It happened in Chicago on a cold November day. Perhaps I was distracted by the snow falling or worried about getting to the train station on time. It happened so fast, there was no time to avoid the crash. The severity of the injuries did not surface until I was back in Missouri
The three day trip had been a success. Locked away in a hotel room, diligently working on the final edits of my manuscript, I boasted to my friend that the changes would be finished by the end of November. It had been a work-in-progress for three years and my goal to publish my first novel would be accomplished soon.
Secure in the warmth of my home, I turned on my laptop and waited patiently for Windows to load so that I could admire the progress made in recent months. I waited and waited, and waited some more. Perhaps if I turned it off and tried again. Nothing. “Noooooooo!”
Images of the suitcase and travel bag tipping over before my departure flashed in my mind. The unfortunate sound of the bag crashing to the floor echoed like a cry for help in a forsaken canyon. I look at the blank screen and cover my mouth, stifling another moan. The small flash drive, overlooked when I packed for my trip, snickered at me from the shelf nearby. Yes, it did. It snickered as it taunted me, “You fool. You fool.”
I rushed my beloved to the nearest emergency room and waited anxiously as the patient was examined. The technician delivered the news. The injury was not fatal, but the prognosis was not good. It was a brain injury. While it could be repaired, all memory of the last four years would be erased. The black box would not longer recognize me nor all the hours we spent together.
The news sent me into a dark hole. Devastated, depressed, hopeless. For two months my fingers have been idle and my sole mate stashed away in the travel bag in a dark corner of a room, waiting for me to make a move. Week after week, my husband passed me adds as a form of relief. I tossed them aside.
I have considered my options. Show support for my loyal friend and pay for a new engine, hoping that nothing else fails. Trade it in for a newer model. The decision pains me. One side of my brain is enticed by the shiny new models that chant “Savvy touch screens, faster speeds, wealth of memory. Try it, you’ll love it.” The other side screams back. “Think about the cost,” The software’s in your drawer. It can be reinstalled. You recognize it; you’re familiar with it. You don’t like change anyway.”
My tears have dried. My mourning has turned into boredom. My disappointment in myself for not securing my work has formed new resolutions. So what is holding me back? Fear. What if I can’t find the words? What if I can’t get the router and printer to recognize my companion? What if I fail as a writer? What if no one cares if I ever write again?
I know the answer to the last one. I must write. As steady as the blood that runs through my veins, the urge to write beckons me. I hear my lonesome pen call my name. I caress it in my hand and then press it to the yellow pad of paper. Words spill forth filling the once empty lines and my first post in many months comes to life. Pen to paper, post to blog, short story to novel. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. The journey continues.