In the Night

Last week, some of you may have noticed that I did not write a post in here. I would like to aapologizefor my lack of blog posting one week ago Friday. However, the reason I could not post in here is quite unique and different - I couldn't post because I spent the entire overnight in an empty building, alone, at the college campus I work at, sleeping in the theatre office without a soul around me anywhere. And let me tell you, if anything will make you feel completely, totally, and pathetically alone - it's that.

But let me back up a bit. Let me explain to you how I got to that very alone place in that very large and very quiet building last week. To fully understand, we have to go back to July 13, 2011. The morning of my husband's sudden death. He collapsed inside of a PetSmart, while working to help out with their adoption center for the cats and dogs. About an hour or two after arriving at work that morning, he would be dead from a massive heart-attack. My close friends came and got me at the local hospital, where I had taken a cab to the E.R. to find out why they had my husband there, not knowing at the time that he was taken there by ambulance, and that he was now dead. Not knowing anything at all, really, except that my beautiful and healthy, young husband got up, went to work, and never came home.

When my friends arrived at the hospital to pick me up, a couple hours after he died, we had to drive to the PetSmart so that I could get his shitty car and then drive it back to our shitty New Jersey apartment. Literally, everything in our life was held together by scotch tape and hope. His car was a 1997 Grand Prix, and it had given us a ton of problems that last year or so. About a month before he died, we took the car in for it's latest set of repairs, which totaled around $800. We left the power steering broken because we couldnt afford to have it fixed, and Don was really good with cars, so he felt comfortable driving his own car with no power steering. I will never forget trying to drive his car from that PetSmart to our apartment with no power-steering, and then driving it the 5 hours to Massachusetts a few months later, so that my brother could sell it for me. It had become unsafe, and it was time. That same awesome brother of mine then bought me another car - another used car that his friend was selling for a couple thousand dollars - a 2002 Grand Prix, same make and model as my husband's car. It felt like a sign of some kind. About 7 months later, that car also died, and we ended up having to sell that one too.

Then, about 14 months after my husband's death, I finally had to move out of our apartment, and go somewhere else with a roommate. I moved to out of New Jersey, and into Queens. Then, just 7 months later, I moved yet again (because my roomate turned out to be a not so nice person), to a different part of Queens, with a different roommate. No longer having a car, I was taking the local bus to the train to work, and it was a long and annoying commute. Then my roommate very nicely suggested that I could drive her car to work since she didnt really use it much during the week anyway. So I did. I have been directing a theatre show at the university I teach at, for the past couple weeks now. Rehearsals are grueling and have been 5 and 6 nights a week. Well, last Friday night, we got out of rehearsal around 10 p.m., and I walked out to my roommate's car in the theatre parking lot, and tried to open the door with the remote. Nothing happened. Uh-oh. So I opened the door manually, and then went to start the car. Car would not start. Totally dead. And then, to top it all off, the key was now stuck in the ignition and would not come out. Here's something else fun - it was randomly freezing cold on this night last week. Really, really cold. Oh, and the many many public safety vans that kept driving right past me as I tried to flag them all down to let them know "Hey Dumbass! I need help!" - were all going straight past insignificant little me, and right on into Kesha. Yes, the ONE night that the car Im using dies for no reason, is the same night that pop-star Kesha is in concert AT THE UNIVERSITY! I called public safety and told them I needed help. Finally, two older guys who looked like they couldnt figure their way out of a paper bag, came over and tried to jumpstart the car. Nothing happened. I called my roommate. She doesnt have AAA, it's now past 11 pm, and it's looking like I am not getting back to Queens on this night. I had to be back on campus the next morning for yet another rehearsal, and now the plan was for the tow truck to come get the car in the morning. So I put up a public post on Facebook, asking my long island friends if I could come to anyone's house and crash there just so I could have someplace to sleep.

Nobody responded. Wait. I take that back. Here's who responded. Douchebags that said stuff like: "Hey Im in California. It's sunny here and warm! Wish I could help! Stay safe!" Yeah, thanks a lot, dickbag. That is very helpful. Not one person who lives local to that area responded, so I got desperate the later it got into the night and the colder the temperatures got. They had locked up all the buildings on campus, and everyone was tending to Kesha and her people. The concert was just getting out, so hundreds of screaming fans were all over the place, and I was just trying to find a place to sleep or at least stay warm. I didnt have enough cash to take a cab all the way home, which would have been over $60 - and it was too late for me to do the train to bus combo, which is highly unsafe after about midnight. So, I started begging the security guys to please let me into the theatre building. "I work here", I said, showing them my I.D. One guy actually said to me with a straight face: "Well, you know the Garden City hotel has a special right now for only $225 a night!" Seriously???

So, after another hour of bullshit from several people who didnt want to help or just didnt care, I finally found one security guy who was concerned about me and got on his radio and explained my story, asking his boss if he could please unlock the theatre building for me so Id have a place to hang out for the night and maybe get some sleep. So he let me in. And then he left.

I was perfectly safe in there, basically locked inside the fortress of solitude. But it is a huge building - 3 floors - and lots of offices, rehearsal rooms, theatres, etc. It was dark in there. I sat in the performing arts offices, charging my phone and just sitting around. Eventually, I curled up on a very tiny and hard couch with no pillow or blanket or anything at all, and no toothbrush, no change of clothes, and no husband to come pick me up and rescue me - and I just sobbed. Then I sobbed some more. Yes, I was safe. But I felt sooooo alone. I felt abandoned. I felt like nobody cared about me. I felt like nobody's priority. I felt like a person who was left alone to sleep inside of an empty building, breathing in the sounds of her own echo.

Of course, the next morning, people came out of the woodwork. "Oh my god! Why didnt you call me? I live 10 minutes from there! You could have slept here!" "Oh! I was home last night! You should have come here!" - and on and on and on. Yes, it was nice to know I had friends who had my back. But it didnt take away how lonely and alone I felt the night before. How cold I was. How tired I was. How angry and frustrated I was - and how awful it feels to not be someone's priority. For nobody to say "Dont worry honey - I will come to you - and Ill bring you home - whatever it takes." It made me feel so forgotten, and so small, in that gigantic building. Just one lost soul, looking desperately and hopelessly for her eternal love.


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