One Gray Day

A Poem by Rema MacLean:

She awoke at 4 a.m., long before dawn. The weather report was calling for rain all day today so she knew this wouldn’t be a good day. I better get out of the bed and get some things done while I can, she said to herself. Once the weather hits I’ll be no good for anything. Off to the kitchen, she went and started by making herself a cup of tea. I should probably get these dishes out of the way soon she thought. She enjoyed her first few sips of tea and ran the water in the sink to start the dishes. As she reached to get the dish soap she clumsily knocked over her full cup of tea. Here I go already she thought to herself, my coordination is already out of whack. She headed to the closet to grab the mop before the spill spread all over the kitchen floor and realized she had almost knocked a picture off the wall with the mop. Take your time, she reminded herself or you’ll just keep making more messes as you go along. She started the process of making another cup of tea all over again and managed to get through it without spilling more. Let me just make sure I keep this cup out of the way this time she chuckled to herself.

As the day continues

By the time she'd gotten through the few dishes, she knew from the tension now building in her neck that an attack was definitely on its way. Advil, she thought, I better get one in right away. With that thought in mind, she wobbled over to the window to open the blinds. She was curious to confirm whether what was happening in her body was reflected in the sky. She was pretty sure she knew before she got there. She scanned the dull gray sky that was filled with the promise of rain and recoiled when her eyes came across a small patch of white haze that made her shudder. Advil, she thought again, did I take that Advil? By now her cognitive skills are starting to be affected and she has no idea. Oh no, she says to herself, I better take a Tylenol instead just in case I’ve already taken that Advil.

The dreaded feeling

Not today she says to herself. Why today? Anxiety and guilt starts to well up in her as she knows she’s supposed to watch her grandkids later that afternoon. Maybe it won’t be so bad and I can ride this out she says to herself with hopefulness that quickly fades as she feels the knot in her neck tighten and begin to radiate outward toward her head and shoulders. She feels an urgency now to get something in her stomach as mild nausea starts to creep in. She scans the inside of her refrigerator quickly and her eyes land on the container of pea soup she had made the day before. Bless you, pea soup she thought to herself, you’re my savior right now. She poured herself a mug and popped it into the microwave. She cringes at the insufferable beep of the stupid microwave. Why do the manufacturers think we need this additional noise she muses to herself, are we all so stupid that we don’t know to open the microwave when it’s done cooking? She’s starting to feel the room spinning now and decides to take her soup and piece of toast to her room as she’s now gone to the point where it’s time to go back to bed. As she walks past her roommate's bedroom door there’s the distinct waft of cologne or aftershave seeping into the hallway. She feels a fresh wave of nausea running through her gut now.

A short prayer

Dear God she says to herself, what is so difficult to understand about not using scented products in this house. I’ve even gone so far as to post signs. As she sits in bed enjoying the salty taste of her soup her over-sensitive ears keep picking up all the sounds of the waking neighborhood. Each dinging of someone’s key in their ignition, the little yappy dog down the road, the neighbors pinging phone through his open window, all bringing a fresh assault on her nervous system as she cringes at every sound. Her head is now pounding heavily. She’s almost grateful for the fatigue that is now taking over her body as she hopes she will be able to fall asleep and escape her hell. As she snuggles down under the covers she imagines the heavy weight of what she envisions as a now black sky, pressing down on her and causing her limbs to feel like lead. Finally, she can hear the soft sound of raindrops on the windows. The comforting sound lulls her off into a blissful doze and she feels like she’s floating on water. Sleep, blissful sleep.


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