A piece of Ryan Turner’s desk is embedded in my hand. The doctor said it might be there for years. My left arm is on fire with a dull aching pain like I’ve been sleeping on top of my wrist or doing one hundred reps with a 20lb barbell. Unlike a sore muscle my arm will get randomly warmer; the ache suddenly more noticeable. It comes in like a wave lapping at an oceans shore, gently saying hello before fading to the background. The doctor prescribed 500mg of Cephalexin 3 x daily for the infection. Its minor, far easier than a gimpy leg.
Three weeks ago I could not walk without a cane and was motoring around Walmart in a courtesy scooter. The same day that I skewered my hand with furniture I rolled my left ankle, badly, walking down the steps of Ryan Turner’s new house. Like most sprains it hurt but could be ignored. A day or two later I could not walk, sit, stand, anything, I was a useless lump of human flesh that spent a lot of time reading The Unincorporated Man, an excellent novel. An X-ray assured me there was no break, it was just a sprain. My hand was tender but the wound had yet to fester. The hand was surely aggravated by having to grip the cane so tightly. My foot is better now although I believe it will be a long time before I can run anywhere. I’ll be feeling it for another month at least.
I sometimes feel like a bullet speeding out of a gun. My life is the span of time from leaving the barrel to hitting the target. 32 years?150 years? How long will I live? I don’t know; it’s as brief a time as a bullet’s journey. Is my destination obvious from an external perspective? When I feel like the bullet all I sense is the rush of air and time around me. Moving irrevocably forward through the fourth dimension I feel life itself pulsate with the same rhythm that burns in my arm. Toss another log on the fire, burning ’til the fuels exhausted, blazing with light until it fades.
I was helping Ryan and his girlfriend Carolyn move from an apartment into their new house, inside an elevator cramped with boxes, plants, furniture & random stuff, unloading a large desk that we’d placed on its side (in order to get the doors closed). We shimmied the bottom of the desk into the lobby, tilting the desk back towards me. I gripped the leg with my hand and let the weight slide towards me. I hadn’t noticed the wood had separated, a bit further up the desk leg. The thick icicle of wood slid deeply into the palm of my hand before snapping off. I kept things steady with the other hand and eased the desk to the ground You’ve got to be manly about getting a sliver: shit happens, eh? Still, I’d never had a sliver that drew blood and a lot of it. I removed the Deadly Spike of Wooden Death as cleanly as possible. I was sure I’d left a piece behind but picking at it with a pin didn’t reveal anything. I covered it with a band-aid so I wouldn’t drip blood on any of the furniture.
I was overjoyed, a day after spraining my foot, to remember I had a tensor bandage from the last time. This isn’t the first time I’ve had a serious foot injury. I thought perhaps I should just buy a good cane, so I’ll have one around the next time I injure my foot It’s going to happen. You don’t think that way at sixteen. I’m twice that age and now apparently do. Age and experience have naturally changed me; I’m more serious, I joke less, I cry less, I love more easily, I know myself much much much better, but thankfully still not very well and sometimes I still feel like life itself is a towering inferno inside of me, burning so very bright like the ember tossed into the campfire air. I forget how to be one way in my pursuit of being something else. I can live one way or another but never ever can I go back in time.
There’s so much to do here. I’m speeding forward, breaking apart as I pass through time. I used to like thinking about what it all meant. These days I’ve found a comfortable place to be. From my current vantage the questions seem fundamentally unknowable in a way that is exciting beyond my understanding. I’m going to die, but until then I’m going to live. Apparently infected arms and swollen ankles are how I’m living which, all things considered, is really just fine. Sitting on the scooter in Walmart I felt such empowerment. I have no conception of what being handicapped would be like, but I know how much I loved that scooter. I had mobility after by body denied me that. I have never loved Walmart more than I did that day. What else will I get to experience in this life?
I am burning brightly. Hurtling forward with a speed I can’t comprehend. I look around and sometimes see others on nearby trajectories. They hit their target and suddenly that person isn’t alive any more and the rest of us bullets keep moving forward with no way to go back. I’ve been fired from a gun and I will continue moving until I stop. And what an amazing ride it all is.
I love the wind on my cheeks, the burning fire inside,
the roar of a life well lived.