January 12th, 2014

I step onto the top step of my ten-step stairway, lose my footing, then my grip is pried loose from the handrail. After that it’s three somersaulting seconds of pain. I still play the video in my mind a few times a day. It’s not enjoyable, but it is impossible to shut off. There’s no volume, and my crutches take flight, I believe, in slow motion. Already a few sets of eyes follow as I bounce into new territory. The three fellows who live upstairs from me are witnesses, along with Alexis, the art dealer who used to sell my paintings. I think of myself as a colorist, but there is no color in the scene. Just movement and shimmering reflections from the parked cars at noontime.

This took place two weeks ago, today. I spent four hours in emergency, had many bone photos taken, showing no breaks. I underwent the usual round of memory tests. I neither passed nor failed the tests, I survived them. This was good enough for the medics. I was released to my family. Then I set foot outside the hospital, ready to repeat all of the above except…

No, I will not do this shit again.

Two years ago my sister, after one of my falls, began nagging. “Get out of that apartment, Fred. Too many damn sets of stairs. Move to a less hilly part of town.” She was soon joined by my boy’s mother, and my brother-in-law. Then my brother, and my sister-in-law. Then these same basic sets of relations, only long distance, with slightly different genetic makeups. My response has always been, “Get off my case.” But this time, before anybody could stick his or her nose where it didn’t belong, I jumped in. “Get out of that apartment, Fred.” This time I listened. My son has taken my lodgings until I am ready to return. I am sleeping in his bed in his mother’s apartment. Somewhere, a cat figures into this mix. By the time I am seventy-three I will have this figured out, but that’s six months off.

In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun?

6 Responses to “Danger.”

  1. Jean McKenzie Says:

    Holy shit Fred. This is frightening even to read. I have no advice but feel pretty certain you will figure it out. There are lots of people who’d like you to stick around. I know you’ll choose what’s best for you, not what would make all of us who love you feel more comfortable.
    Go Fred!

  2. Chuck Says:

    What Jean said.

  3. Bob Gilbert Says:

    Too many stairs, not enough parachutes, Captain Airborne. Don’t fuck with gravity.

  4. Scott Keck Says:

    Sweet baby jesus on rye krisp! I wondered what was up with you when the Rooster didn’t refresh. I shoulda called ya. Hope you’re recovering. That’s fuckin’ scary, Fred!

  5. grace Says:

    so glad you’ve found a place so you can stay in SF.

  6. Elizabeth C. Says:

    You found a place? Where? Or did that just refer to the temporary solution?Sorry about this misfortune, of course. Glad you still have a leg to stand on.

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