I wish the ambulance ride would last forever, or at the very least, all afternoon long. I’ve finally convinced them to loosen the straps enough for me to move my arms, shift my body comfortably. I like this ambulance; it’s a nice one—shiny, clean and sparkling, with lots of padding in places many others don’t bother to pad. Ambulances have a way of swerving and bouncing and you find yourself often knocking into hard surfaces—especially when no one is paying much attention to what’s going on.
Your husband is following safely behind—he’s keeping an eye on things like he always does. He tried to get into the back of the ambulance with you, but you screamed so loud at the sight of him, the attendants quickly shuffled him off, and murmured something about best to follow. Of course it’s best for him to follow, that’s what he always does when he’s being the good, kind man he can be. He followed you home. He followed you to work. He followed you to every lreading you ever gave.
When he’s not being good, he ignores you, forgets that you are there. In those moments, you realize you could just leave, go away, be alone for once. How many times have you tried to quietly pack your bags? To nonchalantly put things together for a departure? Too many times to count. Something always goes wrong. Some interruption, injury, accident. You would probably never get too far anyway—-because, really, how well could you operate in this world without him? He even checks to see if you are still breathing at night—-you know because you’ve woken up more than once lately to find his hands hovering just above your mouth.
As long as the ambulance ride lasts, you don’t have to make a decision. As long as the wheels keep turning, and the music playing, you don’t have to know where you are going. He always picks anyway. He is always so calm and logical that everyone usually defers to him. Once you saw an attendant look at him sideways, almost suspiciously, but you never knew what to make of that. Maybe they possessed the same phobia as you? The same overactive imagination? Seeing a sociopath, a serial killer where there was only a good, good man.
It’s not his fault you get so fearful. And by the time you arrive wherever you are going you will have forgotten why you were. The rides always seem to become longer and longer. Something in the side of your consciousness, like a small tic or bug, pulls out you, formulates the thought that really these rides shouldn’t be so long, but you swat it away, allow yourself to fall into the white buzz of not knowing.
You will arrive at some point, you always do, and even though they haven’t given you water yet or asked you your name, which is a bit odd, you don’t worry. Even though you’d really like to pee, and see no headlights behind the ambulance, and realize you haven’t seen another vehicle for a long, long time, you tell yourself to calm down. Things will sort out. And even though the restraints have somehow tightened themselves—-and when did this thing appear over your mouth? And even though you are finding it hard to talk because you are so thirsty, you wait because waiting is what you do. And even though it’s getting hard to see, because they’ve dimmed the light, or something—is that gauze over your eyes?—you tell yourself it’s going to be ok, because, really, what choice do you have?