It's 4:30 on the dot. The it's-dark-outside, I've-gotta-get-up-in-three-hours side of 4:30.
Mostly, my world has spun back into place from it's topsy turvey space-wobble of last year that left me slightly off center. Okay, slightly more off center. Arms again cradle, milk flows, and I have refined my wickedly-cocked eyebrow to the extent that even the boldest of three year olds dare not sass. I work the long hours of my former glory, juggling loads of wash and scurried outings with the precision of a knife thrower. I have even managed to eek out some poetry and painting along the way. The rhythm of my days has pretty much fallen back into sync, and sinks, and the occasional toilet.
But it is nights like tonight that reach into my chest like a callous hand into a birdcage, grabbing hold of my heart to rattle it. Nights when everyone else lay sleeping and I keep vigil, checking my leg every hour or so to see if the tingling and twinges, the chills from hip to toe, and the flushes of cold and heat have gone from phantom feelings to something else. Something to be seen. Red skin, purple patches, swelling maybe. Proof.
They don't come too often, these nights. But tonight one came and has stayed. And so Sleep picks up her pillow and blankie and shuffles out the door to somewhere where her sweet release will be more appreciated. I lay in the dark, the whispered breaths of baby and the grizzly snores of her papa like two clocks ticking in separate time. I chase at the thoughts that come like flies, successfully shoo-ing most away. But some land. The ones of fluoroscopic images of nothing, because where no blood flows, no images appear; just veins, like branching trees abruptly pruned halfway to the sky. And other flies, more pesky even, memories of hours spent gasping for air that never gave relief. Flies that take the forms of funeral plans and orphans with my children's faces.
I talk myself down off of a thousand ledges. I pray. I reach for love and peace and memories yet to be made.
A bit ago even dozed off... for twenty minutes. A nightmare that I can't remember called me back to my solemn watch.
Guy surfaced from his log-sawing a moment ago and asked why I was up. "I'm a little freaked out. My leg..."
"Get an ultrasound," he most practically suggested before returning to his lumberjack sleep.
I will, in the morning, which will be here soon. Though not soon enough, what with all the flies.