I worked for an hour today, one whole hour.
I needed to sit down for a little bit after I took my shower to get ready. I needed to rest my shaking hands after holding my smoothie too long. I needed to lean my head back on the headrest after I drove to my usual parking spot under the pines at work.
When I tottered in and everyone began to talk to me, even to ask me how I was doing, I was overwhelmed. I almost cried. One boy jumped up from his lesson and hugged me. And the sweet boy who I pretended to tutor today was so compassionate that he kept leaning into me and hugging me.
A little too hard.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve lost track of time. I feel as though I’m going to feel this way for the rest of my life. I never did walk Teddy the other day when I told you I was going to walk Teddy. I never did stop at the grocery store. When I finally got home from work today, I slept almost five hours.
Before I went back to bed, I did get myself some of the homemade tortilla chips leftover from Mexican food last night. I sat on the couch next to Mike. He watched me eat. My hands shook as I lifted each chip to my mouth.
“You’ve gone from fifty-seven to eighty-nine,” he said.
I thought he was talking about velocity. I didn’t feel any faster. I stared at him, maybe with a vacuous look on my face.
“You got old enough this week that pretty soon, we’re going to have to move into assisted living.”
“Do I look old, really?”
“Yeah, you do.”
I wasn’t offended. I’d looked into the mirror. My hair was the same color, but my face belonged to a different generation. Just a couple of days after the surgery, I got some pink back in my cheeks, but I still had deep ruts carved into my skin and dark bags under my eyes.
Ooooh, I want to tell you something.
I’ve lost weight!
I don’t know how much, but I feel noticeably thinner. My appetite is returning, but slowly. Every woman I know talks about how she lost weight when she was sick with this stomach bug or that flu. I’m no different. Isn’t that sad? I can probably wear my skinny pants now if I want. That is the state of our fat-shaming culture, that we celebrate illness if it has a desired effect on our weight.
But that wasn’t what Mike was talking about. He was looking at my eyes. I can tell you that pain sucks your eyes deeper into their sockets. Pain dulls the sparkle in them, makes them lose focus.
With true beauty, it’s all about sparkle and glow. Fuck the weight.
I tried to glow for Mike. Instead, my head bobbled a little bit as I looked back at him and ate another chip.
“But I lost some weight,” I said.
“Woohoo,” he said.
And he twirled his index finger in the air in a mock celebration.
Thank you for listening, jules