Drip. Drip.

“We’re going to have to remove your left ovary.” The doctor had both hands around his clip board. “Sydney?”

There was no change in Sydney’s expression. She sat there on the exam table in her crumpled paper robe just staring past the doctor at the sink behind him. The erect metal faucet jutting out over the sterile metal sink. Drip. Drip.

“Huh? Yea, my left ovary. Needs to be cut off. Got it.”

“It seems the cysts have rapidly multiplied and there are just too many to save it.”

“Is it still possible to have kids?” Her focus went back to the dripping faucet behind him. Drip. Drip.

“Well, yes. You will still have the right one, so as long as it functions correctly, you will still ovulate.”

“But while you’re in there, couldn’t you just remove them both?”

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My Big Polka Dot Dress

Polka Dot Dress

When we finish singing ‘Tomorrow,’ Mrs. Linden motions me to step down from the riser. The microphone waits in the spotlight on the foul line of the basketball court. Someone coughs in the audience. The piano boy adjusts in his seat. I try not to focus on how big my dress looks on me.

It’s a black and white polka dot blouse sewn onto a two tier wave of velvet skirt. The long satin sleeves with the ruched padded shoulders ascend like an arm float. I stand there, each hand running down the opposite sleeve to deflate the bulging fabric. Still, it keeps rising. I feel red in the face and I almost regret wearing this horrid thing, but it’s a gift from Grandmother and she always buys clothes that are too big. Buy them big so they last, she would say.

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Tree vs. Volcano

On good days, my father would walk through the living room, and upon seeing me on the couch would out-stretch his arms like a branch from a tree. I would run to him, jump up and dangle from his arms with my knees tucked under me, and he would swing me or spin me into another place and time. For that brief moment he would be mine.

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Behind Her Glasses

As much as she loved me, it was only the child I was that she loved. The adult that I had become had become a stranger and someone she did not recognize. Every visit since my move to California, felt more distant than the last and it was all in the way she would look at me. Not with love and pride, like she used to, but with hurt and reticence. She kept her feelings deep inside, hidden behind her eye glasses. But she would gander once in a while as quick as a flash like a ricochet off the gold of her rims. A moment revealed, too fast to hold onto, too quick to reflect on. So momentary and easily distracted by something else, a noise, a smell, a touch, or a laughter.

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Eyebrow Pencil

I found it in her drawer. I entered her vacant bedroom, opened the top wooden drawer, where her makeup used to be, and a small brown pencil rolled out from the back. The sound reminded me of a bowling alley as the ball comes rolling down the rail beneath the floor. The ball would appear out from the dark and strike the other balls. So did the pencil against the front wooden panel. I picked it up, pulled open the clear plastic cap and then I remembered. Even in her old age she liked to wear makeup. On this one special occasion when I had come to visit her, she had asked me to draw in her eyebrows. I remember being a bit nervous, hesitating to apply the dark creamy pencil to her thin translucent skin. I remember the slightest pressure appeared far too dark and harsh. She looked at herself in the mirror, and without changing her expression said, “Det dah.” (“That’s fine.”) I’m sure it wasn’t how she would normally draw it herself, and was perhaps a bit surprised about it. She did not say. Instead she grabbed her keys and bible and lead me out the front door.

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The Man In Suspenders

She steps into the dark mouth of the church, the only light coming from behind the cross through the thick mosaic glass, stained with grime and old age. The light streams of mote and fine dirt, reminding her of the deep lonely sea. She takes a seat on the farthest bench at the back watching the back of heads nodding to the stream of words, like bobble headed dolls, some with bonnets over their hair and some bald, the cold sweat glimmering in the dim light. The priest was only a dark silhouette in a long black robe, the white of his clerical collar glowing like a light house.

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