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Baby Proof Slick

Hark, the happiness horizon. Paint it yourself. There’s no phone call coming, "Hello, Dear, we found your soul satiation, your dream wall all lit up, your real rest and therapeutic guffaws."  No Handsome stranger delivering good news, lessin’ he can find you, darlin’ girl.  You find you.  No out of the blue Enter Here at the stage door, your dressing room awaits, where you are young, professional, where you can be every time of you, where you look deepest into your eyes and see all the versions of you, preparing, constantly balance your fear and your power within the construct of words or notes or curtain up curtain down, freedom to bleed your art all over everyone, where you are full, growing from and flying over the grounded.  No Here’s the kiss, the whisper that makes you come, holding the door for you, makes you feel tiny-delicate, checking you out, is so happy for you...so beautiful and sexy, your talent and confidence makes you so attractive. (Cancer is like jewelry for the eccentric, the smart, perceiving you...bedazzled, hip, shiny pink badge of OH you are so STRONG!) No friends sweeping in without a welcome mat, an opening at the INNvalid.  Time to take this show on the road, Babe.   Creeeeeeeek, (cough cough), the door is opening.  Can’t see the horizon from your shadow world, and they can’t see you so far off the radar. Can’t make them work so hard, now.  Your ears have been burning, go find the buzz, gal. Yawn and stretch (ow) and try to come alive! 

(er, uh, by the way, this was a document lost, and found.  It was written, 'cept for this bit, prior to "Trick, I Guess".  Just sayin'.  It's a bit outta order)

Memorial, Mary Ellen Locher; Doc cuts me off, anticipating my question, saying, with borderline exasperation, It’s time to “liberate movement” (undertone of JEEEEEZ!).  I have been harassing him about exercise. When can I Just Do It??? Had major resistance for months.  But thank goodness.  I didn’t, don’t want to cause damage to his lovely work.  I try to clarify what all I am able to do now;  Running? Wee wittle weight wifting? Picking up my nephew without the panic I’ll drop him and a boob will fall off and my back will split open?  Up until this visit, he has said I couldn’t even ride the stationary bike, or walk too fast.  I’d been chastised for carrying a backpack.  But now he says, “Do whatever you want. Walk a tight rope for all I care! Take your dance classes. You’re baby proof!”
He’s chuckling a bit as he says these things.  And I am, too.  I want to toss-head-back-cackle.  Here I sit, topless, (yet again), having just been squeezed and freed by this man in his lavender (always pastels, even when they are plaid) button down, and he just called his cancer-treatment-induced-infertile, never-having-nor-never-will-breast-feed, breast patient “Baby Proof”.  He is clueless, but I love this moment.

Now the nurse comes in.  We are to schedule nipple construction. (if I had a nickel…) Dr. B leaves in his usual flurry and I have to stand by the blue back ground for breast mug shots.  I am secretly wishing it was actually a blue screen and that I could appear topless on the roof of a speeding train, or skydiving, or something psychedelic…

I digress.
I always digress.

Anyone who knows me knows I am the queen of digression, tailor of tangential tales, often at “too many notes” impartation station.  I am concision Kryptonite. Here’s to the poor souls who have endured my voicemail messages.  Have you gotten through them all yet?  Are you okay?

Pics done, I dress. I go to scheduling with Doris. October 31 or December 2?  I am told I’ll have these little shields protecting my new nips that should fit easily under my bra for two weeks.  Well, I guess I can start my new job with those.  I ask three different people in the office, two nurses and Doris.  “Should fit easily under the bra.”  If I need to, I can drive myself to the procedure.  I am sure that mom and/or dad will want to drive me, but it’s good to know.  December 5th we head to Kansas for a week to visit Jason and Heather and the two girls.  I want to be able to pick up my niece, Faith, and not worry about bandages or shields or anything like that.  So, Halloween it is!  Why not?  I had my boobs cut off on Mardi Gras...  Let’s dress ‘em up on Halloween!

