Life is on the wire. The rest is just waiting. - Karl Wallenda
Willhelm lies in his hospital bed waiting for procedures. That’s what they call them though they take all of two minutes and the rest of his time round the clock is spent waiting: for the nurses to insert needles with ominous liquids, their assistants to insert thermometers and read numbers and wrap and pump blood pressure cuffs, the vampire to stick a needle in a vein and draw blood and the bevy of doctors in bowties surrounded by their students in white coats to ask him questions he can't answer because of the minor head injury he sustained in a tangle with his lawn mower. He watches the hands of the clock knowing that every minute passing by the cells of his grass are increasing and by the time he gets home the grass will be a dry, flat mess. He had planned the mowing patterns out mathematically all winter: a checkerboard, waves, stripes, and then a circle with the Red Sox in the middle to ensure they would win. Now his patterns would be completely out of order and, being superstitious like all fans, he was certain this would mean the Boston Red Sox would lose – all because of him.
A doctor asks why he keeps staring at the clock. No explanation will suffice. He claims he doesn't know.
All he can do is wait and obsess. Wait for the nursing assistants to untangle his tubes so he can finally pee, after pressing the button twenty times. Wait for the weary nurse to pretend she doesn't know how to even out his bed to make it more comfortable, probably thinking about her children at home with some incompetent caretaker. Wait for food that tastes like petroleum products.
His tears flow at night missing his wife and children, the dog, even the cat and goldfish. He is sitting all night, thinking of the grass, with nothing he can do to stop it growing. He stares at the ceiling tiles, picturing the dandelions invading, strangling the grass. Most of all he weeps knowing that every second the grass grows wilder, the more likely the Red Sox will lose.
published 31 July 2013