December 1, 2010. Prague, Czech Republic.
Blizzard. -13C. At work until 6. Bad traffic, accidents. Snow pours down, unrelenting in glittering glass shards. Outside, 15 min waiting for a tram. Not mine, but warm. People packed like sardines. Slush on the floor. Slippery. Madman driver. Injured my wrist holding on for dear life.
Tram stuck mid-road, huge intersection. Everyone tramples out, start walking toward Metro. I get back on tram. Metro station is not close. Snow and wind are fierce. 7pm, still sitting on the tram. Drunk old guy, old man with a cane, zombie, middle-aged woman with baby voice, two twenty-something hipsters, me. No heat. Door open. Freezing. Body goes in shock. I start shaking. My heart a jackhammer in my chest. I can’t breathe. Almost throw up, I’m going to faint. Drift out of my body. Look down. Fainting feeling heightens. Yank back into my body. So cold. Use my Sephora stress stick. Helps for a few minutes. Sick feeling returns.
I have to get out of here.
Talk to tram driver. One Metro is 10 minute walk. Other is 5 minutes. I don’t know the 5 minute one. Hope for the best. Exit tram. Snow and wind lashing my face with cruel icicles. I pop out of my body again. Terrified. Call husband. I walk in direction of Metro, see nothing. Too cold. Hubby sounds scared. I get more scared. Tells me go back to tram.
I’m going to die. Drift out of myself. Pull myself back. Re-get on tram. Panic. Credit on my mobile depleted. Battery in the red. This has to be a nightmare. I leave my body again. Desperate.
By grace of Taxi Driver Goddess I see one at the stoplight. But not me. Doesn’t feel like me, it’s someone else who runs into oncoming traffic. A desperate and crazy woman. Puts her arm out to make the cars stop. They do. Taxi driver gives her a strange look when she tells him address. She says something else. He understands. She gets in. It’s warm. Back in my body. So thankful. I want to tell the driver how thankful I am, that he saved my life. He speaks no English. 30 minutes to get home, but warm. Hubby calls me every five minutes since I have no credit and not enough cash for the bill. I drift in and out of myself. The phone ringing pulls me back. 836pm. Home. “God bless you,” I say to the taxi driver giving him a big tip. He smiles, maybe understands more than I thought.
Upstairs. Frozen. Freaked. Sensation this happened to someone else while I watched, clashing with the embodied memory of that extreme cold. -13C, felt colder with the gale winds. Realised that Death was all around me. Not a person, like Wendy’s murderer. But nature, timing, bad situation. Flashes of what could have been: collapsing in the snow, buried, not found until the spring thaw in March 2011. Collapsing on tram, weirdos steal my shit, ambulance takes too long, who’s going to finish American Monsters in Prague if I’m dead and these fuckers steal my notes.
I marvel at how the cold overrode all of my anxiety relief mechanisms. How my body started to shut down. Nothing I could do. Body and mind are connected, but extreme cold trumps them both. My wrist hurts.
I’m home. I’m safe now. Alive. I eat. Delicious meal by chef-to-be hubby. Throw up. Feel sad about the wasted food. Drink some tea. Nibble on a piece of chocolate. Stomach heaves again. Pass out on the couch.
Someone up there watches over me, of this I’m sure, but I don’t think they like me very much.