In my old age, I have become an artist’s model. Every couple of months, I remove all metal adorning my body, enter a radiation-proof inner sanctum, climb up on a conveyor belt that carries me into a cavernous machine and a radiation artist makes images of my brain. The images are preserved in the Cloud, potentially for posterity.
How terrible is nostalgia for one’s former self. There I am dancing down city streets like Gene Kelly in Paris. Healthy and fit. Ready for adventure and new friends. Oblivious to clouds floating up over the horizon. Now here I am in a fog that has seemingly out of nowhere descended.
I have a brain tumor–an oligodendroglioma to be precise. I have been told multiple times by patients and doctors, usually without irony, that it is the best brain tumor. Why? Because I get to die slowly.
I really miss hiking.
Don’t miss emptying the dishwasher.
Don’t miss those who no longer are in touch,
Miss dresses. And miss shoes that aren’t sneakers.
Miss working outside the house and bosses who make life orderly.
Miss walking through streets of unfamiliar places.
Miss running to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Miss ignorance of what can go wrong in my body.
That’s all I can think of now.
Yesterday, a neighbor with whom I used to chat when I passed by her house on my twice daily dog walks came upon my husband and me as I teetered at the top of our driveway.
I giddily cried “Why hello-oh!! I haven’t seen you in a year and a half!!”
She looked me over, undoubtedly noticing my lack of hair, my cane and the spastic half of my body, and said seriously, “You look good.”
Not wanting her to think that I was soon to keel over and die, I said in a crazed, joyous manner as she and her husband began to move away, “I got a scooter for my birthday, so I will be able to pass by your house again!”
Every night when I was a kid, I would get on my knees and pray. I knew that Jews pray before they go to sleep; I just didn’t know the correct posture. Anyway, I’d get on my knees and clasp my hands–the way I had learned from Television–and I recited the Shema, and then said, “GOD bless Mommy and Daddy and Grandpa and Jesus.”
I dropped Jesus when I found out we don’t believe in his divinity; and then my grandpa when he died; and my parents when they divorced and turned into wild animals; and then the Shema when I stopped believing in a personal god.
I wait for mysteries to come.
Margaret Klosko has lived in Charlottesville since 1981, is a native New Yorker and shares her home with a husband, three daughters, a grandson, and two dogs. She has published nonfiction widely in article and book form. Read more of her work at megutmansworld.blogspot.com
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