Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tackling the Bonus Question

6. When have you felt that you transcended time and space?

Well, there are times when I cultivate such a feeling, and times when it happens without trying. Since the ones that happen on their own are more interesting, I'll mention one of those.

Most recently I think it was when I was in Dominica in February. I was there with my 13 year old daughter, visiting a longtime friend and his wife. They had a new baby who was a little over a month old. She was adorable, and I felt we had an immediate connection. I held her and talked to her and loved on her every chance I had.

Late one night, about a week into the visit, I woke to the sound of someone screaming my name. I knew instantly from the awful despair in the voice that something was wrong with the baby. In the next second, I was upstairs seeing my friend howling with grief over his daughter's limp body, yelling her name over and over. As soon as I touched her, I knew she was not breathing and that life was leaving her body. I said something stupid like, "Give her breath." Then I started to tell him, "Put your mouth over her nose and mouth..." but the first mention had been enough to move him to action and he initiated CPR. With one breath she stirred. With two breaths, she opened her eyes and we started crooning, "Good girl, Amela, good girl. That's right, stay here." We rubbed her limbs which were quite cold and she looked at us with surprise in her eyes. Soon she was alert and nursing at her mother's breast again.

The part that was transcending time and space, though, was how I got upstairs so fast. No one could understand it. His wife, who had run downstairs to get me, was already downstairs when I was upstairs calling, "Where are you?" So, I somehow got out from under my mosquito netting, ran out the door of the room, down the hall, out the front door, left the porch, then took the outside steps two at time (I think) and was inside their apartment before she even had time to call through my window. We must have passed on the stairs, but neither one of us thinks we did. (They weren't wide stairs.) She said to me later, "How did you get up there so fast. Did you fly?" And I wasn't sure. But I do know that I woke instantly from a dead sleep and hit the ground running. (My daughter was in the room with me and she said she was just rubbing her eyes wondering who was yelling when she looked over and saw my empty bed.) Did I fly? Maybe. But somewhere in my brain I knew I was needed immediately and so I arrived just in time.

I've found that I am good at a moment of a crisis. I often take the emergency exit in an airplane because I've learned that when a crisis happens, I'm right there, somehow doing the right thing, without conscious thought. Something overtakes me and it's almost like I'm watching myself act, but not in conscious control of my actions. And the really funny thing is, about an hour after the crisis is over, Mary-the-rock crumbles. I become a bowl of jelly, useless and freaking out with a delayed reaction to the stress of everything.

But at that moment of crisis, I'm your woman.


Stephanie said...

WOW. That is quite an experience, Mary. My lord!

Katie said...

Wow indeed! I have such respect for people who can keep their head in an emergency. I've never really been in anything that drastic, but if I am, I hope I can behave as heroically as you.

Mary Akers said...

I don't know, Katie...I think your tale of making it to the trashcan was pretty heroic! (I'm not joking.)