Are you okay?
The technician’s voice is an muted echo, drowned and blurred, like the photo of the sea lion on the ceiling as seen through saltwater vision. My “yes” is a fissure, the cracked sound unrecognizable as a voice my own, and I am breathing in gasping silent screams inside my mind while she prods and pokes, pushing me under, down down down into the memories again and again.
That sound you hear is your blood, inside your ovary.
I struggle against the rising tide of remembrance, but I am not so strong a swimmer as I pretend to be, and I am sucked under, below the waves of pain.
And a life for whom my body was an inhospitable environment.
We’re almost done.
Her voice again, a punctured life preserver, pitched perfectly. “She must be an alto,” is the inane idea that floats through my mind. Lovely voice. Music to drown by.
My lungs are suffused beyond the saturation point, the proof of which leaks down my cheek.
I seek the countenance of the sea lion on the ceiling, desperately delving for… For what? An anchor. A foothold. For something, anything, that will help me focus, let me breathe. Pull me up. Help me swim.
But when I find the face I seek, the sad eyes staring down mirror my melancholy. Mirror… Mirrors are glass, and glass is liquid. Yet another way to drown.
So I drown in my sea lion’s reflection, a rueful reminder of the truth.
This is my body.