I grabbed my keys, my purse and turned out the lights - closed the door behind me. Stopped to pick up the flowers Celeste had left for me at her desk, ( beautiful quince branches left over from the Chinese New Year's display) and headed down the stairs, leaving a trail of pretty pink petals, as if I would need them to find my way back. All I could think was that the janitor was going to be really upset. Somehow I would have to repay him.
I stepped outside and felt the cold air on my face, flowers in one hand and my umbrella in the other…raindrops hitting my face as I opened the umbrella. I inhaled the night air… it felt colder than normal. I could feel my lungs tightening up so much so that I fumbled around in my purse to find my inhaler. Then it dawned on me that I had set it down on the dining room table that same morning, before running out to the car. I could see it in my head, sitting there – on the dinning room table. Fear began to well up in side me. I tried walking faster, but that only made it worse, the grip was tight, like a vice. I was out of breath. Feo as I like to call him (fear) was trying to take me. In my head I thought okay if I can make it to the car I will be okay… I have an inhaler in the glove compartment. But el Feo’s grip was tight. I had to stop walking to catch my breath. I felt as though I had just run a marathon. Like a fish out of water. I stopped again…took a few more steps and stopped again. The car was still another 2 blocks away. “What are you going to do nnnooowww?” said el Feo in my head, “pass out right here?….call 911, call Tim …but they are so far away it will do you no good. You will pass out right here, on the sidewalk, you will not see tomorrow, your kids , your parents or your husband.”
With every ounce of my spirit and with the little bit of breath I had left I spoke to him …straight in the face. In a loud voice I said “step aside p..nche Feo! I rebuke you!"… I then started praying… Lord please give me the strength to reach the car, don’t let me black out, I will not give in to this. I will not give in to fear or death.” A few steps later I was in the car, lights out sitting in the dark. My head spinning from the lack of oxygen… my heart pounding inside of my chest. I reached over to the glove compartment put the inhaler to my mouth and nothing came out of it… it had dried up. I could feel him laughing at me, calling me out. Now I was pissed, so I laughed back…"step aside pinche Feo, <excuse my french...but I was really pissed> step aside doubt, fear, death, step aside asthma... my God and my angels are greater than you!". I turned the key to the ignition and drove off to my parents house to pick up Sarah.
Before leaving my parent's house I turned and kissed them both on the cheek and said “buenas noches”, they replied like they always do when I leave their house, “que Dios te bendiga hija”. I said to my dad “lo veo manana”, he replied like he always does “primero Dios - si Dios quiere”
Sarah slept in the backseat as we drove home on the crowded 101 freeway. I pulled into the driveway, picked up Sarah and carried her into the house. Erika was doing her homework, Timmy asked as I walked in the door… “mom what’s for dinner?”, Tim was in the bedroom putting together a dresser we picked up from Ikea on Saturday. I could feel his frustration. Everything was as it should be. I took off my coat, grabbed the frying pan, turned on the oven, and cooked up some carne asada with papas. After dinner I sat down to write this.
Amigas, if "el Feo" tries to to scare you... tell him to "step aside!"
Excerpt from a Robert Frost poem.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep