I had a bicycle with ribbed pink plastic handlebars growing up.
I can’t remember much more about that bike, but somehow I can still feel those tiny ridges bending and pressing into my palms. I could probably identify that bike out of hundreds simply from the handlebars alone, down to the most minute of details. Opening this memory causes other memories from Phoenix to innately spill out as well – the plastic taste of the vibrant beads that always jingled on my wrists, the throaty call of the dove that had pulled the sun up each morning, the smell of the gritty orange scrub my dad had used to scrub motor oil from his fingers.
This is what surgery feels like to me.
Silky latex stretching over my knuckles, blue tissue-paper crunching around my waist, the steady rise and fall of a sleeping sternum, sharp clinking of steel surgical instruments, a hypnotizing metronome of a throbbing pulse.
It is a sacred world hidden from society.
A silent language of communication through eyes locking over masks in an intimate huddle of illness.
I have found my purpose.