Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Suddenly, the smell of urine overwhelms me, and I'm pretty sure that it came from the woman who just asked me for money. Maybe I should have given her some; it just felt like more than I could handle. My head is spinning.

    I am standing in line for a train. That wasn't the plan when I left my house. I didn't have a plan, really, outside of walking, but whatever it was, this definitely wasn't it. A train station. A train. A roundtrip ticket even though I don't know when I'm coming back. I don't know if I'm wearing deodorant, which probably means that I'm not, but I am sure I am not the one who reeks of urine.

    I do worry about that sometimes, turning into the woman who smells vaguely of urine. It's not something I pride in myself, but I have trouble sometimes. Getting to the bathroom on time. I get there fast enough, but my brain fails in the final seconds. It's ridiculous. I feel like an old lady, but I'm not. I'm young. I am youngish. I only turned 40 a week and a half ago, and isn't 40 supposed to be the new 30, not the new 80? My body sometimes feels like so much older than that.

    I have felt a quite crappy lately. The heat and humidity combined with harsh words from friends and my head started to spin and pound. My stomach turned, and I was - I am - so very tired, which means I haven't been walking, which made me feel even worse, so even though I could have stayed in bed all day and very well might have, I went out for a walk.

    Somehow, I found myself at the train station where I bought a ticket, a phone charger, and coke in that order. I bought a bagel and joined the line near a woman who reeked of urine.

    How did this happen?

    Two of my absolute favorite people drove in from Ohio for a football game Saturday. One ended up in the hospital with heel to hip blood clots. A hopital. A helicopter. Surgery. More surgery.

    His wife's heading home this afternoon. She has to go. They have kids who aren't here. The kids have school. She has work, and this is not their first medical emergency. Her husband has cancer.

    I offered to join my friend on the ride even though I can't drive and wouldn't be much help at all. I'm a 40-year-old in the body of an 97-year-old man who smells vaguely of pee.

    I offered to fly somewhere and drive back with her, too, in a few days if today proves too much and she's done being alone. She knows that I would. She considered it. She said that she felt better knowing I'm here, so I am here. In a line. On a train. Going to Baltimore.

    If I'd been thinking, I would have planned better. Worn deodorant. Brushed my hair. It is in a braid; I am marginally presentable. Enough for a hospital. I would have worn something else. Brought my rain jacket. Brought a charger and homemade cookies.

    If I had planned for this adventure, I would have worn lipstick and mascara. Tried to look slightly less tired and sick because even though I am tired and sick, I like to pretend.

    My head is still spinning. I am operating on autopilot and haven't a clue how I got here but apparently, my instincts kicked in. I know what I'm doing. I am built for things like this. Some subconscious part of my brain knows how to make things work, to get places, to provide comfort, and love.

    My body and brain know how to love with all of our being without requiring the slightest bit of thought on my part.
    • Share

    Connected stories:

About

Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.