We walked into the small, crowded Mission Hills restaurant. Tables were nearly stacked on top of each other. The patrons filling the chairs yelled every word trying desperately to be heard. The noise had nowhere to go. It reverberated off the low ceiling and off each of the four maroon walls. Aimee spoke to the hostess. Despite making reservations, there was a ten minute wait for our table. The hostess directed us, as if we couldn't see five feet in front of us, to the bar. Aimee looked at me, the hostess then looked at me as well.
"Is this too loud in here for you? Aimee asked as she pointed her finger to her head and twirled it around in circles; the international sign for crazy. I looked at the hostess. A polite smirk was pasted on her face.
"I'm fine, this is fine," I said. There was no room at the bar so we walked outside. The hostess stared at me and smirked.
Outside we joked about the exchange. I knew she meant well, that she was only looking out for my best interest. I also knew that she didn't have to twirl her finger around while pointing to her brain, but that's all right, that's why I love her.
We had dinner with two friends. I had a beer. We told stories and laughed. Every time my friends would say how good the meal was, I asked them if they were trying to rub it in. It was a great dinner, even though I couldn't taste a single thing. I enjoyed myself so much that I ordered a dessert, just to top the night off, just to waste a little more cash.
The next day I surfed for five minutes, it was all I could take before losing my breath and paddling in. As we got ready to pull out of the parking lot, my friend from the Jersey Shore called me over. He was talking to a man sitting in a handcycle.
"Hey, this guy injured his brain and was in a coma too. Now he's training to ride this across country," my friend said.
"That's a long trip," I said, not knowing what else to say. I asked him about his injury. He answered in a slurred voice. His hands shook as he handed me a flyer for his cross-country trek. I could see the scar on his throat from the tracheotomy. I gave him my card and told him I wanted to write a story about him and his journey. I wasn't sure what else to say. I know we have something in common but sometimes it's not a topic I like to talk about. It's not just another story I like to tell as a way to see what similarities I share with another person whose experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury. What am I supposed to say? 'Were you dizzy for a while after you woke up?" Do you remember anything from the coma?'
Later that night, my two buddies and I went to a bar and had a beer. Once inside the bar, I went up the barkeep.
"Um, yeah, what's your lightest beer on tap, with the lowest alcohol content?" I asked.
I drank the pilsner. We came home and had a Wii tournament, which I won handedly. It's not exactly on the same level as pedaling across the country, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless.
This Blog Has a New Home - *To view my latest work please visit my NEW blog at: www.capturedbyaimee.com/blog*
6 years ago