The Twilight Zone
It is that magical hour of the day when the sun goes down and the birds sing a little more sweetly. A silvery gold mist lightens the side of the armoire. I enjoy the evening blue of the sky through the window from my bed across the room. This has always been my favorite time of day.
I remember sitting on my back porch savoring this delightful hour with my husband and some friends about ten years ago. I recall the sensations of my body, mind and face, maybe because I took a snapshot of the moment and filed it away. In those days, I felt the surface of my self keenly. I recall the velvet blue sky brushing my face and arms, a warm light on my hair, my legs tangled up in a long cotton skirt. I recall the gathering of friends, the co-mingling of thoughts and feelings, the sense of being right here, right now, forever.
I never considered that the essential sense of my being might change. I thought that I would grow older with the same body—only the age would change. I thought my mind, body and face would continue to evolve along a timeline, the older added on like the rungs of a tree. Before October 30, 2007, when a surgeon cut away parts of my nose and my skull and drilled tunnels through my head, I was at home in my body. Everything fit together. I remember taking a yoga class when I was eighteen, moving easily into a half lotus, an older woman saying, “Her body is made the way it’s supposed to be made.” It was.
It no longer is. A surgeon playing God remade my face and nose, drilling enormous holes into the cheekbones, shortening my nose, narrowing the bridge, removing a portion of the turbinates. I no longer move through the world at one with my body. This recreation is a foreign thing, not my natural habitiat. It is a sick thing, oozing with infection, throbbing with pain, worrying my mind. I can’t relax into the joy of being. My jaws don’t fit. My teeth are misaligned. There’s an unnerving pressure in my teeth due to gums that no longer fit them. The right side of my face feels as if it’s been hit by a baseball bat. This skewing of my physical self jars the weaving of mind and body so that my edges are blurred and jittering.
I remember how it used to be. That’s all I have of the beautiful human being that God created. Sometimes, on nights like this, I take a Vicodin to ease the pain and twisting sensations. I free my mind from the prison of pain created by a doctor who was healing what wasn’t ill but now is. I can no longer experience myself fully. The choice is between pain and numbness plus less pain. I can’t feel the velvet blue of sky on my arms, but I can see and I can remember. It is not the same as living it. The light is dimmer here in the twilight zone.