Monday, November 19, 2007

the vanishing point

It was the second week of March 2000. It was halfway through a Friday afternoon and I was sitting with the lights out, typing words into my computer, trying to delay the inevitable weekend. For once, I wasn't crying. There were papers in a semi-circle around my chair and papers on the desk, and, when the phone rang, reaching for the receiver, I almost knocked over a stack of books.

"Hello, Niobe," said the voice at the other end of the line. I recognized the voice.

"Sorry," I said, "I'm in the middle of something. I can't talk right now."

And in the space after I hung up the phone and before I had the chance to feel anything at all, I could see exactly what was about to happen, saw the future distilled into a cluster of silent and motionless figures, viewed from a great distance, bathed in a cold, clear light. What I saw was this: that love and friendship, hope and faith were failing planks on a narrow bridge, none of them remotely strong enough to bear my weight.


And what about you? If you think back, can you remember the exact moment when you realized that it had all gone wrong somehow, somewhere, and that, whatever else might happen, it would never truly be all right again?

39 comments:

Beruriah said...

Well, yes, certainly. January 3, 2007, 8:31am.

Tash said...

I'm with beruriah, except for the date. Mine would be sometime on the afternoon of Tuesday, 2/13/07, and then again, the evening of 2/18/07.

Sara said...

That's an easy one - May 2 of this year, when I realized that terrible things could and would happen to me.

Jitters said...

December 26th, 2004. The day of the deadly tsunami and my first miscarriage. Tragedy was abound. I felt so selfish for feeling my loss my loss when I saw others lives ripped apart.

LAS said...

May 15, 2006.

Lori said...

I know the dates of my turning points, but I don't consider that things will never truly be all right again.

I'm sure I did at the time, though.

(not sure that makes sense.)

Elizabeth said...

March 17, 2005, midmorning.

"When I come to terms, to terms with this / My world will change for me / I haven't moved since the call came / Since the call came I haven't moved / I stare at the wall knowing on the other side
The storm that waits for me

"Then the Seated Woman with a Parasol / May be the only one you can't betray / If I'm the Seated Woman with a Parasol / I will be safe in my frame

"I have no need for a sea I have no need / I have my little pleasures / This wall being one of these"
~ Tori Amos, "Parasol"

Elizabeth said...

Errata: The first two lines of the second stanza should read:
"I have no need for a sea view / for a sea view I have no need"

My Reality said...

May 15, 1992, shortly after 1AM.

painted maypole said...

oh niobe. beautifully written.

and yeah... october 2003....

T said...

July 9th, 2001, Mid May, 2002, September 13th, 2004.

I don't know that I thought it wouldn't be truly all right, but they changed my life completely.

Aurelia said...

The day I was born.

Then again, I don't remember that moment, so how about anytime in the next 39 years?

Angel Mom said...

July 5, 2000, sometime in the early afternoon

Furrow said...

Yesterday. And tomorrow. And last month and next year. I feel that way all the time. I overreact, though. But silently.

Julie Pippert said...

Yes. I have a list of times and dates. In fact, I either tossed or buried the journal. I don't know which.

I do know the good dates, March in both cases. December in both cases.

I also know when I realized, fro real, I was doing it all wrong. And made a change.

(HUGS) to all.

Julie
Using My Words

Grad3 said...

I don't remember the date or time but I remember everything else. Early April 2003... I was standing in the backyard on a warm, sunny day talking on the phone with my aunt. It hasn't been the same since.

Magpie said...

I'm not so good at that kind of self-reflection. I remember moments though, when my heart stood still.

Christine said...

october 17, 1989, december 10 1994,
september 2000

Coggy said...

6th September 2007, 2:30pm, with the words 'I'm sorry I can't find a heart beat'.
Then 8th September 2007, 11:31am, no words needed that time.

Rachel said...

6:08 pm Sunday February, 25 2007.

Casey said...

Late May, 1998. The room was dark. My friend was sitting cross-legged on the couch, crying.

I said, "Yeah. Me, too."

Those words started an avalanche. I'm still digging my way out.

Emily R said...

FOr me, it was May of this year, but it was a good change in the end. I realized that my relationship with my sister was over, but it allowed me to heal.

LawMommy said...

I know the day and the place where a huge part of me broke, where a piece of me became broken - and I believed I would never be whole again.

It was 1991, I was 19, his name was Tom, and he kissed me like the world was ending and then he ran, literally, down a hill and out of my life and I never saw him again. And he became a priest instead of marrying me, and I have never been the same again.

