June 29, 2012
His memory of the gym was blurred. It had been four months since John had worked out. After the accident, he’d been hospitalized for two weeks, the first of which he’d been in a coma.
Sally, his physical therapist from hell, had decided he was ready for this day, for his return to the gym, to join the masses on one of several dozen treadmills or ellipticals. John wasn’t nearly as confident as Sally seemed to be that he was ready for more than his to-this-point private sessions with Sally in the basement of his three story brownstone.
He searched his memory for images of the gym, before the incident, his daily reprieve from the tedium of stock trading. In his head he counted six rows, the first three a mixture of ellipticals and stepping machines, the latter one of two versions of treadmills.
The yellow cab was still fresh in John’s memory. Both the memories and the pain shrouded and clouded the emergence of his thoughts. He’d not cursed so much since he’d been a teen. His new favorite words, both four letters in length, began with c and f.
At first he’d tried not to think of the accident. But by the fourth session with Dr. Alija, John had allowed himself to be convinced of the value of “confronting the trauma” as his well meaning but evil psychologist called it.
He glanced at the digital readout on the treadmill. .25 miles. John remembered easily completing five miles or more in his previous life. In part to tune out the noise of the pain in his lower back and right knee, and in part to “confront the trauma”, John let his thoughts drift back to 6th Avenue in Manhattan.
He’d not had all that much to drink, too much to drive, yes, but not too much to walk home, when he left the jazz joint, Eddie’s on 44th and 7th Ave. There was a light drizzle, not uncommon for late March in the city. John had looked to his right, but not his left. He knew 6th Avenue well, knew it was one way, had no reason to think traffic might come from the south. But it was. A lone yellow cab, the driver newly off a plane from Belarus, ended John’s memory.
John had never been to Venice but he thought that was where his dream had led him, left him standing on the inclined street, left him feeling timeless as the centuries old red, yellow, and orange buildings. A thought occurred to him that the colors of the buildings felt Spanish, so perhaps the dream was in Barcelona, or Madrid.
In the dreams he felt no pain. In the dreams he could walk. He happily and greedily took the heavy dose of valium Dr. Rossman had prescribed, had often been tempted to exceed the dosage of the yellow and blue pills. Yellow and blue escape, yellow and blue bliss.
The cobblestone streets reminded him of those in Pittsburgh, where John had spent the 3rd and 4th grades before being transferred to Stuttgart; John was an “army brat.” He and his brother Jake had lived in several countries, but had never been to Spain. He often wondered the source and reason for the location for these recurring dreams. He reminded himself to mention it to Dr. Alija his next visit, Tuesday, two mornings from now.
He wrote in the red spiral notebook he kept on his nightstand.
The incline is about 30%, higher than the streets in downtown Pittsburgh. I hear a Spanish guitar in the background. No, that’s not right. I feel like I would feel were I to hear a Spanish guitar. Yes. It feels like Barcelona.
John decided to search Google for Barcelona after he had his two cups of coffee.