96. That’s the number of ceiling tiles on the ceiling above my head in this room. I know this because I’ve counted them for at least the last 5 hours. I figured after staring at them for a while that I should at least know how many there were, right? Seemed logical.
But then a new debate pops up: what constitutes as a “ceiling tile”? See, some of these tiles are actually lights. In which case there are 92 ceiling tiles and 4 lights. But what about air conditioning vents? There are 2 of those.
This is what the last hours of my life have been. Contemplating the validity of the nature of a ceiling tile. It seems like a safer place for my mind to be than where it will be in 8 and a half hours…
Because, in 8 and a half hours, I’m having my sternum cracked open, my heart stopped, and relocated blood vessels sewn into my heart.
That’s not a dramatic statement. That’s a literal description of what is going to happen to me.
And here I am, the warless warrior. The fightless fighter.
I’m supposed to stand here on my little heap of earth and pound my fist in my chest and scream to the world that there is nothing you can throw at me that I won’t spit back in your face. Leonidas himself would grin at my war cry. King Kong would take a hesitant step in my direction.
I certainly can’t sit here and tell you that I’m terrified.
I can’t tell you that after my room emptied out today; the last of my friends and family going their separate ways to prepare in their own ways for the morning we have coming, that the silence crashed on my brain like waves on rocks. That same breath that caught in my chest this morning at the 22-hour mark caught again, and I felt that fear sneak up on me.
I spun on that fear. I wrapped my fingers around it’s throbbing neck and I grit my teeth.
You see I spent a fine day with the people that mean the most to me. This strength I’m holding together by the slimmest of threads and Papel smoke jokes are for the one I am fighting for. The Men I’ve grown up with and are proud to call my friends. My Mother who has rarely left my side through this ordeal. My Father who drove all morning just to sit with me today. My stepfather who has always been by our sides. My sister who was my original and only real best friend. All of the love and support from friends near and far. The staff at the Medical center of Plano (despite the fact that none of them have any weed – trust me – I asked everyone all day.
You are the ones this armor is strapped on for. I’ll go to any war for any of you. I’ll slay any dragon.
Know that today was a fine, fine day.
Today was OUR day.
Now I need you to have some faith in me for MY day. I need you to know that I’ve never backed away from anything in my life and I don’t plan on starting that trend in the next 8 and a half hours.
You see, friends I learned a long time ago that if you don’t get to living life, it will certainly live you. So you step up to that monster with your teeth bared, stomp that instep , and headbutt the living hell out of anything that stands in your way.
I will see you all on the other side, my friends. Here and forever.