Blank Space ~ Part 1

She knew, as she sat there listening to her son, only 14 years old, that something was terribly wrong.  He was a good kid, with a girlfriend named Emily, who thought the sun rose with his smile.  He made friends easily, had a part-time job mowing lawns, and usually made grades at the B level.  He wasn’t a genius, she knew that, but he had a heart of gold, loved to paint and sometimes carved wood and soft limestone into tiny animals, and was her only son.  He was perfect in her eyes.  Smart and creative; she loved him more than anything else.

Over breakfast, he said,

“I just don’t feel right Mom, I don’t feel like going to school.”

“Are you sick?  Do you have a big test or something today?”

“No, it’s not like that.”

She was running a bit late that morning, and inhaling her toast and coffee, before having to run to the bus stop.

“Well, what is it, then?  Come on, spill it,” Chris said rather quickly.

He was chewing a big mouthful of Crunchberries while looking out the window, swallowed finally and said,

“I was walking down the hall yesterday, and I forgot how to walk.”

She stopped chewing, letting that sink in, swallowed her still crunchy bite whole, and asked,

“What do you mean, sweety?”

He looked away again, like he didn’t think she would believe him, inhaled slowly, and quietly said,

“I forgot, I just forgot, like my feet stopped, my foot was in the air, and I couldn’t remember what I was doing.”

All kinds of things began running through her mind, first off being she was gonna be late, and have to drive.  Then she wondered if he was using drugs or something, or had been drinking last night while she was at the store.  She worried about how to ask him these things, without hurting his feelings, without thinking she was doubting him, and said,

“How long did it last?”

“I don’t know, a minute maybe.”

“Did it happen more than once?”  Chris asked, getting more concerned by the minute.

“No, but I can’t stop thinking about it.  I couldn’t think, Mom.  It was just … blank space, where my thoughts should be.  I totally forgot I was walking, or how to walk, it was like my brain just stopped.”

“That’s scary, honey.  I’ll make an appointment for you today, to see Dr. Fred, and call me if it happens again.”

“Ok.  You driving in now?”

“Yes, you wanna ride?”

“Sure.”

They left the house together, her worried sick, thinking immediately that he may have a brain tumor or something horrible.  He was worried he would fall on his face in front of his friends, and was really glad she wasn’t mad about driving him to school.  She was always trying to save the environment in some way.

He called her again at a little after 2, right after his last class.  It was his favorite class, as Emily was his lab partner.  They were in the hallway headed to her locker, when it happened again.  Only this time, it lasted too long.  Emily freaked out.  She began screaming at him, her voice echoing down the halls, as everyone turned to look, including Mr. Schnoodle, the science teacher.

He froze in place, looking bewildered at Emily, like he couldn’t hear her anymore.  He managed to shake his head, but nothing was there, no thoughts, no words coming out his open mouth, he felt the embarrassment falling on him, but couldn’t formulate the words to make her stop screaming.  He couldn’t even formulate the thoughts that she was embarrassing him, he only felt it.

The science teacher took charge and led him immediately to the nurses office.  He stumbled along, until they reached her door, and he could finally control his body again, and think words, saying,

“Ok, I’m ok.  Really, stop Emily, stop.”  She was blithering on and on to the teacher, so worried, yet making him crazy.  A huge crowd had followed them down the hall, and he wanted to run.  His face began to turn red, as he assured the teacher,

“Really, I’m ok, I just need to call my Mom to go home, I don’t feel good.”

“Good idea, Tommas, call her right now.”  He turned to the nurse as she stood there wondering what the commotion was all about and said,

“I think he may have had a seizure, or something.  He was totally blanked out.”  He turned to Tommas and said sternly, “You aren’t doing drugs are you?”

“No sir, never have.  I just need to go home.”  He searched through his backpack and found his phone, and called.

Chris left work, glad to be leaving before dark for a change, but worried deeply she looked up at the beautiful clear blue sky and softly said,

“Dear Lord, please be with him.”

He was waiting outside on the school benches, lining the bus drop off zone, and got up slowly and walked to the car.  The nurse walked with him, and leaned in the window after he climbed in.  She said,

“He blanked out for a few minutes today, I don’t want to scare you, but Mr. Schnoodle said he looked like he may be having a seizure of some kind.  I think you should have him checked out immediately.”

“Thank you, Jeannie, I am.  We had an appointment for tomorrow, but I’m just gonna take him there now, and demand they see him.”

“Good, hope you feel better Tommas.”  She reached into the window to pat him on the shoulder, and stepped back onto the sidewalk.

“Thank you,” Tommas said quietly, he was so embarrassed.  This whole thing was just killing him.

They began 4 months of non stop doctor visits and testing that resulted in nothing, other than recommendations to see a psychiatrist.  Chris refused to believe her son was imperfect in any way mentally, he was her baby, and she would not submit him to that kind of useless crap.  She believed that most people labeled mentally ill, just needed people to care.  Brains could be slightly altered before birth, just like Downs syndrome and Autism, leaving people thinking differently.  It didn’t mean they were crazy.  Their brains were just wired differently.

Instead, Chris began to search other cases of blank time, in similar cases of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases patients claimed to have lost moments where they couldn’t think.  Couldn’t function and were forced to just wait it out, like they were paralyzed in some way mentally.  The doctors had run hundreds of tests to eliminate these, but she wasn’t about to give up.  There had to be an explanation.

