A Collection of Spectacles


I got a call a few days before Thanksgiving. When I hung up I was nervous, shaken. If this is true, I thought, then it probably won’t kill me, but I may never feel the full force of my femininity. Worst case, I’d lose the option to one day feel my body swell up to twice its size, to feel my breasts pull me down with weight, to feel nauseous and sick daily.

I went in for my appointment and met a doctor I hadn’t seen before. We shook hands as she made small talk and mentioned that she had gone to California for the holiday, that it was surprisingly cold and that she stuffed herself with food. I thought about how many times she must have told the same story while staring at a gaping vagina. She made some shifting motions or, I don’t know, did something that I couldn’t see because my legs had some weird hospital cloth draped over them. She said, “You’re going to feel a little bit of pressure.” A cold, wet, gloved hand pushed around inside.

Days of stress boiled down into one examination a half hour long. The doctor poked around with a sterile hand that was in no way sexual, but as the idea of perverting the situation entered my mind I tried my hardest to keep from getting aroused. Ultimately, whatever lesion they saw originally had vanished. “These things happen sometimes. Looks like there’s nothing there now.” She removed her glove and smiled. “Also, you should get your period soon. There was a little bit of blood in there, but you knew that.”

Had my body dealt such an indefinite sentence it would have been upsetting, surely, but oddly comforting. Now, I’m relinquished again to not knowing what the future might hold. I’m just a regular, normal, relatively healthy person and I’ll have to face the future’s uncertainty by myself.

Maybe my Mother found God in order to attach some order to the world. She can look at every tree, every being, every object, and place it in a huge schema that assures her things happen as they should, for better or worse. I’m here leading a contemptuous life because she will somehow claim that her knees are cramped for a reason, even if it goes against all logic.



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