When I think of the Fourth of July, I think of fireworks. Sometimes I’ll think of barbecues, but mostly I think of waiting to welcome the night’s darkness with hundreds of other people to watch the big fat light explosions in the sky.
5ks, Fireworks and Serial Killers
Last year Alan and I were late to the fireworks show in San Jose because we are chronically late people who were born late and will most likely die late, too. We stood on the sidewalk in between some buildings downtown and watched the very tops of the fireworks because that is the only view our standing perch would give us.
This year we watched the fireworks on CBS from his hospital bed, lying next to each other, him splayed out across the bed, exhausted from being in pain all day, and me lying gingerly on my side, holding up my weight, holding my breath almost, so as not to crush his tubes and wounds and catheters. He had been writhing in pain for most of the day and well into the night. We asked for pain meds, ones that wouldn’t require swallowing because anything he swallowed came right back up again. Impossibly late into the night, around 9 or so, the dr. finally came in and apologized for the delay in getting him his meds. She explained it was the Fourth of July and that everyone wanted to play with fireworks, and they were busy in the ER treating all these foolish people. (OK, she didn’t call them foolish, but I could tell that’s what she was thinking). Then, before she left, she mentioned that later that night they would be busy working on all the gun shot wounds sure to come in after the fireworks died down. I’m not sure why hospitals expect Independence Day to be a big day for people to start shooting each other, but she seemed to know what she was talking about.
After the CBS special was over, we watched the news and learned about a shooting in Oakland in which 8 people were gunned down. News like this is why I forbid myself from watching the news anymore, but I always forget and watch it’s sensationalized segments anyway. After the news, I went home alone thinking that I was fine, that I could deal with processing all the disturbing information. I parked my car, hurried inside and locked the door. Then I checked to make sure that I locked the door two more times. When I was satisfied that the door was locked, I tested its strength and gave the door a few tugs. Then I showered, but just as I started to let my guard down, I remembered the serial killer on the loose in the South somewhere and thought that if the South has serial killers, California must surely have a few out there too.
I started thinking I started freaking out and then it was all bad. That lock is weak. One good kick and the door would swing wide open. With one eye open, I rinsed shampoo and conditioner out of my hair, barely noticing how the suds stung, dried off, and before jumping into bed, I made sure to put some sensible clothes on. The last thing I wanted is to have to run from a serial killer naked or in some complicated, hard-to-maneuver in clothing. I tried to sleep but kept hearing the serial killer coming for me. I kept hearing the 4 torturers conspiring outside my door, the ones that abused that 16 year old boy and locked him away for years in a dungeon beneath their home. I fell asleep for 10 minutes and had nightmares about not getting a ticket to Michael Jackson’s memorial service on Tuesday. I jerked awake and remembered how sore my legs were from the Morgan Hill 5k Run that morning. How are you going to out run all the psychos out there and your door doesn’t even lock? My brain made a good point and instead of falling back asleep, I spent the rest of the night worried I’d make it onto the 5 o’clock news the next day for all to gawk over.
Last modified: January 10, 2019