07 May 2009

Two More Months: What Next?

Two more months. Two more months. Two more months.

All right. So you're tired of hearing it. I'll say it another way: sixty-one days.

Naah, I like two months better. Somehow it seems shorter, more manageable. What is it? Two payments on a rent, mortgage, credit card or any number of other things you can think of. Of half of a college semester.

And now two months stand between me and my surgery. Now I really know it's close. I'm thinking of all of those things I want to do before the surgery. As if something is going to end that day.

Of course, some things will end: The current state of my body, for one thing. My legal status, for another. And, I hope, the feeling of being neither here nor there--or plain-and-simple alienation--that has, for too much of my life, bound me like a strait-jacket of gray rain. The "gray drizzle" of William Styron's depression would have looked good to me on some days.

Over the past few days, I've wondered how it will be when I return to work in the fall. Some of my colleagues know that I'm going to have my surgery. Actually, I'd bet that quite a few know, along with most of my students. You know how it works: If you tell two people, one will tell a friend and the other will tell your enemy--or, at least, someone who doesn't like you. And at least one of those people will keep the cycle going.

I wonder if they expect some sort of complete transformation. After seeing me, are they expecting someone prettier or more elegant--or at least more "feminine" or "girly"--when I return? How about someone nicer or smarter? Or ditzier? Will I suddenly come up with ideas no one else could have even dreamed?

Let's see...They'll want me to come in with Jennifer Lopez's body? Or Hillary Clinton's mind? Or Gloria Steinem's or Mother Teresa's soul?

Tomorrow will be another day--on the road to my surgery. Tonight will be another night's sleep; another chance for Charlie and Max to curl up with me. Will they see me differently afterward? Will I seem different to them?

I'll find out in two months.

Meantime, I'm trying to make the best of this weather. It's rained for almost a week now. In the wee hours of this morning, we had a downpour that made forward vision all but impossible. It wasn't even gray: It was almost too intense for gray but too raw and, at the same time, too opaque for any color at all.

I should think the colors will be the same, perhaps more intense. That's how I've experienced them, and so many other things, since I began this journey. Sometimes I feel as if the hormones pulled away a layer of skin and left my nerve endings intact. I wonder whether the surgery will do more of the same.

Just two more months...

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