“Lights! Get me a mike…”
I’m thinking that, by rights, this should be the beginning of a flash back sequence in an old movie.
It’s one in the morning I’m typing from a hospital bed in Westerville Ohio. The ward has gone quiet; the lights have been brought down to indicate night from day. The nurses no longer scurry from crisis to crisis but leisurely check on their charges: some need scheduled medication, others need some small tending but the overwhelming sense is of peace. As I look at the chest tube which runs uncomfortably from my midriff to the plastic reservoir on the ground and wonder – how did I get here?
Yes, this would make a great framing scene for a flash back. But which one? I can’t see myself as Joe Gilles. Though the name sounds familiar to mine I have the distinct differentiator of being alive. Perhaps Forrest Gump? But I always thought the “flashback” in Gump was a copout. The whole film is supposed to be flashback until you find in the last 20 minutes that, no, there is more movie to run in “the present” and it is still a period piece. Might as well put a large sign saying “Exposition” and place it as a title card – that would at least have the benefit of being honest. Exposition, set-up for a flashback, if I’m going to steal I might as well steal from the best – I’ll be Jededian Leland at the hospital. I, too, have a doctor who has a funny idea about keeping me alive and smuggling in cigars does sound like something I’d do…
The quiet beeping from the neighbor’s room let’s me know he’s hanging in there and as I contemplate the now idle IV, it’s idleness a hope of someday receiving my medical manumission, I realize that now I need a place to transition to from the hospital scene. I’m typing madly in low light in a hospital bed and then fade to…what? Do I fade to Amtrak train #168? Where I would do similar typing on my way the corporate apartment in Boston where I maintained the e-mail system for The Boston Globe? Do I fade back farther where, in a trim and well tailored suit, I would be similarly typing on the 5:40am Metro North train to NYC? Or perhaps another quiet late night – the night before my wedding when I went from nearly having a breakdown because I was getting married to feeling top-of-the-world because I was getting married to Judy? But where ever I start the narrative, the key moment is when Judy opened the offer letter for a job in Columbus Ohio.
Certainly a hard-charging businessman who’d made a name for himself in the Northeast would have not have any trouble moving. I mean, just because he had lived in the same town all his life (and intended to stay until he died) wouldn’t make it difficult. How different could the Midwest be anyway? It would mean following my dream – a brand-new life with my wife built together from the ground up. The ability to finally go back to school and get my law degree. And, above all, the ability to start a family. It is idyllic sounding; how hard could it be?
I’m finding out…