Liver Spots On The Inside
March 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
Liver spots have always had a way of upsetting my stomach, since I was a little girl and I told this old guy that he had really big freckles on his hands, and oh, how everyone laughed and told me “Those are liver spots!” His hands, known to wander, smelled like old piss when he held them over my mouth, and I thought about the liver spots, how they might get inside me along with his fingers, and how that might turn me into an old, dying fucker like he was, only it would be my insides that were old and dying, and I’d never be able to tell anyone because then I’d have to become a part of their game.
People talk about the not telling that happens when little kids are molested by all those friends and family, and they tell their kids, “Kids, if anyone ever touches you down there, even if they tell you that you’ll get in trouble, even if they promise to buy you nice things, even if they tell you that you have to keep a secret, kids, that’s a secret you can’t keep.” But what they never once thought of is that if I didn’t tell it had nothing to do with any of that. The promises I made with these men were on my own terms, in order to just get it over with, not have to talk it over with them. And the same applies for the real reason I didn’t tell.
The woman putting the i.v. into my arm for what is supposed to be my final chemotherapy treatment today had liver spots. She gloved up, but I saw her hands as she filled out the paperwork, marking forms with yesses and nos on this whole process. Her fingers were really too fat for the gloves, and when she took them off I could see that her hands had gone a bit purple. I couldn’t stop staring at her hands, thinking about what she was about to do next. She had to leave to suit up. The shit they were putting into my body needed to be carefully handled.
By the time I was 10, I’d been molested and raped and told at least a dozen times in different ways not to say a word. I’d broken down once, and as a result I’d been put into foster care, molested some more, and fucked in much bigger ways. I could have gone my whole life not saying a word, and instead of continuing to move around, I’d have stayed in one molesty-rapey location. Instead, I got indignant, believed I could change what was happening to me, and I’d opened my stupid face hole and told a teacher.
I’ve never been too worried that this cancer was going to kill me. Sure, a few times I got stupid amounts of sick, but death has never concerned me. What I hate most about this cancer is all the talking. I’ve had to patiently talk to and listen to every damn person who has a story to share about a cancerous relative, and even I am so consumed with the pain of it that I talk about it with frequency. Fuck, I even have a bald head, so sometimes when people compliment my “new look” I feel compelled to say “It’s not my look. It’s cancer.”
The reason I kept my mouth shut when I was a kid had nothing to do with any fear of betraying anyone. It had nothing to do with fear of punishment. I just wanted to avoid getting wrapped up in the melodrama. When something bad happens to an adult, they get on their telephone and then it’s all these hours of opinions, well wishes, people saying that they do or don’t know how the adult feels. When something bad happens to a kid, the adult sucks it all up like it belongs to them, and they get the same people on the phone, and then it’s listening to them talk about what happened to you, only you’re right the fuck there and you’re expected to look pitiful.
I didn’t want to deal with hours of speculation or being slapped in the face every day with how shitty the whole thing was. I just wanted to get through it and forget about it. And I suppose I feel the same fucking thing now. Looking down at her liver spots, listening to packages opening, watching the whole sterile process, the opposite of the mess that was my childhood, and still I have no control. Still, I wonder if those liver spots got inside of me; if they caused this cancer.
For a moment I wonder if I should finally say something to this hospital about their shitty nursing staff, jabbing without a moment of empathy, barely seeing me. I wonder if I can file a complaint about their rank breath turning my already weak stomach, or the one who is always texting while she’s wearing her rubber gloves. But, even though this is my last day, then I run through the halls going “Whoooo-hooo!” I know the last thing I’d do is even mention my discomfort to anyone in this entire hospital. All I want to do is get through it, forget about it, not ever have to think of it again, and maybe one day write about it once I’m far enough away that it seems a whole lot smaller to everyone.