Free Thoughts Thursday: The Emergency Room
By Olivia of WangGuk
Tonight I’m sitting in the emergency room. I’m here with my best friend and her mom. It’s going to be the middle of the night soon and her mom and I have work tomorrow but we’re here because we have to be. It was one of those situations where I really didn’t have to go— in fact, my physical presence in this situation is probably fairly unnecessary— but something about me not going would have been wrong. So I’m sitting here feeling useless, but I’m sitting here because she’s my best friend and I know she’d be here if it were me, no matter how useless she’d feel.
I think a lot of things are like this in life. A lot of the time, we can’t do anything that will actually solve the problem, but just lending our presence to someone does so much more than we think it could. I think people were made for people— we were made to care about each other, to live in community with one another, to simply be with one another— and I think just being with one another is medicine enough sometimes. The presence of another being beside me is often so much unspoken comfort that I feel like it’s all I want some days. I used to experience this with my dog. Sometimes, I’d have the worst day ever— I mean like literally nothing went right in a day— and no one would be home for me to vent to, so I’d change into some boxers and go and sit on the ground in my backyard by myself. Except, I wouldn’t be by myself for long because my dog would hear me or smell me and she’d come waddling out of her house and come and maul me.
I would sit on the cracked patio and tell her to stop sniffing me and to stop touching me because I had had a bad day and I didn’t want to be touched, I just wanted to be alone. And then she’d keep smelling me and wiping her wet nose on me and climbing all over me because she always still thought she was small enough to stand and sit all over people no matter how fat she got. So I’d let her lay on top of my lap with my legs out straight. And then I’d just start crying or yelling or doing whatever I needed to do to get it all out. And she’d just lay on me and listen. She’d just be still while I wasn’t. It was weird. She couldn’t speak the same language as me, so I knew she could never say anything to make me feel any better, but just her being with me made me feel more calm. Eventually I’d calm down and stop crying and I’d just sit with her and pet her or do whatever. We’d just be together and we’d be fine.
I think togetherness is often such an overlooked cure to our illnesses. When I think of the human condition and the illnesses of loneliness or selfishness we sometimes face as humans, I quickly think of togetherness and what a cure it is to so many of our ailments. I think of what a miracle togetherness is in a world like ours. We were made for one another— people were made for other people. I think that’s why togetherness is so vital to life worth living; I think sometimes we forget how to just be still and be with one another.
So that’s what I’m thinking about as I’m sitting here waiting for my best friend to come out of the back room. I’m sitting here in my favorite light-blue, light-as-air Alexander Wang T shirt, my sister’s widest-cut Zella sweats, and my slippers; and nothing else really matters except that friends are together tonight.