At 12:30 PM I decide to walk to the Commons to get lunch. Walking on the spine, I make eye contact and smile to the few people I cross paths with. The lady ahead of me in line is ordering a very healthy stir fry dish, tofu, veggies, steamed rice, ginger, no sauce. I greet the cook at the pasta bar warmly. He is always very friendly to me. The lady ahead of me glances in my direction as I talk to the cook in Spanish. Whatever. I get meatballs, noodles, mushrooms, and a mix of Alfredo and marinara sauces. Take that, b*tch.
The cafeteria is packed. A sea of tables, with small groups of two and three people per table, pecking at their food, chattering endlessly, watching the news on TV. This is it, I am trapped in a perverse, Fortune 500 version of high school. I resist the strong impulse to drop my bowl of pasta and run the hell out of there. Instead, I busy myself with packing my lunch to go, taking care to include plastic utensils, napkins, a straw. On my way out of the cafeteria, someone calls out to me. It's an old coworker from LA. We exchange greetings. He has a cold, so I wish him a speedy recovery before saying goodbye.
On my way back to my cube, someone I don't know says hi to me and I smile. I congratulate myself on staying in control. Bad idea. Congratulations are not in order. It took a tremendous effort just to get lunch. What is worse, I am painfully aware that keeping my sanity is entirely my responsibility. I can't just have a breakdown. My husband has enough on his hands, he would have a hard time dealing with a three year-old and a crazy wife. Plus he is heavily influenced by my moods; if I go wacky, he may plunge into depression himself. My mom would not be much help either. For starters, she is 2,000 miles across the ocean from where I stand. And she doesn't know how to deal with this kind of stuff.
My doctor, I am seeing her tomorrow. Maybe I can finally put myself in someone's hands and let them take over my care. Please fix me, doctor, I am stuck like a broken record. But she can't help me unless I drive myself there. She can't fix me unless I tell her what is wrong. Not to mention I need to hand out my insurance copay.
Ultimately, it is still up to me to help myself.
Somewhere in the middle of the spine, my chest gets tight and my eyes water. I force the tears back and sing a song in my head to get my mind off track. There is no use crying in such a public place.