I just had my appendix out and I'm re-adjusting to life in my little room. I have two weeks left to live here (technically, I'm squatting), some work to do, a book or two to finish and things to sell followed by packing.

Every major illness I've had - and this is by far the most major - has lent itself to some introspection and reflection; maybe it's that my body often breaks down physically where a nervous episode is appropriate. It's psychosomatic, maybe, or just symptomatic of my inability to deal with depression, abandonment, disappointment, burgeoning adulthood.

Actually, the best thing about my Tuesday - the night I got sick- is I seemed to have burned those issues up and brushed them into the ashcan, like that. And during my convalescence I looked at the dust and ashes more carefully, the patterns and stains they left on my hands over the course of a summer, and I read them. I was on demerol, granted, but this is what I got.

I've a talking boy and a kissing boy - I spoke to both of them just before I got nauseous. The kissing boy took me to the hospital, and I couldn't help but wonder that he is always (and probably always will be) more attentive to my body, and the other may ever be more attentive to my soul. Both seem to have equal respect for my mind, and the quest is now to find someone who can see me - and love me - for all three.

I think I can't stop thinking about their exes, a couple of women in whose shadows I'm doomed to walk (and sadly, I cast worse shadows on every man I'll meet, or kiss, or fall for) - these are men who, at 22, were using words that terrify me (like forever) - and to me these men embody a stubborn fluidity. They seem to insist on moving constantly, they seem to insist on evolution - and I don't think these women wanted to follow them anywhere.

I'm actually grateful to myself - the old nauseous self, the one with the appendix - that I thought to seek help before I dried up or exploded; in a figurative and exaggerated sense, those were both very real possibilities. I have a clear memory of myself as a freshman in high school, dropping papers on the ground. The boy regarded as one of the hottest in my entire high school leaned over to help me pick it up, and I beat him to the task. I realized later I could have taken a breath and grinned, or flirted, or played it demurely and taken the paper, brushing fingers; and it wasn't because I'm such a goddamn ballbusting feminist babe that I didn't take that route. Utility and loneliness were doing their work: I'm not at all used to getting help, and thus I don't know how to ask for it. But when you're prostrate in the courtyard outside your office puking, you have no pride, and suddenly you're not afraid to call the boy you're crazy about and beg him for a lift; in fact, I sponged off my old roommate's family for days, and only toward the end of my stay did I even start feeling uncomfortable.

Not to say that etiquette should apply the same way when we're sick - but I wish I felt that comfortable in the world more often - comfortable enough to ask for things, even though we're really all strangers here, in a college town, where all my best friends are people I've known a little less than a year.

I was fatally misdiagnosed (and remained so for several hours) as having some sort of stomach virus - and that was because I've a high threshhold for pain. I'm 19, and this is news, and it's entertaining news; I'm kicking around in my head the notions of strength and pain, and what my body might be capable of doing.

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