The following made me sick.
Daily Dose: Vaginal Swabs and Grand Openings
January 8th, 2014, The Silhouette
It was the vaginal swabs that caught my eye first.
In wire thin black marker, the words were embossed on a plain white box. The corners of the white cardboard were ruffled, a deep crevice bled into the edges. Sitting there on the green plastic chair, I wondered how many times the doctor put his fingers into that worn, tired, little box.
His hands were old and dilapidated, a broken leather of human flesh that was neatly distorted. In each wrinkle a story could unravel, and I’d be brought out from this hospital room and into Poland where he was studying medicine twenty years ago or Spain where he met his wife or those precious, private moments when he first cradled his daughter. A life would sprawl from these hands, hands that were now shaking along a medical clipboard like a seismograph.
But as I waited for him to find the words and the appropriate papers, no story was told. Instead all I could see in the poor lighting was his dawdling hands swaying left then right and the words “vaginal swabs” scribbled in front of me.
“You’re healthy.” He sounded tired.
“Completely.” A strong Polish accent licked his words.
“Then what about…”
“Growing up has its mysteries.”
“Yes. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though.”
“Nothing a daily dose of exercise cannot solve.”
He clapped, drawing his hands together. Their jitter had since calmed down to a mere tremor and now they rested on his lap. For a second, I think he was trying to flex.
“Do you work out, Kacper?”
“Well, that isn’t very good now is it? In my day…”
He droned on and on about how he used to work out at the beach because girls were there and how he managed to pick up a few and how working out boosted the immune system but it also boosted something else if you thought long and hard about it.
I smiled and said I’d work out. That, dear reader, is why I’m here. For this, under a doctor’s orders, is my daily dose of exercise. It is a finger flexing over a keyboard, a brain firing off random thoughts, and a fight against my exhaustion and sleep.
Every day, I’ll post here discussing some opinion, personal essay, journal entry or comedic piece, and every day this will become a place where I’ll try to convince myself that I’m right about being wrong about being right. It’ll make little to any sense, if any sense is worth making that is.
In these entries, you’ll also find the happiest story known to human kind and you’ll find the most saddening one too. I’ll write about every sinner and saint, every mother and father, and every continent and littlest city where everyone knows each other’s name and the pancakes are cooked to a light brown and there’s always work if you need it. And there’ll be posts about croquet too.
The entries will be short. They’ll be long. They’ll be romantic and they’ll be antiseptic. There will be laughs, disbelief, moments of anger, and there will be cussing about how stupid the writer is and how his glasses aren’t straight on his head and why hasn’t he shaven and is he really wearing sweatpants again? There’ll be a lot and there will be a little. Some days, a sentence will be just right. Other days, you’ll have this and it’ll be exhausting and you’ll scroll down to the end to see if anything good will come up.
Sometimes there will be something good, sometimes there won’t be, and sometimes all you’ll find are a story about vaginal swabs. Other times there’ll be nothing but me there smiling and prodding you on. “Read,” I’ll say, “it’s the best medicine. It’ll keep those chest pains, and the gnawing emptiness that fuel them, away.”
I’ll add, “Heck. This is your daily dose as much as it is mine.”
And maybe you’ll be having a bad day or maybe you’ll be bored because god knows in a time when we can see anything on the internet, looking at nothing is sometimes enough, and you’ll feel better because you’ll know that each day I’ll be there with you at the corner of these pages, laughing if you laugh and crying if you cry.
So let’s write and read and find out what a vaginal swab looks like before this prescription – the Silhouette’s daily dose – runs out. See you tomorrow.