Something that came out of a prompt from the “Our Word” workshop.
Week Four, Day Two; A breast memoir:
She was probably prettier than she thought she was.
She always felt inadequate; never enough, never like the other girls. She used to hide in the locker room until the others were nearly done dressing. Then she’d bolt for the door, trying not to hear the jeering.
It’s easy to forget, now that she’s gone, that she was loved. That she was probably even lovely. He loved her. Others did before him. He bid her goodbye with me. We made a ceremony of it…
My two breasts were cut on the same day. The areas to be taken were located with needles, placed into the hard, cold presses (needle inside, crushed within) and photographed. Even the dye injected into them stung. Chunks, the size of an egg on one side, and a golf ball on the other, were taken.
It hurt as much as anyone might think it would.
My entire torso was a mass of bruised, swollen flesh, allergic, we learned later, to the covering of adhesive bandage meant to keep it clean. So that the skin itself was raw… And my poor new man, offered the chance to leave, because he’d only lived with my children and I for a month, stayed.
That was the first surgery.
The next followed in three weeks, when the healing had really just begun. Cut again. Anticipating the scalpel’s kiss kept me awake at night. Dread and shrinking had to be suppressed because it wasn’t over yet.
A third of the breast was taken. Any pretense of saving the breast was abandoned by how disfigured it was now. Ugly, caved in on itself, nipple pointing east.
The doctors said something about margins. The damn margins. They said I could keep the other one (forever after referred to as “Lefty”), but this one had to go.
He kissed her goodbye, with all the tenderness he would have afforded her before her disfigurement. He washed her gently, shaved the hair around the nipple, and left her as clean and as soft as she could be made to be. We tried not to see how carved she still was, given how recently her stitches had been removed. She was still so green with bruising.
He said goodbye. And I washed her with my tears.