I hadn't planned to write a part 2 to the London story. It seemed pretty complete to me (this could be me watching all these indie films that don't have conventional endings.) My boy called me up midway through Wednesday to ask what happened next. He wanted me to send P2 and couldn't wait till whenever I posted. I told him there wasn't any more.
He was borderline belligerent, insisting the story wasn't done. I saw the comments, but I've got stories pouring out of me right now (as you can likely tell from the long, themed posts this week.) Anyway, I found time to write an unofficial Part 2 at your—and his--request. The thing about passing out is you don't know it when it happens. You figure it out by the gap in you're memory and the reactions of the people around you if you're in public, which is how I realized what occurred.
I come to as I'm being held up by a man. I'll learn later that he saw me swoon on the escalator, fall back, and he ran up the escalator to catch me before I tumbled into Hell. My purse and bag fell halfway down the stairs before another man scooped them.
I'm scared shitless and still on the escalator (it’s that long.) What happened? How did I get here? With my delayed reaction, it takes a few beats to figure out that the worst occurred, but not with the expected result. How long was I out for? Where did this guy come from? There was no one on the escalator when I turned around last.
"Are you okay?" The guy holding me pauses my racing mind in his British accent.
In response, I try to reach for the stairwell to stand on my own. My arm is heavy and even I think it’s moving in slow motion. I wonder how delayed my verbal response was.
He grips me tighter. He's got me by the shoulder and around the waist. I'm being supported and held by a complete stranger. I clearly don't have the strength to pull away. I'm weak and apparently he's strong. I look up to see his face. As weird as this scenario is, I feel safe.
At the top of the steps, the guy holding me guides me to the wall and leans me against it. The guy with my purse hands it to the man, not me. They're crowded around me in my personal space and moving their mouths at each other, then looking curiously at me like I am some sort of rapidly growing science experiment.
Any other time this would freak me out. But I don't have the energy to do that. My head feels heavy. I lean it back and close my eyes.
The man that was holding me steadies my right shoulder to the wall. I hear them talking then, about me. I realize they were speaking about and to me all along. I'm so out of it. Too far gone to even acknowledge or care how gone I am.
"Are you all right?" one man asks me. He's got that tone that indicates this isn't the first time he's asked.
I squeak out a meek "no." I'm scared. I don't feel right and I don't know what's wrong with me or what to do. Tears start to run down my face. I grimace trying to steel myself. Crying won't do anything, but it's the only thing I can do right now so I do it openly, but silently.
I don't know what happens next, but one guy --the one without my bag-- leaves and the other one guides me by the shoulder to the station attendant, a late 30- something Caribbean woman (I can tell by her features).
As he explains to her what happened, she looks concerned and rises from her perch on the stool and offers me a seat. I take it, slump, and drop my head to my chest. I feel slightly better, but I'm still exhausted. She hands me a hard napkin.
Before he leaves, the man sets my purse and bag on the attendant's counter. He asks if I'm okay again. I nod, wiping my face. The attendant promises him she'll look after me, and then he leaves. I squeak out a thank you at his retreating back.
The attendant lifts my chin, looks me in the face, studying me.
"I need to call someone to come get you?" It's posed like a question but it's a statement.
I shake my head. There's no one to call. There's the fucking Atlantic Ocean between me and anyone who cares that I could have fallen down those steep steps and likely killed myself. I need someone and no one's here. I start to cry again because I'm scared.
The woman is looking at me curiously.
"Are you okay, love?"
I swallow a sob, trying to keep from falling apart. I nod, still looking at the floor and say "yes."
I want to go back to the apartment and go bed. I slowly reach for my bag, but the attendant, stops me, steadying me in my chair.
"Don't you think you should stay here for a little while?" she asks. Another question, but more of a statement. "You can stay as long as you need to." She's talking to me like a child, which is great because I feel like one. I sit obediently on the stool.
She offers to get me crackers and juice, and I accept, remembering that was my original mission in getting off the train.
I eat, I sit. She talks to me about nothing, small talk mostly. I listen halfheartedly for what feels like forever. Finally, she asks how I'm feeling again.
I feel fine. I tell her I think I'm ready to go. This time she doesn't try to stop me. I thank her profusely for looking after me, and she tells me to come back and see her next time I'm in the station and to take care of myself. I try to offer her money, reimbursement for whatever she spent on my snack, but she waves me off. I head for the steps leading above ground.
It's a 20 minute walk back to the apartment. I can be back there (Baker Street) in 10, tops, if I take the train. But I figure the fresh air will do me good. Plus there's no way in hell I'm getting back on that escalator today.
I guess I look like hell when I get back to the apartment. One of the female roommates observes this in front of everyone. They are all gathered in the living room watching some British game show.
I sit on the couch to tell them the short version of what happened: I passed out on the escalator. This guy caught me. “I’m fine,” I quickly add. I’m tired of people asking me if I’m okay. I passed out on an escalator. Clearly, I’m not.
"Oh my God, are you okay?!" Steph exclaims as soon as I’m done. She's the closest one to me in the house, but we're not like real friends or anything. All of those are back in America. "Why didn't you call us? I would have come and got you!"
The rest of the room (except one. Long story.) nods or vocalizes their agreement. I shrug that off, but it means something to me. I excuse myself to bed.
I try to go to sleep, but thinking about their reactions. I choke up again. They really care? Wow. I had no idea that they did.