On Being Gently Held: I

Our bodies are filled with so much intimacy. 

I was in the doctor’s office, looking at x-rays of my hips that his research assistant had pulled up on the ancient medical computer from the dawn of computers. I sat on the cushioned swivel stool in the empty exam room waiting for the doctor, which feels exactly how I imagine dying and waiting for judgment feels like. In the emptiness of the exam room, I stared at the phosphorescent pictures on the screen. I could make out the shadowy outlines of my flesh—the outlines of muscle, fat, and ghostly outline of skin—hovering above the glowing spine. I looked at the skeleton on the x-ray screen, seeing a gap where there ought to be a womb. I looked at the empty cavern that’s actually filled with organs but seems vast and barren on the screen. I examined the bony suture where the hip bones almost meet but don’t. One day, I hope, that suture will expand to ten centimeters in diameter and let out a human head.

It’s very odd to be alive. And even odder to have that fact thrown back in your face. Look at the mechanisms of what it means to walk, to breathe, to live.

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