In sum, I told the front desk nurse at the hospital, that I had driven myself to, who asked me if she could help me, “No, thank you.” My sitting before her with no plausible reason for over an hour left her looking puzzled. So I talked, talking seemed to be helping me lately. I was too self conscious to call it confiding. But still I said to her, “I’m just having a panic attack, and when I’m having a panic attack I trick myself into believing I’m having a heart attack, and if I sit in a hospital I can calm myself down faster.” Her head tilting curiosity pushed me further. “I have panic attacks a lot lately. It’s hard because I’m living by myself, in someone else’s house. I actually don’t know where I’m going to live in a few weeks when my ‘house sitting’ gig is up. But, simple stuff like that doesn’t stress me out. It’s the trial. I have to testify. I have to see my brother- it’s been six years. A few months ago I found out he was dating a girl with daughters – so I told the police everything. Then I found out he had raped my sister too – that’s what’s been killing me. That’s how he tricked me. I though it was just me, never her. I was supposed to be protecting my sister.”
Now I was just rambling words that brought this wide eyed nurse to a stunned and straight attention. “So I have to testify at his trial, and my mother’s. For added measure the police charged my mom with child endangerment.
And she turned down the plea offer for six years. And he turned down the plea offer for twenty years. And I just don’t feel like I can start my life until this is all over. I’m working in childcare. I have a business degree. My life – my life is in limbo – a demonic sarcastic body tilting game. So I’m having my third ever panic attack.”
We sat in mutual silence for the appropriate amount of time. Then she asked me the correctly wrong question, “is there someone I can call for you?” I held myself back, knowing a laugh would come off far too psychotic. I tried to explain my reserved silence, “No. It’s legally ill-advised for me to be speaking to my mother. My dad is dead. My sister is mad at me for not protecting her – I swear I didn’t know. My mom’s side of the family is fucked up. My dad’s side is wonderful. But my Aunt’s had to tell their 82-year-old mother, my grandma, that the reason her grandson wasn’t returning her calls was because he was in jail, for raping two of her granddaughters. So they don’t want to talk to me. They blame me – wrongly – I know. I know the psychology behind all my shit. I’m pretty smart, actually. That’s how I know this chest pain is just another panic attack. I’ll be fine. I’m always – just – fine.”