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emergency contact

I started out about eight hours behind yesterday. This happens when the newsletter’s almost done, when all the columns and email starts flooding in, when I’ve got a dozen extra tabs open on my browser and paper starting to curl over the clip in my clipboard. And yesterday was scheduled: 8:30, repair-dude visit, hopefully not a major one that would overlap into 10:30 brunch with a friend, followed by hardcore proofreading and consolidation of a million bitty-bits of information that would free me up to finish my article last night.

And then my friend showed up and her face was red, brilliant sunburn red. It stood out against her blonde hair. “Where’s the nearest walk-in clinic?” she asked. She put her hand to her chest. “Something’s not right.”

We sat together in the waiting room and then later in the exam room. Referrals were made, prescriptions dispensed. It’s a scary thing, when your body revolts, especially when doctors wear looks of real concern. It’s hard to think of anything else, especially not the things we were planning to chat about over hot drinks at my table. We came back to my house, ate little lunches, and spent gentle time waiting and talking until mid-afternoon, when she picked her daughter up and went home to rest and heal. 

After she left, I was still keyed up. The house felt so empty just then. I cleaned up after our meals and turned on the radio for the sound of other voices. And I fell farther behind schedule, and made some tea, and looked out the back door for awhile as children came home from school and dogs frolicked in the park and someone brought out a kite and set it flying against the dark gray clouds. They coughed up some snow later on, just a dusting, just enough to frost things over.