Under the knife again. Things don’t go as planned. Again. Everything is changing and evolving again.

I have support and I’m alone in tandem. Again.

I am off balance. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Always. But differently.

My clothes are twisted and tangled. My hair is smooth and flat, in contradiction.

I’ve never been here before. I’ve never had so many things happen all at once. Everything draws my attention. Everything and everyone needs me. This isn’t my experience. Oftentimes, I simply need to get out of the way and allow things to unfold without my guidance. This is where someone else needs me to just “be”.

Carter. He gets a grande nonfat latte. On rare occasions he will get a tall. He sits across from me and asks me how I’m feeling. He asks which meds I’m taking and if I have enough hand sanitizer. Then he will give a small anecdote about his wife. He smiles and looks sad, glancing at my face. Then he clears his throat and gathers himself to leave.

His wife died of cancer.

And I’m staring at my hands again. Wondering how I can help him. He needs to check on me, to soothe his mind. Make peace with his wife.

I don’t tell him everything is going wrong, that everything is happening all at the same time, and I’m off balance and alone with twisted clothes and fear deep in my chest. I simply be. I tell him about flirting with the nurse binding me. I reassure him that I’m going to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. I look him in the eye and ask him about his wife’s favorite soup during her chemo, even though listening to him about his dead wife makes me hurt.

I’m here, unbalanced and twisted. And all of the other things. Overwhelmed. Afraid. Angry. But I’m listening.

As a sub, I never listened. I only pretending to listen.

I’m quiet, I’m listening. I’m off balance, still. But I am listening.

I don’t think it would be reaching too far to say that had I never gotten cancer, I probably never would have listened. Only waited for my turn to talk.


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