Posted by TerryS (126.96.36.199) on July 06, 2000 at 23:16:47:
> > Just home from a four-day stay in the hospital, I insist
> > that washing my hair is an immediate necessity. It really
> > isn't. A warm and steamy bathroom seems to be the perfect place
> > for me to hide from the fear twisting around my heart.
> > I have postponed the inevitable moment all the way through
> > undressing, and I have postponed it though sinking into the warm
> > soapy water. But I can postpone it no longer. So I allow my
> > gaze to slowly and cautiously drift downward. To the empty
> > space where my left breast used to be.
> > It is bruised...green and yellow and filled with black
> > stitches covered with dried blood. It is such an indignity, so
> > brutally ugly.
> > Quickly I concoct exotic mental plans to keep my husband,
> > Jim, from ever again seeing me naked. Mutual passion has been
> > such a strength in our marriage. But now, all of that seems
> > over. How could I entice him with a lopsided and mutilated
> > figure? I am only forty-three years old, and I am so deeply
> > ashamed of my body for this betrayal. I lie back in the bath,
> > waves of sadness washing over me.
> > The bathroom door swings open and Jim walks straight
> > through my cloud of self-pity. Not saying a word, he leans over
> > to slowly place his lips onto each of my eyelids. He knows this
> > is my most favorite of our private "I love you" traditions.
> > Still silent and without hesitation, he bends further down. I
> > brace myself for the barely hidden revulsion.
> > Jim looks directly at my wound and gently kisses the
> > prickly stitches. Once. Then twice. Three times. He stands
> > up and smiles lovingly at me. Then he blows me a special
> > airmail kiss, my second most favorite tradition, and softly
> > closes the door behind him.
> > My warm, grateful tears roll down my cheeks and drop gently
> > into the bathwater. The bruise on my chest is still there. But
> > the one on my heart is gone.
> > By Margie Parker
> > from Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul
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