Call at 1 for test results, I’d been told, but when I called at 1 the secretary said the doctor was out and could I call back at 3? I didn’t really believe the doctor was out. At 3 I called back and the secretary said, just a minute, and put me on hold.
I should have remembered the song, something played on a Casio keyboard with only one finger. Waiting to talk to the doctor, I flashed on everyone else who was scared just then, all of us awaiting bad news, the universal brother-and-sisterhood of those to whom shit happens.
The doctor came on then and said I was fine but it wasn’t the way it usually was, it wasn’t like I’d been saved forever, it was just “not today”. Cancer tests are coming up Thursday; there’s a lot of traffic between now and then.
Deep fear is useful, like a forest fire. The fire passes and I find myself standing in a clearing with the scrub burned away. The previously important appears as rank hallucination. I wanted people to respect me. I worried about the size of my ears.
I was some kind of loony!
A thirty kilo suitcase. Thirty kilos--and no little wheels! Thirty kilos every day of my life, tugging that suitcase up and down stairs, hauling it onto the train. Nobody notices, they’ve got a suitcase of their own to muscle around. Thirty kilo suitcase and what’s inside?
Birdseed. Thirty kilos of very important birdseed.
The reward for panic is vision by firelight. In a blackened forest clearing, I scoop out birdseed by the handful. Even the suitcase, it turns out, is made entirely of sunflower seeds.
Leave the suitcase in the clearing. The birds will come. The birds will know what to do with all my very terribly tremendously important birdseed.