Things I try not to think about

1. I owe >$180k USD in medical bills to three separate US organizations, which I am assured by friends and family that will be paid entirely, eventually, by my travel insurance. My belief wavers from week to week as the time stretches onward without resolution. Nolite te bastardes carborundum, though. Fuck.

2. I’m ten or eleven and in the part of this church that isn’t quite the sanctuary yet but is in back of all the classrooms where us girls and counsellors regularly have our GEMS* meetings. I’m with a few of my fellow GEMS, and we have some free time; I forget if we were waiting for parents to show up or the night’s activities had ended early. We have found the lost and found and one of the other girls puts on a gigantic floppy hat and parades around as if on a runway.

“It’s the latest fashion,” I say teasingly, and she is quick to shoot back in a scornful voice,

“What would YOU know about fashion?”

The answer is nothing. I try to laugh with the others and move on. I want friends.

I haven’t moved on.

3. There are rods in the meat of my back, cutting through flesh and anchored in my pelvis. The muscles are severed and torn through in places to make way for unyielding titanium. The rods do not bend like bone; the screws have no softness of cartilage, around which the muscles can mold, conform, be cradled once again in the bowl of my pelvis beside soft internal organs and malleable veins. There is hardness here that the body was not made to endure.

4. Every social interaction I wish went differently, every awkward memory, is at some point revised. It began as wishful thinking. Now I am not sure what is truer – your recounting of my history or my own memory of disparate actions, albeit in the same place and time.

5. The dull thwoomp of a tire hit at 70 mph by the front bumper of a car. Or perhaps the sound is of the bumper itself, a hollow, sudden crump of impact, magnified by the sound of the airbags deploying.

6. One night, I am seized from behind on a dark street. I freeze, do nothing.

7. There are children in cages on this continent and I have not lifted a finger to help them. But I know.

8. I no longer fit any of my pants.

9. The world has ended in fire in Australia, just as it’s ended in fire in Fort Mac a few years ago, in water in Calgary a few years before that. Worlds are ending a lot, these days.

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