BrooklynaireBy: Sarina Bowen
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
—Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
April 2, Brooklyn
It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am something of a badass.
For starters, I live in Brooklyn, where everyone can more or less handle herself. I drink my coffee black. And I work with professional athletes, holding my own in an office so full of testosterone that caffeine is almost beside the point.
I can do twenty-five push-ups in a set. Last year a hockey player bet against me on this and lost his hundred bucks. So, until twenty-four hours ago, I thought of myself as pretty darned tough.
And I’ll need to be. The Brooklyn Bruisers are closing in on the NHL playoffs for the first time in years. Once my team makes the playoffs, a flood of tasks will head my way. Travel arrangements. Publicity events. Ticket sales in distant venues. As the office manager, it’s my job to coordinate all this happy chaos.
But yesterday afternoon, in a moment of sheer stupidity, I walked out onto the gleaming ice of the practice rink to deliver a message to one of my coworkers.
For two years I’d worked for the hockey team without ever setting foot on the ice. But yesterday I thought…why not? It’s like working at a fine restaurant and never sampling the food.
The why not became obvious about sixty seconds later, when my Chuck Taylor low tops slipped on the slick surface. I went down so fast that I couldn’t even break my fall with my hands. Instead, I went down on one butt cheek. But that slipped, too! I continued falling sideways, my arm and head hitting the ground next. My head actually bounced off the ice before I finally came to rest on the cold, cold surface.
Immediately, I did what any self-respecting girl does after she takes a serious tumble—I dusted myself off and told the two coworkers who witnessed this ridiculousness that I was absolutely fine.
And I thought I was fine, unless we were counting the bruise on my butt, which is the size of the tri-state area.
The concussion I sustained wasn’t noticeable at first. I assumed that my disorientation was from sheer embarrassment. Feeling flushed and confused seemed perfectly rational at the time.
I went home, ate some leftovers out of my refrigerator, and went to bed early. But at two in the morning I woke up again suddenly. My headache had escalated, and I felt a little sick. So I got up and went into the bathroom looking for some aspirin. And when I flipped on the light, the room spun. I grabbed the towel bar so hard that it came off the wall.
For the second time that day, I fell down on my ass.
The crash woke up my sister in the other bedroom. When she found me blinking on the floor, she panicked. That’s how we ended up at the ER at Brooklyn Methodist in the middle of the night. If I think about the bill they’re going to send me, I’ll probably get nauseous again. They poked and prodded me in all the usual places, shining infernal lights in my eyes while I insisted they should let me go home.
They finally did, but not before giving me lengthy instructions on how to recover from a concussion.
So here I roost—on the world’s ugliest couch—in my tiny, overcrowded apartment, wondering what the hell I’m going to do. Meanwhile, tears of frustration are tracking down my face.
And I never cry. What the actual fuck?
Okay, it hurts, dammit. But the headache isn’t what’s got me so upset. The ER doctor said I can’t go back to work for two weeks. He told me to stay home and avoid screens, paperwork, stress, and all physically and intellectually taxing situations.
Another tear glides down my face while I try to get my head around this. I’ve just texted Hugh Major—the General Manager of the Brooklyn Bruisers—to tell him I need a few days off. And I had to squint just to make the letters on the screen stop swimming around.
And two weeks? That’s just crazy talk. The timing is terrible, and Hugh will not be pleased. Nor will Nate Kattenberger, the team’s owner.
Furthermore, I’m not okay with it. My boys are on the cusp of making the playoffs for the first time since I came to work with the team. I have to be there to see it. For two years the hockey team has been my whole life. Sitting out for two weeks? Impossible.