When I discovered I had cancer, I was told that I would learn a lot About Life and Death and Time, But I never thought that I would Discover what it means To be intimate With strangers, Or anyone, for that matter.
When my insides were cut open like a game of operation, I told myself: Be detached. When visitors came, We talked about the weather.
When I arrived home, I spent my time Trying to forget The experience Of impermanence And shared emotions That I couldn't even grapple with Myself.
When the person I loved Left me I flinched And then sunk back into an abyss of Emotionless functioning, Cutting myself further and further Off from my narrative Of pain.
When it was time to go back to school, I flinched And signed up for a workload Heavy enough To push out the fading reality Of my condition.
It wasn't until I was sitting on the steps Outside of a bar that was slowly beginning To empty out, As intoxicated shadows gained substance and lit cigarettes against the brick wall. I sunk down next to friend I had recently met- My big t shirt inched up above my abdomen And the lower jagged mark of my scar Peeked out-
I didn't choose to tell him my story Until he asked me about the obvious Stale incison mark that had a presence Of its own. Piece by piece, it peeled itself from off my stomach And liquified into a sequence of events And feelings That poured from me Like a stream of bubbling bath water Overflowing from the rim Of a porcelain tub.
That's when I realized that there is something shared and intimate about scars: Marred reminders of the flesh That speak to our upmost human Encounters with our own mortality. An indecipherable label of sorts: An unsigned invitation into the taboo.
In a moment of unintentional word ***** At 2am to a stranger, I regained my intimacy with myself And my journey. I learned that while Life and Death and Time Will always plague our existence, They distance us from the human experience that is To feel:
To feel everything in this God forsaken world. To feel angry at people for leaving when they should have stayed. To feel compassion at the same time. To feel intimacy with others. To feel intimacy with yourself. To feel love. To feel pain. To feel the cold creases in the wooden floor as you make your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. To feel alone. To feel surrounded. To feel the trembling echoes of the past and be able to grab its elusive coattails and shake away the dusty remnants of time and shout that you are present.