My mother is a witch. Of the good kind variety: she has an unfailing lie radar. It’s impossible to lie to her, even with a continent and an ocean between us. She will spot minor variations in my voice which will lead to pointed questions, trying to get to the heart of the matter.
Category: Life & Love
Let’s talk about love. Let’s indulge our thoughts on one of the sentiments that fills our lives and gives meaning to our days, on the myriad opportunities we have to fall in love as we go through the motions of living. Not romantic love, necessarily. If we are lucky, we experience the heart-fluttering kind only a handful of times over the course of many decades.
Reading now the posts I wrote about dealing with breast cancer two (short) years ago, a few things jump out: the willingness to keep my fears at bay through rationalization; the unashamed request for support and a desire to process what was happening through writing. Most of all, though, what transpires is a request not to be seen as a victim, as sick or damaged. I was holding on tightly to the sense of who I believed myself to be.
Last week, I nearly choked to death. Not metaphorically – I literally nearly choked to death. But this post is not about my actual experience, as unfortunate as it was; rather, as the friend sitting next to me quickly understood what was going on, told me to get up from my seat and promptly applied the Heimlich maneuver, it’s about what happened afterwards. Or what didn’t happen.
She slides in the chair next to me, at the round table where I am munching on chicken and salad. I notice the Valentino shoes, the beautiful peach purse that matches her blouse and hijab, the pretty smile and flawless make-up. Glancing at the badges stuck on our chest, we perform polite introductions. There is a silence I feel compelled to fill.
I know what a wildfire looks like. I know how it smells, what color it lends to the sky. I know the burning sensation in the lungs when the air is so saturated with particles to render breathing impossible. I know what it tastes like. I am familiar with the agonizing decision, edging bets, on when to evacuate.
Hot flashes are the least of menopause. You will want to drive a knife through your heart; you will want to leave your lover, no matter how much you have loved them. You will feel as though your life is over, because it is. You will realize for the first time that your whole life people have looked at you because you are a woman and people look at women – but now, suddenly, you are invisible. But then something magical happens: