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November 25, 2010 / elodie kaye

Hazardous Conditions

The conditions were supposedly dire: 34ºF with an 18 mph wind and freezing drizzle, a weather advisory for drivers against icy patches.  It may have been bad for cars, but a beautiful night for feet.  The cars went directly and obediently home, leaving the streets quieter than usual.  When I went out tonight, it was calm and gently misting, casting an amber aura around all the street lamps.  The slick roads reflected glossy pools of light.  Not quite half of the houses in my neighbourhood have their Christmas lights on, making it cozy and cheerful to run among them.

After fighting off the flu last week, I had a humming, then ringing, and finally a violent headache the last two days — the kind that makes a power drill to the skull seem a blessed relief.  They are the phantoms of dead tumours.  I have potent medications to quiet them while I wait for them to pass through.  I spend those days a little distance outside my body.  The world is farther away.  Book pages have soft, hazy edges, time seems slower, quieter.  Even cold streetcar seats feel plush.

When the hauntings stop, the world is reborn for me.  Paper slices like a razor.  A sandwich explodes with the texture of crusty bread, creamy, bitter brie, the wet spray of crisp lettuce.  Streetcar wheels that only rumbled yesterday, crackle metal on metal.  Silence is profound.

I waver between anger that I’ll carry the detritus of disease as long as I breathe, and deep gratitude that I live more fully for bearing it.


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