chapter 38: home alone

relationships, like words, are defined.  their definitions may change abruptly, but their meanings are powerful…

a crowd stands in an airport, waiting for passengers to arrive.  as the de-planed multitude meets with its receiving counterpart, bodies weave into and around one another, and reactions run the gamut.  a man stands, pokerfaced, against a stream of passersby.  to a casual observer, the disembarking horde is an in-motion mass of undistinguished individuals.  but as the people move past, in the midst of the nameless throng, the man’s face suddenly brightens.  his eyes widen, his brows raise.  his chest juts forward, his hands turn upward, and an open smile fills the just-moments-ago void.  he embraces his loved one, who looks no different than those who came before or will come after.  he might’ve known those people, had life not led him to others.  but this one person–this one defined relationship–is what concerns him.  what moves him.  what is worth waiting for.

the same applies to an array of goods and bads.  one person elicits joy.  another evokes misery.  or regret.  or anger.  or hate.  these are the definitions of our lives–the result of our experiences and perspectives towards those around us.  those we have chosen to surround ourselves with, and those we have fought to get away from.  they are meaningful.  they are precise.  written in stone until changed by a moving force.  these are the definitions.  and we are all dictionaries.

my trip home to Alabama was troubling.  relationships had changed, by no choice of my own.  but i had to accept the way things were, and adapt to my new world.

and in the process, my head didn’t want to be upstaged…

early in the trip, my brain lesion made itself known.  i could FEEL it.  NOT GOOD.  a day later, it happened again.  and the next day.  and the next.  for four days straight, i had episodes of feeling this strange alien mass which had taken up residency behind my pituitary gland.  each sensation was a combination of pain and presence, lasting between 10 and 30 minutes; and the series of scares was extremely disconcerting.

the demands of the abnormal growth in the middle of Me made the trip home a bit more melancholy, as it was a strong reminder of the frailty of life and the fact that we all have our last stand.  our last time.  our last moment.  with everything.  and everyone.  and there’s no way to know–when, where, and if–it’s taking place.  was this mine?  hopefully not; but home was not the familiar base it had once been.  like an alien, i was now not only experiencing my tumor, but relating to it.  like the foreign growth next to my optic nerve, i was a stranger in a strange land, and my position was a detected irritation against a sensitive delivery system to the core of who i was, what i felt and saw, one that was tactile and profound.

i couldn’t change it.  i couldn’t fix it.  i could only remove the source of difficulty.  i could only choose to not be where i had once been.  and vice versa.  our lives are like our bodies.  there is the heart of our world, there is the place where we put our thoughts, there are the ways we reach out.  and from time to time, there are sources of pain and impediment, which must be addressed, and sometimes expunged.  and when that is necessitated, so is the pain, and the healing, in order to become once again whole.  and once again live.  well.

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