We shared a moment, you and I.
I stepped into the merry-go-round that serves as the hospital exit; you stepped into the compartment behind me, heaved that whirling 3-ton door with all your might, and sent me shooting out of the building like a bullet in boots. But when I looked up from the sidewalk where I landed, you were gone. Where did you go? Where are you now? And why did you go all Incredible Hulk on that door?
I replay our short time together in my head sometimes.
I’m pretty sure you were behind me all 20 paces or so from the elevator to the door. Had you been on that crowded elevator with me? I don’t know.
I remember thinking, in the elevator, that rather than bumming out all our fellow passengers with my “Breast Health Center” paperwork, I’d turn my stack of papers against my chest and hide it. Very smooth. It was only after getting off that I discovered that the back of the last page – the page with the diagram of my bosom – had been facing out the whole time. That’s when I realized that six people had just spent a 90-second elevator ride being treated to a cartoon of my boobs. Nice. You’re welcome, elevator friends.
I feel like I should explain: I wasn’t thinking straight during that elevator ride. At the end of a long appointment that afternoon, my doctor had sat me down and said, “The next step is a mammogram,” and I’d asked, “When?” and she’d said, “As soon as possible.” And I had laughed, which is the nonsensical response I have to scary things; but she had not laughed at all.
There’s no way you could have known all that, obviously. But did you sense it somehow? Could you tell I was freaking out? Were you maybe trying to give me a dry-run on the mammogram experience, so I wouldn’t be nervous when it was time for the real thing?
Because I’ll tell you – it worked. Two days later, when the technician apologized for my discomfort as she mashed my chest into boobcakes between those metal plates, I acted like it was no big deal. She said, “Is this your first mammogram?” And I said, “Well, yes, but just recently, these here ta-tas were crushed between my ribcage and the sidewalk. So this is nothing.”
Or maybe, after taking a gander at my boob drawing, you decided things didn’t look good for me and that you should put me out of my misery. So you hustled along after me, stepped into the human roundabout, and hurled yourself against the door to shove me into traffic and make the whole thing quick. Was that it?
Of course not. You had your own reasons for barreling into the door like that. But I don’t know what they were.
See, there’s so much we need to talk about.
I need to tell you it all worked out fine after that. Not immediately – there were more appointments and more scary things and one time that I sat on a pink sofa in a waiting room full of bald women and repeated, “This is just imaginary,” silently inside my head for 45 minutes. But soon enough, the whole thing was over and everything went back to normal. Or rather, I found out everything had been normal all along.
When I think of that day, I always think of getting knocked off my feet. I think of you. And I wonder what was going on in your world.