I wonder what change looks like, fear. Physically, I mean. Is it bumpy and sharp? Wispy like a tumbleweed full of hot air? Or is it pebble-soft smooth, one of a million in a rain stick tumbling down?
Last night Bryan and I watched a mediocre movie. At some point I took off my earrings, small gold studs, and I hooked one into the other and rolled them around in between my fingers. Is this what it’s like? A spikey small thing, uneven and strange? I rolled them around like that until the pads of my fingers went numb, and then I placed them into the fold of my robe and ran my hand over the tiny bump in the chenille. Bryan sat next to me, transfixed by the tv. I don’t know if it’s a man thing or just a Bryan thing but when the tv is on he cannot see, hear, taste, smell anything but what is on the screen. I could change the channel to the Cantonese Home Shopping Network and still he would stare. And so he didn’t notice that for the entire movie I had one hand inside my robe rubbing small circles, first over one breast and then the next. What does it feel like? Which is not to say Bryan was not, is not, a fabulously caring husband. Throughout the movie he would tear himself away and kiss me. I love you, he’d say. You’re sexy. Me there in my robe rubbing my earrings beneath the fold. D’ya’ wanna’ do it? And I shook my head no. We’re not going to do it until you get your results, are we? And the thing is, I don’t want to be scared. This is silly. I am fine. Really, I am sure I will be fine. To everything there is a before and an after, and this? This is the before of nothing. But last night my breast ached. A dull throb beneath the spot. Don’t be silly, I thought. And then I made my pinkie ache, just to see if I could. Ow, I thought. My pinkie hurts. Do it, see? Really. Think about it and your pinkie will hurt. It aches. My prostate, the one kind of cancer I am truly guaranteed never to get. Somewhere deep inside my backside I imagine a gland. I am not even sure where it is: my ass? My urethra? I don’t know, I do not have one, but if I think about it hard enough I can make my prostate hurt. It aches. And I have to imagine that if I can make something I don’t even have hurt, then I can make something I probably don’t even have never appear. Because change looks like this: a 36 year old woman sitting on her couch in her bathrobe watching a mediocre movie with her husband. Trying to breathe.