A man plants his son next to me and moves slightly away, telling him, "Stay next to the lady." I wonder if he would do the same thing if I was sans crutch, because I'm shocked. People pull their children away from me in the grocery store, but this man leaves his injured son next to me? The boy has a cast on his left arm and contentedly watches Scooby-Doo as he waits.
Am I watching this boy? Is he my responsibility? If something bad happened, should I protect him? I feel more obligation now than I did before, but the man never said, "Will you keep an eye on my son for a second?" Rather, it's implied I will watch him. I would have thought I was over-analyzing, but that man's son (Michael) and I watched Scooby-Doo for a good ten minutes before he came back.
At home I make Kale and Peanut stew with yams on the side. What my family's West African ancestors ate. It's delicious and the kale is in season, which means it's cheap, plentiful and delicious. I ate it raw as I prepared it, even the tough stems.
I hope this time of less pain never, ever ends. I look better, I feel better. I'm going to do everything in my power. Pray, exercise, compel my doctors with everything I have in me.
In the same way you wake up and understand you were dreaming; I can see that pain had reduced me from a person with many interests to just a machine for coping with pain without falling apart.
Because suddenly my horizons broaden. There's a Japanese club meeting on Tuesday focusing on reading and writing, should I bring that haiku I wrote? There's a book club if the library would hurry up and get the danged book on reserve. And Rembrandt is at the art museum until the end of May! I can't miss that for the world. His portraits have a knowing, secretive look.
All those doctors. I feel like they stole my life from me. As if they looked right through the human being in me and only saw their ass on the line. Eventually, even a stoic like me would have cracked, I suppose. I was raised in an environment not to complain, not even as a young girl. Once I was seven or eight and had a fever and the chills. I climbed out of bed and went in my parents' room.
"Dada, I'm sick," I said.
"Go lie down." he said.
"I don't feel well, I'm shaking,"I said.
"Go lie down," he said.
I went back to room, climbed into my bed and shook. So I know how to utilize my inner resources to the very hilt. My father and mother "trained" me at this. It sounds awful and cruel. But my parents saw far ahead to something I didn't realize until many years later. My parents knew that I had better be good at handling my own discomfort, my own problems, because when I needed help that it would probably be slow in coming.
They were not wrong.