Pain on Third Street

I'm walking from my office, up Third Street, in San Francisco. Just beneath the Interstate 80 Overpass, I get struck by a crippling pain. It's a headache and something more. All I can do is crumple to the ground - all the time aware of the griminess of the concrete sidewalk - and clutch my head.

A few people pass me by, blindly stepping over me as they would one of the area homeless sidewalk dwellers. I try to tell them that I'm more than I seem, but my pain reduces me to an incoherent croak.

After a few minutes on the cold concrete, the pain recedes and I think I'm feeling well enough to get up and continue my walk to the train station. If I can just get as far as the train, then I can curl up on my seat in a carriage and count on my husband to get me home.

But as soon as I take a few steps, the pain returns. It feels like a migrane, but a migrane of the whole body, not just my head. It's a dull thumping that starts in my lower gut and moves upwards, driving me to my knees. I grab onto the chicken-wire fence that surrounds the parking lot beneath the Highway 80 overpass, but my grip weakens and I fall to the ground again. The frustration I feel at being so powerless over my own body makes me want to cry in frustration. The black silken gothic garb I'm wearing billows uselessly around me, an inadequate cushion for my head as I try to determine what has happened to me. No answers come.

I'm left lying on the ground, trying to tell the passers-by that I'm not really like this, that I'm really an educated professional working at an up-and-coming company just a block away, but, of course, the able-bodied pedestrians do not believe me.





Tell me your dreams