There is a lot of beeping going on in the waiting area I'm occupying. No one seems to be concerned about it. Half the people don't even seem to be aware of it. It stops for a moment and then there it is again, loud and annoying and piercing my heart.
The time lapse between the screeching is variable. Sometimes I get more than a minute of peace. Sometimes I don't. The tone is just painful enough that I have to cover my ears. Typing to you is impeded. Another reason to be annoyed.
It's the same sound that the monitors in my room in the ICU made. Insistent. Demanding attention. Sounding the alert. I'm wondering where the TSA or the LAPD or the Southwest maintenance people are hiding. They are certainly not racing to the source of the noise.
I am no longer able to separate the sound from the emotions I feel. Sirens bring me right back to the Safeway parking lot. I'm cold and I'm lying on the ground and Christina's bright eyes are staring back into mine. The sound may stop; my visions linger.
Big Cuter used to love to hear the ambulance sirens going by; I'd drive home the long way, past the row of hospitals and nursing homes, hoping to increase his chance to point and smile and laugh. I'm not sure I'm going to be doing the same thing for my still-to-be-conceived grandchildren.
Dropping cutlery sends sweat shooting out of my pores. Flop-Sweat we used to call it. I don't know why. Big beads of perspiration trickling down my back and my forehead and my armpits for no real reason. My self is anxious even as my conscious mind is at peace.
Surviving a mass shooting is a noisy, chaotic business. I'm able to watch tv and not flinch at the gunshots by now, and that is progress. But the suffering victims put me over the edge. I'm back to watching with my hands in front of my face.
Crying babies, incensed parents, fuming customers, angry delayed travelers - their fury feeds the piece of me which is madder than I have ever been. They stoke the fire and tend the flames and I am gritting my teeth and scrunching my cheeks and clenching my jaw and just try to ask me a question..... or perhaps you had just better wait for another time.
The real world is full of sounds which I can no longer ignore. I don't know why I am surprised by the strength of my reactions, but I am. It seems that the bullet holes were not the only manifestations of the injury which has been done to me.