After writing the Cirque post, I drove home right away but was unable to fall asleep until almost 3am, and woke up at 6a to go to work early. I rose with a knot in my stomach and gagged in the shower, almost throwing up and wondered whether vomit would clog my shower drain.

All day at work, I felt choked by a tightening from my diaphragm all the way up to my throat, and strange pressure from my neck to my eyes that made me feel like my head would explode, or my eyeballs would pop. I was also very aware of the sickening thumping of my heart in my ribcage and neck, and the fever I felt.

The very long workday was broken up at lunchtime when I drove in a big 7-mile circle for 45 minutes trying to find a gas station offering their goods for less than $3.50 a gallon, and finally found a Unocal 76 for $3.45. I had half a mind to run a few miles at a local park and had planned with Mr. W on Monday to do so, but he hadn’t called and I hadn’t eaten, drank nor slept well so I nixed the idea. In pulling the pump out of the holder to fill my car, gasoline spurted all over my foot and car. But because gas was so expensive, instead of being upset, I shoved the pump as quickly as I could into my car because, hey, free gas. After I drained the hose in the pump, I slid my credit card and paid for the rest of the overpriced fluid.

Getting back in my car, I called childhood friend Lily back and we made dinner plans. Then I called my gym trainee, who’s on vacation this week, and made plans to work out together today and tomorrow. She wanted to drive all the way to the gym near our work because she had some errands that’d run her into the area, anyway. Then I called college roommie Diana on my drive back to work and told her about my gas experience. She said the exact same thing happened to her recently and she did the same thing. “Hey, it’s like, 50 cents there that you don’t want to leave on the floor!” We laughed at ourselves.

After work, Dwaine and I made post-dinner plans to hang out after an early dinner with Lily and her husband Arnold. Dinner was shared entrees of baby back pork ribs, a specialty salad, and jambalaya at Claim Jumper in Brea. It was nice to catch up with them, and they’re very comforting people. I got some good news from Arnold, who I only learned that night used to teach human fertility to other doctors. When dinner ended, Dwaine came to my house with a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, which we broke into right after I popped my favorite white, “Conundrum” by Camus Vineyards which is made from like 5 types of white wine grapes. Both the red and white were delicious, and I got to hear tales from Dwaine’s mac-daddy dating adventures. Both the time with Lily and with Dwaine made me appreciate people I’ve had in my life since junior high school with whom I could make absurd references about our more naive years, and enjoy the deeper, more heart-felt friendship that our wacky childhood bonds matured into.

I still awoke this morning with the same fever, lack of appetite, pressure in the head and eyes thing, but I didn’t gag. Throughout this whole thing which makes my head spin with thoughts about the past, present and future, what it all means and what I can do with any of it, I’ve felt balanced and unafraid. There was no alarm nor panic, and I was able to function and enjoy my life and friends. So I guess what I’ve learned is, I’m not alone, and I am whole now. My identity is no longer just who I am to one person, the past chains have loosened their grips on my spirit. That’s a battle I’ve fought hard in for the past few years. It may be ugly, but I can survive with my dignity intact, looking forward.