With the cold settling into my bones, I was afraid that night. My brain was running fast.
One of the things I’ve noticed about myself is that when I’m afraid I think. I start calculating.
In 2012 when I fell off the Vespa like thing as I fell I calculated how I was going to fall and how the bike was going to fall on top of me and that it was going to break my knee. I decided that I couldn’t escape the damage but that I could mitigate it, so I pressed hard upon the handle bars to pull my body as high as I could so that the thing wouldn’t fall upon my knee. Even in those seconds as the machine made me conscious of all the potential weight I was able to see clearly. Later the doctors told me that another half inch and I’d have lost my leg.
In the cold that night I thought about how long I had and how best to use that time. I calculated how long it would take to run around the house to the front door and the danger of falling or being unable to unlock that tricky gate that had tripped me up in the summer in the daylight. I didn’t have time to run around the house and risk wasting my minutes on that gate. So I kept screaming. Climbing up the three layers of decks to get closer to where the people were sleeping.
My only hope was that one of them would be sleeping less deeply. It took seventeen minutes. I believed I had twenty-eight, dressed the way I was with the temperature being what it was.
Something in me strategizes survival.
That night something changed in me though. It didn’t happen out on the deck with fingers and toes already leaden and saturated by frigidity. It happened when the family finally heard me and came to the door.