I am waiting for Tom to get home. He’s 20 minutes later than he should be, so I assume he is dead.
This is how my mind works. A survival technique: Expect the worst, and you will be pleased when it doesn’t happen.
If it does happen, you’ll be ready.
You might call this worrying, but it is more focused than that. Worrying is generalized. This is specific: If a person is late, they are dead. It’s just a matter of waiting for the call.
There is no point in rationalizing. My mind has an answer for everything. Traffic, maybe? But not this late in the evening. He made a stop? But he texted me that he’d already gotten the booze for the weekend.
I play brain games on my iPad. I look out the window. I move the car so that he can have the better parking spot. These are acts of defiance, my way of saying, “No, I don’t believe you, morbid fears. Go away.”
Finally when it seems he could not possibly be arriving tonight, or ever, I decide to meditate. I set the timer for 10 minutes and close my eyes.
I see car wreckage. I see police lights. I erase everything and try again. Floating. Reaching for calm.
And then I know. He will be here before the timer goes off.
I hear the car. I open my eyes. 56 seconds to go.
He is here. Made another stop close to home for groceries. Got stuck behind a 15-mile-an-hour driver, as happens at night on the mountain roads.
“I’m glad you’re home,” I say. And smile.
Today’s penny is an old one. It’s been waiting for 41 years to get this special attention – the same number of years that the universe made me wait to find Tom.
[Clock image: Public Domain Pictures]