted ways.
V. is a real warrior. She’s been dealing with this neurological mystery for months now and there she was, trying so hard to go about her normal routines. Surely, I can muster the strength to beat back my own anxiety and dread.