Jesse cleans up. Alarmingly well.
Another sharp stab of pain coursed through my chest.
“Are you alright?”
I smile through gritted teeth.
“Never better.”-and it’s the truth.
Pain, physical pain is a transitory state. One that passes into the next, pain filled, short lived state with surprisingly fluidity.
I am better then I was 5 seconds ago. Because I want to be. Because I have to be.
Hi, I have a hole in my chest!
My left breast shrills out at me.
Oh, don’t bend over like that, you really can’t afford to bleed on this dress.
“That” dress, the one that I’ve cunningly chosen to wear for the symphonic evening ahead is black, naturally.
I know, though, from past experience. Blood on black shows up stunningly well. Especially across the floral embroidery that just had to be white.
Wondering vaguely how I’d look shaded incarnadine, I shake my head, and tell my inner dialogue to shut the fuck up.
I trip through the snow in my high heeled shoes, every step a curse, every slide across thin cracking ice an eternity of…well. 5 more seconds.
“Are you sure that you’re…”
“I. Am. Fine.”
..I’m the little mermaid. Smiling bravely through the agony.
Enough martyrdom. I was never going to be a saint.
I turn my head and toss a couple of Oxycontin down my throat.
New, almost pain. The bitterness chokes me, but I welcome it. I know what it’s harsh trail down the back of my throat heralds.
Surcease of pain, at least, for a little while, and soon. Please. Pretty please.
We reach the concert house, and..fucking stairs. Are you kidding me?
No ramps for the crippled? Un-fucking-fai…
“You have the tickets, right?”
A worried face peers into mine, and I can feel myself begin the process by which I assure others.
I’m not fine.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m fine. Sure!”
I’m sure that I’m not fine.
These are lines, not lies that I tell, by wrote. I’ve even trained myself to say them when deep in the throes of shock.
I can do this all day.
Until I pass out. Then, perhaps less so.
“But the tickets?”
I choke back a vile epithet. It is not his fault that I have a hole in my chest. It is not his fault that I had to have it opened surgically, 2 days ago. It is not his fault that I am resistant to many of the conventional pharmacological fixes.
It is also not his fault that the tickets for the new year’s concert that he purchased, happened to coincide with my little surgery.
A warm rush, and I know that the oxy is starting to do it’s job.
I wave the tickets, then hand them to him. His problem now.
Not sure how much longer I’m gonna last on these heels though. The price of lookin’ pretty…
We make our way to our seats, and I excuse myself.
I’m feeling alarmingly sticky, underneath the corset wound tight across my chest, and I may need to do repairs.
The bathroom is filled with another stickiness. Blonde confections, hair stiff and perfect, standing at the bank of mirrors. Endlessly gazing into an eternal pool of self images, reflected back and forth between the mirrors. There are two of them, and they are talking, the words reflected back and forth as easily as their picture perfect images.
It’s a pity that there are only 2 mirrors by the sinks.
..if you can call what they’re having a conversation.
“So THEN, she said…like..”
Count off another 5.
“…but Tiff (I swear. Her name was Tiffany. What were the odds?)…Bryce said that he’d pin me if I went with him to the Hamptons”
…I have no words.
Oh. Wait. Yes I do.
At this point, they’re not even checking makeup.
I feel a slow drip between my breasts, and tremble, flutteringly above my stomach.
They both turn to look at me, twin expressions of annoyance.
“Can I get to one of the sinks. Please”
I’m cutting off words with my teeth, but..it’s not like they know me. They don’t know what an overabundance of politeness means.
A snort and a toss of blonde hair.
I repress a shrug, and start unstrapping the top of my gown.
Fine then. We’ll do things the hard way.
I pull a plastic backed pad from my purse, and tuck it between the dress and my skin, absorbent side in.
I’m standing in the middle of the bathroom. Still just these two. Music has started. Now, having missed the start of the symphony, I’m annoyed.
Tiff and her pink friend are still yammering away, but Tiff’s friend is starting to take in little glances, and the pink princess doesn’t like what she sees.
I begin to unstrap the surgical corset, streaked and dotted with rusty red blooms, and the sharp copper tinged scent clashes with my perfume.
After carefully checking the embroidery, I begin to pull the gauze away.
Tiff’s friend is moving towards her white gowned friend, her hand outstretched in appeasement, to gather her up. To spirit her away.
I move towards the newly vacated sink, and rest my hand briefly on my chest. Fucking thing hurts, after all, and it’ll hold the gauze in place for a bit.
I don’t even bother flicking my eyes in their direction.
“Oh my GAWD…”
There we go.
I am the stuff of nightmares.
I rinse the worst of the mess, douse myself with saline, rewrap and gift package myself back up.
Hearing the stutter and click of heels on tile, I know that they’re leaving.
Looking critically at myself in the mirror, I see a thousand tiny, wavering mes, stretching out into eternity.
Still. Pale. Hair okay. Makeup….passable. Dress undamaged.
The meds are finally kicking in, and they rush at me, dragging the floor onto the wall. Ooh. vertigo.
I give my head a sharp shake, and make my way back to the theatre. I find my seat, and carefully lower into it, just as people are standing to applaud.
I’m not standing. The hell with that.
“Nothing. Everything. I’m fine.”
“Sure I am.”
As the waves of pain wash away, replaced by the lapping ebb of Oxycontin rush, I hear violins.