BellaOnline Literary Review
Bearded Iris by Lisa Shea

Non Fiction

Miss Independent II: Transcontinental Search

Charity C. Tran

There was once a transcontinental search for me when I was twenty-six-years-old.

It lasted about 30 minutes.

It required about 10 phone calls Ė seven of which were from one person.

Sometime after my alarm rang at about seven a.m., I had dozed off while NPR chatter came through my radio. I was supposed to be awake and ready at nine a.m. for my friend Thea to pick me up for a coffee outing.

Thea stopped by my place as scheduled Ė sending me a text before she left and calling me when she got there. Sometime in the midst of me missing seven phone calls while my phone was on vibrate, she called up our friends Esteban and Melissa who we were supposed to meet for coffee that morning in Culver City.

The suggestion of calling up my roommate Serena was made Ė lest anything had happened to me.

The problem with trying to reach my roommate Serena? No one had her phone number.

Esteban then proceeded to call the one person he knew who would have her number, his former roommate JonÖ.in Virginia.

Jon then calls Serena back in California, who incidentally wasnít even at our townhouse.

Serena then proceeds to call me.

When I answered, she said, ďOh, weird...Ē

At that point, I was already awake and had talked to Thea. I was able to explain to Serena that I had just overslept and hadnít heard my phone ring.

Iím not sure how many other people would have warranted a transcontinental search, but I suppose being a person that generally gets back to people right away about scheduled things and suddenly doesnít, tends to make people worry. Not to mention, having an epileptic disorder that sometimes involves motor-related impairments tends to increase any worry exponentially.

My seizures arenít like the kind dramatized on television. I donít lose consciousness. People arenít standing by in panic as I shake uncontrollably. In general, I donít realize something has happened until I have the effects of one. In my case, there are days I canít walk because I canít lift my foot. Iím like Uma Thurman in ďKill BillĒ trying to will her toe to move Ė except not quite as cool and successful in getting mind to work over matter. But even in those moments where Iím at my weakest, asking for help is hard and I donít do it unless I really donít have a choice.

So given all that, I felt a bit guilty that such a search ensued when I was catching some unplanned shut-eye. But what I mostly felt is an overwhelming sense of appreciation. I pride myself in being an independent person, of my ability to not only take care of myself but also the people I care about. And while the search wasnít long and the transcontinental part was about three phone calls and ten minutes, I learned a little something ironic about independence.

A personís independence is only made stronger by having people to rely on.

And if thatís the case, Iím a very lucky independent woman.

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