He broke a piece of my soul, and he shook my faith in G*d, and while that part of me is still broken, I think the rest of me healed up around it...most days, I don't feel that broken place in my heart anymore.

Gretchen

slouching mom said...

late february, 1992.

Anonymous said...

I was 7. It was 1985. My dad was sitting at the table reading the paper. My mom and my sister and I were sitting at the table eating breakfast. My dad stood up went to the middle of the kitchen and lied down on the floor, his heart stopped and he quit breathing. The paramedic brought him back to life. He was 39 at the time. He is now 63. He hasn't been the same since and our whole lives changed in that one moment. I will never forget that moment and realizing that sometimes life punches you in the face. You think the worst is over and then life continues on and you realize the worst is not the incident, but what comes after, days and months and years later. Some small part of me was not surprised and even expected it when my Logan was stillborn 19 years later.

Bon said...

1993. and 2000. and 2005. each time a rush of things, drastic changes and tiny things, all combined to make a perfect storm pointing out the failing planks, the falling. and by that calendar we were due for a reminder next year, but we may've rushed that one, skipped ahead a bit.

i seem to keep needing to learn the lesson over...damn hope springing eternal.

Wordgirl said...

Strangely for me it wasn't with my father's death, or with the tumult of my childhood that followed -- it was on May 5th, 1995 sitting in the old volkswagon golf my boyfriend and I owned, on the hill in the parking lot of an arts supply store in Boulder, in the pouring rain, eatching the rivulets of rain on the windshield, the pounding rain -- and I asked him if he really loved her, and he said yes -- and the five years of our life together crashed in on me with every other loss I'd ever felt but never grieved for. I don't know that I recovered for ten years -- and until I met my husband everyone else before was, in large part, a way of healing my heart.

S. said...

My sister took my suitcase out of the trunk. We forced ourselves to hug and I walked to my train. After that the words were gone.

Megan said...

It's funny, it wasn't when Georgia was stillborn – March 1, 2007.
It wasn't when my parents split or my dad died or when I cared for my grandfather as his only immediate family through is final illness.
It was when I miscarried on Sept. 5 that I that I knew that I'll never be able to think of myself as lucky again.

Wabi said...

The first time? Early evening, December 1977. I was six. Television playing hockey, Christmas decorations half up. My mother's light, sing-songy "Hello? Oh, hi!" in the other room when the telephone rang, followed by a gasp, and "Oh no." Followed by silence. Then, "No. NO. NOOOOO."

She cried hard in the bathroom a long time because she thought we couldn't hear her in there. Then she flushed the toilet, ran the tap for three seconds, and she emerged with the cold eyes and sharpened tongue that I came to remember her by.

I know you can hear me... said...

I agree, that was beautifully written.

Do I remember for me? Like it just happened. I am plagued with a memory, especially for details, that could rival any video camera...which is not nearly as great as it sounds...

Robyn said...

January 31st 2005 with a follow up kick in the guts barely two weeks later. Only now beginning to come out of the hole but I'm a different person...whole, but different.

Kami said...

I don't know. There are moments that have changed me forever, but a part of me must be still hoping it will be all right some day. I must be hoping, because I am still scared that I will never be healed from the years of IF and loss. I know I am happier now than I was a year after we lost our son and by "now" I don't mean since we got pg, I mean since I hit bottom and started to find happiness again.

Cindy said...

July 31 2000. The day the phone call came telling us my mother and stepfather had been killed.

Renae said...

May 6th, 2001 - somewhere around 2 am. Funny thing is I knew it was coming. I had been expecting it for almost 13 years. But I was not in any way prepared. I'm still not.

Patti said...

There are a few: 1978. 1987 and Nov. 15th, 2007.

Heather said...

March 12, 2005. I was in the hospital looking down at my 14 week old baby in a plastic bowl. We left and everything outside was bright, green and alive. My husband said I had never looked so . . . sad.

charmedgirl said...

strangely, my moment is also not dead baby (not that strange, apparently).

it's after moving into our first home with three small kids...and i never felt so lonely in my life as i did as a stay-at-home mother.

Maddie's Mom said...

May 13, 2006 I felt as though it was a dream. I wake up to see a little baby in my arms. She was so small yet so perfect at the same time. Then I saw my sister that had passed away a year earlier and I knew I wasn't dreaming. My hopes of the future were gone.