I Believe in Synchronicity
My sister, they’d said in the phone call, had been pushing from behind. Now the surgeon says at least six weeks until she can reach maximum dexterity with her extremities.
I am the older sister, despite the needs of other family members. We’ve crossed words, those others and I, over the broken-blind nursing home or a private-room facility for the temporarily-getting-well. It’s settled now, but I tell you, I lost a night’s sleep arguing with my pillow about whether it was my place to be running up against the ingrained.
Just before the pins were to be inserted, I’d driven to my regular Sunday meeting. There were five of us that morning of all the people in the world who might have made it to that one room.
Afterwards, one of the five, by first name only, came forward; did I know she worked as an occupational therapist at a local rehab center, giving me a direction I could begin to turn toward?
Then, when I found her employer on the insurance company’s 100 percent list, I knew this was no simple meaningful coincidence but Synchronicity, with a capital S, and how I came to believe it was my duty to place my only surviving sibling in the best place possible to take care of my serenity.
Now, due to the daily, my house is messy as any nursing home, but because I’m gone so much, I visit only long enough to sleep, about midnight last Friday getting hit by this poem:
A Case of Acute Samaritanism
Between Ritzville and the Tri-Cities,
a call breaks up 395-South:
my sister, in a Costco parking lot
back home, offered to help
a stranger with starter troubles.
See it: my sixty-something Billie,
white tennis shoe flip flops,
veins pumping prescription formulaire,
as needed, to keep
even two cents worth of feelings from spreading—
our growing up years had not been swell—
my sister pushes, for all she’s worth,
her hands wrapped around the top
of the Toyota’s tailgate.
This is when the engine catches
with a full-speed jerk, and my sister,
who had her bags packed
to leave Monday to fly seven hundred miles
to help a childhood friend organize
her house in a two week marathon
(she hadn’t wanted to go, she said,
but the friend had been begging
for years), my sister who lives
with the man with her as far
as the emergency room,
but then announced he had to leave
to report for his court-ordered appearance
for which my sister had been
scheduled to drive him about,
well that sister had held on such
on the pickup’s uphill incline, both her arms
fractured before she hit the asphalt,
face down—those long arms
not now lifting a spoon to any mouth,
not now wiping any bottom,
nor pulling on socks—mascara off the charts,
plus teeth brushing—
her multiple breaks high up,
in both shoulder joints, there where overdosing
on caretaking can infect the most.