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FREE FALL

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That night, I dreamed I was standing around a party in a glass house with clear walls between rooms. The gathering was underway, the house crowded and noisy. I was looking for you. I felt a a sense of urgency. I did not know why, though I knew you were looking for me too. I milled around, gazing through walls until I spotted you. Our eyes met.

You looked at me. We shook hands and said nothing. Somehow, we did not need to speak. The dream ended. The next morning, feeling shaken, a voice deep inside told me to toe the line, to remain calm and go for it. There was no bravery here, no posturing, only me taking the path of least resistance. It was a solitary moment. I felt numb but intended to survive. Shouting in anger was pointless, moaning and groaning a waste of time. Life is not fair. There is no one to sue. There were a thousand questions on my lips and little certainty.

My heart shared shoes with my feet, and the clamor in my head was deafening. I felt the shivering presence of my mortality in the chilly examining room on that gray November day. The pursuit of calm was under way one more time. This was a period of intense self-absorption. But recognizing the needs of others, small people in particular, had to go to the front of the line. Thinking of you made it easier to think of myself. Because it offered perspective. One cannot fight in a prone position. Stand up, I told myself. Too many people try fighting while flat on their backs, just flailing away like a fish out of water. Individuals can panic and underestimate their own fortitude. Individuals in pain are unable to see their emotional strength, unable even to see the blue of the sky. I chose to lose you. I knew the truth would be knocking at the locked door soon enough.

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