Friday March 23rd 2007, 12:09 am
Filed under: All Letters,Love Letters

To the memory of bug bites,

This morning I awoke frantic, as I dreamed I was late to my cousin’s surgery. However, in all actuality, my alarm still had twenty minutes before it shouted at me to wake up and get ready to start the day– on time. After a brief cup of coffee, I left the house at eight a.m., and met my cousin at Shriners’ Hospital in Beverly Hills. Today he is having four inches of his small intestine removed by slicing into his stomach and detaching the part of his guts that are rotted and inflamed. He’s been battling Chron’s disease for years, but hitherto a few months ago, his Chron’s had been under control, though heavily medicated. So today I am sharing my support for his condition by sitting, waiting and just being a presence at the hospital while he’s in surgery. As I lethargically wait on the 3rd floor admissions ward, my mind wanders into memories past and of course, towards the thought of you, my wife. After our first encounter in San Jose, almost ten months ago, my back began to feel somewhat strange. But I was in Love, and couldn’t be bothered by mere physical manifestations of the body. A few days went by and my back began to develop small clusters of red bumps, all targeting a single latitude of my dermatome. The bumps were small at first, then grew into larger hives. My first inclination was bug bits– they must be bug bits and therefore I did not go to the doctors. After a weeks worth of development of this nasty rash, I then humored the notion that these bumps were most likely not bug bits, but probably a rash from something like poison ivy. Therefore I bought a topical crème from the supermarket and I began to apply generous amounts of ointment on my infected side. Another week went by and still, there was no sign of remission from the scourge that burned and blistered. I remember talking about the rash to you over the phone, suggesting to you that I may have shingles. You persistently countered my hypothesis with a ridiculing laugh, stating that I definitely didn’t have shingles. Another week went by– only this time, I took my wounds to a doctor. It turned out that I did in fact have shingles and that if I had gone to the doctors earlier, I could have lessened the effect of the virus with anti-viral medication. But since I waited almost four weeks before I went to the doctors, the virus was at a point where it just had to run its course. My ultimate fear was that I was going to visit you a week after my doctor’s appointment, and that you never had chicken pox before in your life. Therefore, you were a potential target and prey for this virus which burned bright red on my tummy. How terrible it would have been if I gave you, my new love, a potentially deadly virus during our second encounter together? When I did return to San Jose the following week, I kept a tight wrap around my blisters; constantly making sure you would not get infected. The anxious guilt I endured that weekend was quasi-unbearable, yet I could not stop my hedonistic tendency to enjoy, or rather love, your company. As I sit here writing about this memory, a tear drops from my burning eye – the physical consequence for my memory of our love. Those were wonderful times we had, even though I was a walking epidemic. I miss you today. I think about you as often as I think about Art. Today, I feel like I took you for granted. This memory is a plague to my thoughts, and keeps me from concerning myself with the physical world around me. This hospital only exists as a sub-reality to me; Instead, my world is inside my head.

-The pain of reality

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