Monday, July 7, 2014


I'm on the train to work when it starts. It seems almost harmless for a couple of minutes. Like a mild palpitation in the forehead after a brisk walk. But the veins of pain intensify. Sensitivity to light comes next, but I am still not believing it. I am hoping it will pass. Nausea hits and I know there is no hope. Severe nausea, like that time when I took a boat in Brazil and over 50% of the boat was sick from the choppy waters. I'm surfing the waves of tracks in lower Manhattan. The subway car is too cold, and I have a sheet of cold sweat all over my body.

The odors come next. Summer in NYC has a stench like no other. Subway cars are not immune. My sense of smell is as strong of a dog's at the moment. I can smell food, body odors, soap and coffee breath all over this train. I'm helpless and so damn aware. Of the noises, the movements, the smells...

I am aware that people may be staring at me too. With my clenched fists and closed eyes. The sleepy kind of attention that you get early mornings in NYC subways. Almost a polite kind of attention. Never a sustained eye contact.

I get to work and sit in a quiet dark conference room. Throbbing pain dances through my forehead. It smells like plastic and wood shavings here. The room was renovated last month. On another day the smell would be so pleasant. I am hoping no one has booked a meeting this morning. I can smell my own deodorant mixed with sweat and I wish I hadn't put on any. My eyes are watering. I start reciting poetry because that's the only thing that takes my mind off of the pain and I don't need to use my eyes or ears for it. I recite Hafiz and Rumi and the headache throbs and throbs, almost dancing to the rhymes.

Tears start running down my cheeks.  I feel like a toddlers in pain who can't communicate. No one is coming to take my pain away.

Sobbing feel good. Maybe it's the rush of oxygen, inhaled in between the sobs. Maybe it's the motion that jerks my body. But the pain is almost dissipating. It is there but it's not making me want to vomit anymore.

I walk out of the room but I immediately have to put on my sunglasses. My computer is too bright. But the day doesn't stop for my headache. I start responding to my emails...

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