Friday, August 13, 2010

The Bride of Frankenstein

Eight days post-surgery late at night I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, alone, and slowly peeled the second skin bandage from my neck (because it itched like a mary and the neuro said I could) and there it was: my badge of courage, my war wound, my new Bride of Frankenstein neck. I didn't scream but the sight of the slash did freak me out a little bit. I hadn't expected it to be so dramatic. The black thread poking out on either side didn't ease the scare factor.I cried. It was definitely invasive. I've never had anybody cut me on purpose before - horror film residual checks and recent ex-boyfriend aside - it looked as bad as my broken heart still feels on the inside.

"You should tell kids you were gutted in the alley," my mom said later.

"You're not very good with kids, are you?" I stated, and we both laughed. Scary can be funny as in necks, but not as in hearts, definitely not this time around no matter how many people think he wasn't worth the salt in one of my tears. Still the heart is a funny slippery evasive muscle and when someone is careless with yours - well everybody knows it feels a little like a little death by stabbing.

In "The Bride of Frankenstein," when the Monster awakened his Bride she hissed and he cried, "she hates me, too." Then he let poor Henry and Elizabeth flee. Henry, the good guy and Elizabeth, his pretty good wife, ran away and lived happily ever after. The Monster pulled the big electric switch - killing himself, the evil doctor, and his Bride. Who was probably still hissing.

When I opened my eyes after the surgery I cried out, "I woke up!" I was so grateful and happy and I don't think I hissed at anybody because the drugs were really good. And a great little dog named Porter came to visit and fart on my bed. And mom and dad were there with lots and lots of great friends who brought flowers and cards, juice, cappuccino, and phone calls. But there was no Henry, no Monster man, waiting to love me on the other side - only lingering bad memories. And I could feel still feel them.

At post-op yesterday, I was assured by my neurosurgeon that the wide reddish purple slash with a big swollen goiter-like thing underneath would, over the next six months, evaporate into nothing but a small white line hidden in one of the growing lines of my aging neck. I am not sad over a scar. Or my neck. I just trusted the wrong guy. I am old enough to take my hits as they come.

Six months from now my heart too will reveal only faint traces of this year of small victories and hard lessons well-learned.

I am no Bride of Frankenstein. Just a middle-aged girl. Happy to be alive.


  1. I am also really happy to be alive. And that you're alive with me. Love you.