As a kid, I used to like to watch the black and white reruns of The Twilight Zone with Rod Serling. The one that I remember as being the most disturbing was not the aliens with their human cookbook or the evil talking doll, it was the one where a bespectacled bank teller, Henry Bemus, just wanted time to read everyday but his wife and boss made it nearly impossible for him to find the time. When an H-bomb is dropped (this originally aired in 1959), killing everyone and destroying his town, he alone survived because he had been hiding in the bank vault, reading, during his lunch break. Alone, with enough food for years, he discovered true happiness in being surrounded by all the books he could ever want to read. He now had Time Enough at Last to read to his heart's content. In the last moment of the show, he bends over to pick up a book and his glasses fall off his face and the lenses shatter. Without his glasses, having an abundance of time and books to read was more like torture than the bliss he had anticipated. I felt his pain and realized the cruelty of his fate, even as a young girl of 10 or 11.
I think there could be some similarities drawn between the bank teller's fate and that of my own. I thought I had it all together when, within a span of six months:
~I earned a degree in Library and Information Technologies
~I secured a job that I loved in a middle school library
~we bought a beautiful new home
~we spent a wonderful week on vacation in Hawaii
~my husband and I continued to enjoy a strong and loving relationship
~I had an active social life with friends (both old and new)
~I had joined a book club at the public library
~I was happy and (seemingly) healthy and enjoying life in my early 40s
~we were navigating the early high school/mid-teen years with a few bumps, yet I knew our family was strong together and believed that we would all get through the years ahead with success
However, during this same six month span, ALS was silently moving in, dropping a bomb on my life. It has taken out my central communication center and is weakening my upper extremities. I know it has plans to invade further but I do not offer surrender or retreat. For now, I adapt to my current circumstances and, unlike Henry Bemus, I won't be sitting on the library steps crying about the unfairness of my fate. I will continue to battle on knowing that the difference is that I am not alone. If need be, I know someone will be by my side to read to me should my glasses shatter.