I've never had a panic attack, but on the way home I think I came close. What a horrible feeling. On the verge of tears, I pulled up to the house, and sat in the driveway for a few moments while my heart stopped banging about and began to behave again, before letting out my breath and getting out of the car. The mail is all magazines: food, catalog, 2 panda club copies for the kids. Inside, I toss them on the table, flip on lights, remove my boots. The fishtank is getting murky again, I see, as I turn the aquarium light on: there's another task. I move slowly through the house, breathing through my nose. When the kids arrive with Anders, I don't think they notice anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I'm quieter than usual, maybe not.
There's only an hour before I need to leave again for choir, and I'm dreading the drive; it's blowing hard and sleeting a bit. Anders has brought home hotdogs for himself and the kids (he knows better than to ask, I rarely eat them), so I fix myself some soup and a sandwich. Thick and creamy chicken with rice goes down easy, it makes me feel marginally better. There's not time to do much more than start a load of laundry, talk over how everyone's day went, check e-mails. I was going to take it with me to listen to, but I can't find the Tracy Chapman CD, the one with the song on it I need to learn for my brother's wedding. Where the hell has it disappeared to?
Choir is a pick-me-up, a relief, despite the drive, the length, the worsening weather. Tonight we concentrate on songs we already know for a quickly approaching concert, plus one new one which is fun and bouncy to sing. It's a smaller group tonight, half the choir is missing; it's cold season plus the snow is probably deterring people. I feel like my singing is too loud, but at least it's confident and on key, so I put my wonky heart into my voice and sing. When I bend my head forward air pops between the vertebrae in my neck.
On the way home from choir, forced to drive at a fraction of my usual speed by the snow mixed with rain, I turn Katie Melua up on the stereo. Her voice is like molten chocolate. My breathing keeps the beat with the windshield wipers. Back and forth, and back and forth. I drive home through the snow and the night. I think about things like, what journal entry will be left when I die? This makes me nervous, you see. What if my last words were angry ones, or boring? I think about things like, maybe I should stop at work on my way home despite the lateness of the hour. This passes quickly, thank goodness. I think about things like, a sentence I read the other night in the book I'm slowly plowing through (it's slow going because I'm harvesting so much, not because it's bad). It said something to the effect that if we had all the time in a single day to do all the things we needed to get done it would be 48 hours long. I sat stunned for a moment, and then closed the book and set it down. It's not just me, I know. EVERYONE needs more time.