In Between Hope

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“So what does it feel like?” Nick asks me this from behind his computer. He’s wincing, I suppose in solidarity, but it feels more like pity.

“It’s like when you sprain your ankle, or jam your finger,” I say, sighing, knowing that there is really no good way to explain it to him.

“Like it’s stuck?”

“No, swollen, thick, wrapped in gauze, but a kid of gauze that is heavy and hurts.”

He smiles, and I know he wants to understand, but I also know it is impossible. I try so hard not talk about it much, the pain. It’s boring, and annoying. It is the definition of martyr. Maybe.

“It just makes everything difficult.”

“Like what, how?”

“Like taking a walk, or a shower. Like helping our daughter out of the car. Like waking up the morning. Like sex. Like turning my head to the left.”



But sometimes I forget about it. Or, better, I don’t forget, but I bury it. I was thinking about what that takes, the burying. And what I decided is that the pain happens in between hope and disappointment. I always have a sliver of hope that it will all go away. That I will wake up free of that gauze ache. The piercing wrap. And sometimes I let that hope get real. And when it’s real, then I let down my guard a little. I go a little further than I could or should. And I collapse. My back goes out. My head spins, my legs swell. And there’s the disappointment. Because how could I be forty and fifty and eighty if at thirty-six I can’t make hope win?


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