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Ice. (efdreams.com)

A day after New Year’s I had a huge migraine. Now, it is a well-known fact that I am not Stephen King. I cannot work through or in pain. But my brain begins to whirl in overdrive, although usually in one gear.

The migraine was precipitated by weather. From mid-50s we dove into low 30s, and it began to snow in the middle of the night. As much as I love the weather, it does not love me back. My head is a barometer. And, the two glasses of wine, plus champagne-like wine didn’t help any.

I got up at around 5 in the morning to take medicine, but could not go straight to sleep. Lying in bed, I thought about the state of the world, and what I can to fix my little corner of it. Just kidding! I just said I’m no Stephen King! I thought about my pain, a bright pinpoint in my left temple.

When I was younger, I believed that me suffering through migraines was a penance I had to pay. I have sinned, lied, got angry, overate, lazed off, etc., etc., etc. But then, the medicine came along, and suddenly I no longer had to pay retail for my sins. Wholesale payment, that became my life. Suddenly, I could cheat. Maybe I could have another drink, and then take the meds the day after. Maybe I could have another piece of chocolate, and then take meds the next morning. Suddenly I had more freedom of sin (albeit not the biggies).

But more freedom also meant more responsibility. Now I had choices of living my life, and sure, at first I went a little crazy. But eventually I calmed down enough to begin thinking. I was living my life as if what I did had no consequence. But in truth, all of life is consequence. Walk on thin ice — ice will break. Ice doesn’t care who walks on it, it can’t tell the difference between sinner or saint. Consequences arise from choices I make. Turn left or turn right at the intersection? Say something mean to someone or be kind? Pick up that piece of trash, or just walk by? Root for one team or another? OK, that last one probably doesn’t make much of a difference in life, but it’s still a choice.

I can honestly say that I became an adult when I realized that my actions are entirely up to me. Suddenly, I could say “no” and mean it. Things didn’t happen, I made them happen. Or not — again, the choice is mine. However, now I was stuck with responsibility, an ugly word if used improperly. But I began to understood the very nature of responsibility, and all of this, because there was now medicine for my migraines.

Like ripples in the pond, one action followed the other. Of course I didn’t think all of that while snuggling down, waiting for my medicine to work. I thought, “Ow, ow, ow, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts.” Until I fell asleep.

Written by

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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