Some memories cling to the hemline of your consciousness. Dark pieces that hang like an unwanted thread from the blouse of your existence and you can't get rid of them. To pull is to unravel so you let it be, swaying there in the wind of your living - this little shadow that scared you to death for a moment and you can't ever really get away from it because it is ever lurking and as much a part of who you are as your iris or your baby toe.
Seven years ago...
Lights are brilliant and assaulting and I'm wildly aware that beneath this short blue gown I am naked. There is a chill at my feet and I am just furniture, laying still on a gurney as they bustle and ready. I count five bodies without lifting my head because I am afraid to move. I am afraid to be under their power. I am here to be made better. To be entered and scoped and violated by machinery that will tell them of the gallstones I already know are there. Fear sits like bricks - sweat on my upper lip, the unknown, the known (that I do not trust all these shiny things made to make better).
He approaches with a silver aerosol, glasses reflecting back the sterile light double, asks me to open my mouth. He sprays. To numb my throat. I am already dying. Like cotton is slowly being stuffed against my esophagus. I feel it swell and I can't swallow any more and I feel like I am gasping and my eyes are frantic and huge and my tongue is rolled burlap and can't make sounds and no one cares.
I watch the needle slip into the catheter on my arm - this highway to deliver poison so they might own me. Someone is over me and upside down and their chin is large, bulging beneath a mask and I try to let him know - SOS with my eyes but I can't keep them open. I am being stolen from myself - sucked out and tucked in a lab somewhere until they're done with me.
And then I climb through a fog. Those lights. They burn against my living. There is only black and white and white feels like dying. I feel the possession of steel in my body, how it curls down my throat and I gag against it, fighting the hands suddenly frantic to hold me against the table. My whole being is recoiling and there's chaos all around and I'll never see my son again because I'm going to choke to death - right here in the place for the mending. There is noise and hollering and fingers grabbing against my own and I want my last vision to be something beautiful but instead it is this mess and my heart is broken and I could blacken an eye if they weren't clasping so tightly.
That face. That chin. Over me again and administering something again and I'm feeling the theft - the me being pulled away - the fight being knocked into sleep and this is how I'll get to heaven...last moments stilled against the will to live that heaven gave...
And then I climb through a fog. But now I am in a bed and half-upright and lights are dim but still hurt like blades. There is fire in my throat where I fought to end the damming. I hear them whisper against the thin curtain that separates..."woken"..."an episode"...like I am some crazed mental patient...like they are not at all responsible for the "episode" that may forever haunt me now. And I seal up my eyes and let them call me Love as they oh-so-gently coax me from my medicated coma and oh-so-sweetly help me stand and oh-so-kindly help me to the car...when all I really want to do was cry or punch something or stand on a cafeteria chair and holler out like a beacon, "RUN!"
But demure and silent I climb into the car to go home. And ten minutes later I throw up into a Walmart bag and settle into the knowledge that the rest of my life will be spent in radiating fear of medical procedures that deem me helpless.
I am forever ruined by the mender.