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Posted on June 1st, 2012

The Things I Carry

Inspired by an in-class activity from Andre Dubus III and of course the novel, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

I carry my books, and bottles full of liquid. I carry my netbook and more pens than I need. I carry my wallet which carries my money, license, Id card, insurance cards in case of an emergency.

I’m carrying pills that will supposedly stop a migraine quickly, should that whole procedure start. I’m also carrying packets of medicine that you squeeze under your tongue so it quickly gets into your bloodstream. I heard this is supposed to work quick too. I carry the wonder, the wondering of which one I will take when it starts. I haven’t gotten one since I’ve been handed ways to stop it. I’m trying to keep a limit on how much caffeine I feed to my body; I think it’s helping but I don’t carry enough evidence yet.

I carry with me each and every fucking day the thought that at some unsuspecting moment my vision will be distorted, the nausea will creep up on me and soon my head will throb and I’ll want nothing more than for someone to drill a hole in my head to relieve the pressure.

I carry the hope that it won’t happen today. I hope that I don’t suddenly get dizzy as I throw my car in reverse to leave the parking lot. I hope that I can look at the clock and all the numbers are clear and visible; not all blurred and disappearing before my eyes. I pray to God that I can drive home safely before I’m stranded and in need of assistance. I hope there’s ginger ale in the house when I get home because that’s all I’ll want when this is over.

I carry with me the memories of past migraines and all the pain I’ve suffered. I remember several dates and the things I was supposed to do that day, but I am not carrying a calendar. I don’t carry the memories of the fancy dinner in Boston that was to mark my first ever anniversary. I carry the memories of what I was doing before I died the migraine death for that day. A 3-D movie the previous night; trying to put food down on a table for the customers I was waiting on; sitting in the tutoring center as the whole room started to spin. Even just walking out to the kitchen because pizza had arrived except when I get there the lights hurt my eyes and I can’t see anyone’s faces.

I carry with me the success of having survived one. One. Playing videogames with my mother was quite fun until I couldn’t see her sitting next to me anymore. Being annoyed with the whole thing, but knowing that I didn’t have anywhere to go or anything that needed to be done, I convinced myself I didn’t give a shit and continued killing people on the battle front. The procedure was a mild one, and everything was bearable. I did not get sick and a twenty minute nap made the headache go away.

I carry fear, fear that I’m going to lose another day of my life. Maybe even two days because lately they come in pairs, as if one stint of eight hours worth of vomiting and throbbing head pain wasn’t enough. It’ll be worse too, because you’ll think you’re all better and just at that moment when you try to rise out of bed without the urge to run to the bathroom, the room will flicker, your eyes will play games, and you’ll cry out as the pain comes back loud and clear; and you’re helpless.

I pray that I won’t have to carry these fears forever. Or even carry these pills forever. But I’ll never drop the memories; never lose the pain and the frustration I felt. If it needs to be done, I will carry these pills until the day I die.

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