Tommas began to lose time each day.  The times were getting longer and longer, some lasting up to 10 minutes, and Chris feared at some point, he would never come back.  She was worn out from lack of sleep, concern, minute by minute worry, and lost it one day while doing yoga.  Sitting there, humming quietly the word “God”, she began to weep.  She kept going for a few minutes, crying out to God in her mind, the tears streaming down her face.

Rachael, the instructor, came over when she heard her breathing change, as Chris clearly inhaled a sob.

“Are you alright Chris?”

“No, I’m so sorry, I should go..” she got up to leave but Rachael put her arms out, resting them on her shoulders, looking in her eyes with compassion and said,

“Follow me.”  They went into her office, and she shut the door and demanded to know what was going on.  Chris cried openly and told her everything, letting out some of the pain she carried inside.  She really had no one to confide in, it had been just her and Tommas, alone for years.  She couldn’t say any of this to Tommas, so she let it all out.

When she was done and calming down again, Rachael got up to check on the class, and brought her a bottle of cold water from her little office refrigerator.  She handed the box of Kleenex to Chris, and asked,

“Chris, does he ever meditate?”

“No, why?”

“Because through meditation, he might be able to go inside, and work through the problem, using his chakra’s.”

“Oh, I never thought about that.  You mean to sort of heal himself?”

“Well, yes, but more to look deeper, to see what’s going on.  I’ve had many experiences when I’m meditating, where answers come to me, and I can solve problems, and one time, I even saw my random thoughts streaming across my skull, like a ticker tape.  I think there are many things about the mind we don’t have a clue about, and what’s the harm?  It’s free, no danger, no drugs, just him, relaxing, letting his thoughts run free, maybe he’s blocking out something, that needs to get out?”

“It’s worth a try, I suppose, if I can get him to do it.”

“He’d have to plan on doing it daily, for a while, before he could expect to reach deeper levels.  You know how hard it is, when you first start out.”

“Yes, it took me a long time, just to focus on not focusing,” she laughed.  She wiped at her tears, now getting a bit embarrassed at her display and decided she should go.  “Thanks Rach, you’re so sweet.”

“No problem, Chris.  Any time you want to talk, stop in, I’ll make time.  What a hard thing to be handling all by yourself.”

“I’m a bit worn out, I think.  But thanks, I might be back.”

“Well, you better be on Thursday!  Why don’t you bring him with you, after you talk to him about it, and if he comes, I’ll spend a few minutes teaching him about his Chakra’s and how to meditate to help him get deeper into this at a quicker pace.”

“Ok, I’ll try.  Thanks again, you’re a lifesaver…and a hope giver.”  She smiled widely, and they hugged goodbye.

She thought about it all the way home, how funny it was that she hadn’t turned inward, to look for answers.  She had immediately turned to doctors, when she truly believed all most wanted was to get rich, and spend millions treating symptoms, instead of digging for the root of the problem.  Maybe it was mental.  Maybe, he could reach it, and learn to control it, or at least how to prevent it before it happens.  Maybe she should pray for a miracle.  She had prayed each night, but had she really Turned to God; trusted in God?  She knew she hadn’t.  She knew she should always turn their first.  Maybe meditation could help him; maybe if she prayed while meditating, also.   Maybe … her thoughts circled on and on.

Chris dropped her purse and keys on the kitchen table wearily, and head to Tommas’ room.  He was carving a red crusty stone into a dragon head, that was naturally dragon looking.  She could see immediately why he chose a dragon head, and said,

“Wow!  That’s cool.  What kind of stone is that?”

Tommas leaned back in the computer chair, kicking his feet up on his desk and said,

“Don’t know.  I’ve been working on this a while, you have to be very careful, or it just flakes off a big chunk.  Cool, huh?”

“Very.  Dragon, right?”

“Yep.”

“So listen, I’m tired of doctors.  They don’t seem to have a clue.  I was talking with Rachael, my yoga instructor, and she thinks it would be a good idea if we teach you to meditate.  Kind of look inside a bit, see if your own body can tell you what is going on?”

“Are you serious?  Me, doing yoga?”  He laughed out loud.  Just the idea of wearing tights made him lose it.  Chris knew he was thinking about being in a class with all women, legs everywhere, and just couldn’t do it.  He was shy sometimes and never liked to be in the lime light.

“You don’t have to go to class with me, silly, you can do it right here in your room.  She just wants to teach you how to focus, to draw on your inner Chakra’s and lead you to insight.  It works, honey.  All kinds of people meditate.  And lots of them have been known to heal themselves of all kinds of things, even cancers.  It’s like, once you learn how to focus on the inner mind, the inner you, you can learn all kinds of things.  Plus its relaxing and healthy, all by itself.”

“So she’ll teach me to just look inside, and I can heal myself?”

“It may take weeks of meditation, honey.  It takes some people a long time to really GO inside, deeply.  Some just take short naps.  Others, have been able to heal themselves, come up with genius ideas, scientific breakthroughs, stuff like that.  But you can’t just do it once.  Would you at least go with me on Thursday, and see her, see what she has to say?”

“I don’t know, Mom, if word gets out, I’m doomed to whirlies and wedgies for the rest of my life.”

“No one has to know.  Just come with me and meet her.”

“Couldn’t she just come here?  Maybe say she’s coming to see you?”

“She’s very busy with classes honey, she can’t be taking off work.  I promise, it will only be for 10 minutes, then if you want to quit, fine.”  She looked very disappointed that he wouldn’t even try it, and after thinking about it until dinner, he decided why not.  He had nothing to lose, and the blank times were getting longer and longer.  He was beginning to get scared, he wouldn’t come back.  He would be locked in that daze, forever, not being able to speak, or move…it scared the shit out of him.

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