Her pain was intense. She opened her eyes expecting to be lying in the half plowed field. But that’s not where she was. Confusion clouded her mind. Where was she and how did she get here. Everything was cloudy and out of focus. There was someone in the room. She knew by the form she saw – although who it was remained a mystery. She could see no details. It was like she was living in a world of sketches with no substance. She was lying down – that she knew for sure. Beyond that fact everything else was mystery. How she longed to go back to sleep.
Sleep wasn’t an option. Extreme, agonizing pain tore at her mind. As near as she could tell the pain was coming from her hip or her leg. Her mind was having trouble recognizing the exact source of the pain. She concluded right now it didn’t make that much difference. She needed to deal with the pain not examine it. It occurred to her as long as she was feeling pain her body was still working like it should. For her, at this particular time, pain was a good thing.
“Funny how perspectives change with a change in circumstances,” she thought. She would have never welcomed pain before. But now it seemed like a friend (albeit an ornery one!)
The events leading up to this pain began to replay themselves in her mind. It was almost like she was on auto pilot. Her mind had a mind of its own, if that made any sense at all. She remembered waking up that morning (or was it yesterday morning, doesn’t matter) excited about being with her dad. She was going to spend hours with him plowing the field.
She remembered having breakfast with him. It was a big farmer’s breakfast – eggs, home fries with mom’s wonderful gravy and pancakes drizzled with their own maple syrup. They needed a good breakfast because they would be spending hours preparing the field for planting. How she had enjoyed that breakfast. Mom cooked such good meals.
Before going out into the field they had to feed the chickens, gather the eggs, milk the small herd of Holsteins and lead them out to pasture. She remembered thinking “no wonder dad gets up at 5:00 a.m. By the time he eats breakfast and gets the chores done its 6:30 a.m. and dad always wanted to avoid the heat of the day when plowing the fields.” He wasn’t always successful. He knew farming was the one occupation where “make hay while the sun shines” was literally true.
When she got to the barn her dad was busy attaching the plow to the tractor. After dad checked the oil and filled the gas tank he walked to the front of the tractor and with one crank of the engine the tractor leaped to life. Dad climbed aboard first then helped Arlene to a spot near his seat. He pushed the clutch, shifted into second gear and they were on their way to the field.
She remembered getting to the field but nothing after that.
Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of movement. The figure she had seen near the corner of the room was slowly moving toward her. How she wished she could see more clearly. Was the figure someone she knew or an apparition? If it was an apparition was it good or bad? If it was good, like the angel of death, or something, was she near death? It seemed a thousand questions ran through her hurting head. This was the first time she noticed it. Her head was throbbing. Now she had something else to worry about - did she have brain damage? The fact that she was asking herself this question gave her a sense of comfort. Would someone who had brain damage ask themselves this question? But if she did have some kind of internal brain injury then perhaps the figure she had seen wasn’t real. It did look other-worldly.
She glanced toward the place where she had first seen the figure. A twinge of fear released itself through her body. The figure was gone! How could that possibly have happened unless she really did have a concussion or worse? But didn’t concussions make a person feel sick? She didn’t feel sick. That was a good thing, wasn’t it? At that moment she realized she didn’t feel hunger either. What was going on?
Again she glanced toward the corner where the figure had been. More fear surged! Now there were two figures. It looked like they were talking to each other. What kind of plans could they be making? Were they talking about her? Both figures began moving toward her. For the first time she felt intense dread.