I leave the hospital and, aah joy, I hit the gym!  Oh my goodness gracious it was awesome!!!  I sweat! I felt my heart pumping (fitness not fear or frustration)!  I know You, Girl.  I know You, Athletic Person, Dancer, You, Pushing Yourself!  Hi!  I missed You!!  I know You, Body.  I know You, Muscles.
nnnnnnNNNOOO I don’t.  mmph. eek.  It was all going so well.  But I start to realize I don’t know this body.  I’ve been out of shape before, and then felt the invigoration of bringing myself back into good condition.  But now, I don’t know what I can do.  I tried to do light lat pull downs.  I am literally missing part of my left Latissmus Dorsi.  I can’t feel it.  I can’t feel it.  I know there is muscle there, still.  But I can not feel it.  Do I try harder?  Do I back off?  I tried to do a couple light presses…just 5’s.  5's, for cryin' out loud.  Good Grief.  But I was suddenly so aware that my pectoral muscles are all mismatched now.  I am not just weak from lack of exercise.  I am re-worked, re-wired.  I have all this ambition and determination but I need more information, more knowledge.  Stretching is scary, sit-ups feel precarious.  AARRRRRGGHHH!!!!  I am both frustrated and exhilarated being here. 

Finish a thorough, bizarre and monumental workout.  I take myself to the Majestic, downtown.  I see The Guard.  I laughed and laughed.  

I love going to the movies by myself.  The first time I ever did was to Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. The next time was about three years ago in New York.  The first one I tried to go to alone was an Ingmar Bergman film in the village.  "Monika", and, the west one.   
(smile….sentimental rush…I can taste the pizza, smell the beer soaked bars, feel the laughter in my cheeks, see the bright fresh flowers for sale, brightest against the graey rainy days and I couldn't resist buying them then…I am walking out of the West 4th Street station onto sidewalks to everywhere cool...a show...a rehearsal...through the glass doors into...)

It was around midnight and it would have been perfect, but that my soon to be ex-husband insisted on joining me.  He was clinging to us, when not checking texts from the latest young, naive girl who thought they were in love. (please note my mature and polite substitution for "stupid whore").  And even though we were in couples’ therapy, which ultimately proved to be sessions with a calm and educated man decisively advising us NOT to be together, I was already in my head and heart fleeing…in fight AND flight.   I didn’t want to go home with him, and he didn’t want to go home without me.  And he sure as hell had no interest in the film.  But damnit, there we were, cold and sad in the flicker and glow of black and white.

The first movie I saw by myself after the divorce was Juno.   I reveled in my independence, watching a movie in Manhattan in the middle of the afternoon, having the theater nearly to myself, my boots propped up on the back of the seat in front of me as I ate my Brie and Arugula sandwich instead of popcorn.  

It was raining when I left the theater in Chattanooga.  I distinctly remember practicing my Scottish and Irish dialects (movie inspired) as I drove the ramp off 24 onto 75.  Not a particularly dangerous ramp, or at least it never seemed to me to be, I still take the curve under the limit.  I got just to the point of hitting 75 when my car decided to chainee across the interstate.  Cue ironic waltz.  I slid through three lanes, traveling sideways, forward, and round and round.  My mind was recalling road rules;  “When hydroplaning ALWAYS…wait, no, it was, NEVER….” 
(that’s for you, Rach)
Don’t freeze.  I was trying to drive into it, flying by eighteen-wheelers and various vehicles like a space ship through asteroids.  Somehow, after spinning all the way on to the shoulder of the left-most lane, I began another 360 back across the interstate, going the other way, again, sailing passed moving metal masses, unscathed, and end up in the exit lane for the next exit, and stop neatly and unassumingly in the halted traffic in front of me.
I’d been silent in the car, but felt like I’d been screaming my lungs out.  There was a lingering echo of the screeching tires. I kept expecting someone to approach the car, or to see red and blue flashing…something.  Nothing.  We inch along.  Traffic is completely congested ahead.  Can’t believe I didn’t hit anyone, anything, or this stopped wall of cars.  I’ll just get off here at East Ridge…so I can take a moment…ya know…to make sure my I haven’t defecated in the driver’s seat…a moment to shake or cry or laugh or whatever’s coming. 

I drive home, continually resetting my shoulders.  I drive home slowly, replaying the day.  Baby proof.  Haha.  The gym.  The movie.  Everything after the slick is a blur.
Eyes on the road.  Shoulders down.  Hear the leather of the steering wheel as my knuckles release and clench and release. 
Over the wet leaves into the driveway.  The glow of home lit up when you are expected.  Pull up next to the liriope. Park. Parking break up. Lights off.  Listenish for a moment more to the nebulous tunage of evening NPR. Turn it all off. 
(That's for you, "SB" Peterson)

A day of odd and grand blessings. 

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