The house lights go down. The anticipation climaxes, as the long-awaited show is about to begin. Scanning the crowd through a haze of smoke I see him standing on the floor. Cloaked in darkness a light shines from his face as his gaze meets mine. He smiles that irascible smile of his I know so well. Immediately, I go to him. No, instantaneously, I go to him, as is only possible in dreams. Wrapped in his embrace, I tell him he is the man. The Man. I forget WHO ELSE! could possibly be there, for now I have forgotten even the headliner. Jeff Beck is the man. The Man. The only one I’d pay to see play anymore.
He seems to read my thoughts in my dreamy confusion. Motions with his eyes that he wants to take me backstage. Whispers in my ear, “Isn’t there a guy…or a girl waiting for you somewhere?” I think for a minute and reply assuredly that whoever it was is jealous of me now.
My pounding heart goes from a Tom Tom’s pitter-patter to a BOOM BOOM bass drum as our lips meet…
Oh my God, what is happening to me? The agony of the previous three hours, the expurgation of the entire table of contents of my bodily fluids, the feverish chills and pounding blood pressure in my head and in my limbs. What the fuck is happening to me? BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. This throbbing pain in my skull won’t quit. Am I fucking dying? Oh God, please don’t let me die. Not here. Not now, in a stranger’s bed.
It’s dark now. Quiet.
I hear hushed noises outside my door. “How’s she doing?” “Not good. Not good.”
I try to be still to find out what they are thinking, what they aren’t telling me.
It’s no use. I can’t be still. The enteritis is in full-fledged war with the leukocytes within. The battle wages as I kick and thrash at this unseen, internal enemy. I damn it. I curse it. I struggle to make peace with it. Fighting the bedclothes into a sweaty clump wrapped around my leg. I heave. Earn a few moments peace for my valor.
Backstage, the tables are filled with celebrities, mostly lesser known. They all recognize Jeff but not the beautiful woman at his side. Except for one. He sits behind the cloth-covered table, smiling, hands folded in front of him. Those famous blue eyes smiling the look of recognition. Those twinkling eyes and that sparkling smile. Paul. Newman. I will just allow you to look at me with those eyes for as long as you like. The demure smile crossing my face tells him everything he needs to know about me…
Visions of the offending egg bubble and gurgle. Uh, make it stop please. Please. Deliver me from this evil. Flying clouds of fried egg white sunny yolk centers sailing across a dark blue plate special sky.
Sunny side. Over easy.
Cook it well or you’ll be queasy.
The thought of Paul Newman watching me makes Jeff jealous and he rushes to me. He begs me to give him my phone number. I try to think about all of the ramifications of such a request. I struggle to tell him of our compatible synastry. About his Sun and my Venus but I’m losing him. I feel him fading away. I pull him back in with the enticement of my phone number. I bargain with him. I offer to give him my phone number if he would give me his address. Of course, I’d only write to him regularly I’d never drop over unannounced, him being all the way over there in England and all. No. Really. Of course, you can have my phone number. He kisses me again full on the mouth…
Wait. How long have I been sleeping? Have I been sleeping? Who would dare to call this fitful somnolence sleep? Not any decent person. The pain battle wages on in my muscles and joints, the stomach feels like it’s been kicked from the inside. I try to bargain with God. Please don’t let me die. I will never….
Oh. Fuck. God. I’ve got to watch my damn mouth there are children in the house. I’m probably scaring them. I’m fucking Linda Blair. Twelve hours of wretched retching. I’m freezing. Why aren’t there enough fucking blankets? Why aren’t four blankets fucking enough? It is dawn. I hear the birds outside and it tells me the window is open. I’m too cold and too weak to close it. I shiver until my guardian angel comes to close it.
Why does every sound in the entire house reverberate in my head? My fever is pitching this boat of swill. All navigation systems down, my anchor a bucket.
The cars. The trucks. The motorcycles and their bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic. Riding in the car listening to the music that makes me think of someone else. Bytes of images jigsaw puzzled in between compartmental units of storage rings and the time space continuum that the yogis solved hundreds of years ago, by bobbing and weaving in and out of time constant.
Remember the techniques. Struggling to find the inner sense of peace and balance. Om. Om. Ohmygodwhatisfuckinghappeningtome? Hurl.
Scouring all of my evil deeds and finding none worthy of this torture. Recalling every other time in my life when I was nearly as sick and trying to pep talk myself into thinking that I’ve survived worse.
Or have I? The fever is causing my blood pressure to peak out. Damn. He worries about my blood pressure on a normal day. I better not even tell him that I feel like my arteries are going to explode any minute in a bloody mess. This fucking incessant pounding. Pounding. POUNDING. Am I having a fucking heart attack? Is that what this is? What are the symptoms of a heart attack? Pain in arms and shoulders. Check. Shortness of breath. Check. Pounding heart rate. Check. Am I over-reacting or ignoring the obvious? I can’t fucking tell it just hurts like hell. Should I get to the ER? Or is that being silly? Should I tell them to call for the paramedics? Do doctors even make house calls? Why do they paint walls and ceilings different colours? Does it make the room look bigger? Green is a mellowing colour. The ceiling fan reminds me of a daisy.
My hands they felt just like two balloons.
A White Sulpher flits and dances outside the window and I can see it momentarily through the only small opening in the light blocking curtains. It tells me two things. One, there is a semblance of daylight and continuity going on outside these four walls and two, it was a sign of hope, that I would not be forsaken and that I would come out of the hell I had plunged into. Thirty six hours ago.
I try to keep up with my daily yoga practice. Have I missed any days? What day is it? I do the poses in my head. Mostly just to occupy my mind. Test the synapses. I manage a supine tree pose and savasana, corpse pose. I practice deep breath pranayama. But the breathing just feels like hyper-ventilation. It hurts to breath. It hurts to think. Sleep.
Jeff kisses me goodbye. Tells me he will call. I know he will.
A dove’s coo-ooo coo coo outside offers me a steady reassurance of renewal. The realization of the concern of others would soon filter into my awareness. And that and the love of all my dear ones, including Jeff and Paul and Linda and the yogis and the butterflies would continue to nourish me and be my mainstay throughout my long life.