15 Dec rolling the dice
More boob induced musings. It’s not like me to keep sharing properly personal things online, but I guess I’m fascinated by how my brain processes things into prose these days. So, I’m sharing this for the writing more than the subject matter if that makes sense. And thinking about high school and my awesome pencil case has brought forward some great memories.
*Artwork credit: Pencil Case/Boob, Alison Farrer
I’m going to insert a titanium marker, Steve said, clinical eyes framing the top of his mask – never actually meeting my eyes, I notice, staying focused somewhere near the bridge of my nose. Maybe they learn that at medical school, to protect themselves.
Who was I to argue?
Me, laying supine on the cot, one breast perfectly exposed in a surgery drape.
It wasn’t a question; it was a statement. He knew best.
It will not interfere with your body at all, and will allow us to know exactly where to come back should we need to.
Wait… we’re going to come back?
Can I see it? I ask, braver than before, curiosity trumping concern.
But it was already inserted into the tip of the needle and Steve was all business, so my imagination had to suffice until the mammogram confirmed it.
An intimate encounter Steve and I had, alone in the darkened hospital ward, but not the kind that makes your heart race and your stomach flip. No, this was something else, something sharp and cold that smelled of antiseptic. Something that I’m glad I couldn’t see as I focused instead on the pulsing red light of the smoke detector on the ceiling.
The follow-on images of my breast now show a permanent intruder.
A teeny tiny spring, like the kind you’d find inside the tip of a ballpoint pen, but smaller.
Hardly superhero-level cyberpunk at all, it looked more like a miniscule, crystallized mistake – that moment when you open the pen and the spring shoots out, and next thing you know you’re on your hands and knees, swearing, looking for it on the dust of your kitchen floor. Except this time it landed inside my left breast, tucked somewhere deep under the nipple. Quite a feat really.
Do people even still use ballpoint pens? Do people even still write things down, or am I truly the dinosaur I think I’ve become?
Do you remember those first weeks at the beginning of a school year when the quality and range of your stationery supplies was a marker of your social status? The all-important pencil case was a critical external proclamation of self – broadcasting the bands you liked, the crushes you had, a goofy drawing or two from an artistic friend, perhaps a song lyric or pithy credo, or maybe an insult directed at a hated teacher. It laid it all bare. An open invitation for others to lean in, or out, depending on what they saw. Generating conversation openers for tongue-tied teenage boys. A compact billboard for a singular universe.
Mine was powder blue and a long rectangular shape. It held a good cache of implements: pens, pencils, a sharpener, a couple highlighters, probably a tub of Blistex (I was addicted to the butterscotch smell of that stuff), of course the pointy thing from geometry class that you only used for 3 weeks of the year, and maybe a few bits of loose change to buy chips from the vending machine across at the Sports Centre.
I myself prefer the mechanical pencil – it offers a neat crisp line, the earthiness of the carbon and the ability to immediately erase mistakes, plus the endless fussing of trying to get the lead out (yeah, I heard it) the perfect amount so that it doesn’t snap off mid-sentence.
Not sure why I’m channelling my teenage years?
Perhaps my mind is trying to pull up some memories of simpler, happier times to balance the weirdness of this morning.
Maybe it was the scientific setting of the procedure and seeing the tiny worm-like bits of my tissue floating in the sample canister. I’ve been transported back to Biology 11 and can see myself dissecting the frog under the cold disapproving eye of Vern Nichols. He was even more disapproving breaking up the frequent make-out sessions beside my locker that I was part of.
That is not appropriate.
Yeah, he probably wasn’t wrong there.
Maybe my brain just enjoys pushing words around and dusting off old memories instead of considering possibilities.
See the thing is, I’m marked now. With Steve’s simple, omnipotent decision, I am forever marked and will carry around this tiny coil inside my left breast. I didn’t ask for it, in fact, seemingly had no choice in the matter whatsoever. But there it is. A foreign object. A titanium distillation of the real foreign object that has now been planted inside me – fear. Something I’ve (thankfully) not carried around much in my life. But I guess now there is a new companion on my journey. I guess now I must endlessly roll the dice and hope to keep turning up a natural Yahtzee.
Anyone fancy kissing the dice for luck?