|The 1913 Armory Show, University of Virginia.|
Goldfish and Sculpture, Henri Matisse. 1911
There's a hole in my torso.
A hole, about the size of a long watermelon. It starts right where my heart would be and slopes down, arcing through each breast, and widens at the bottom, scooping out along the contours of my pelvis. It's shaped like an egg, and as perfectly ovoid as one, too. My ribs are like spiny white knobs in the hole, and I can't figure out how I manage to hold up my body with this much of my spine gone. No heart, no lungs, no stomach, no kidneys, no fibroids (plus!), no uterus (minus!); just a great hole in my torso like someone attached a hose to the center of me and turned on an enormous vaccum cleaner and sucked out my very center.
I don't know what to do with this hole. I could keep it hidden beneath pullovers and t-shirts, and so far, that's what I've been doing. But it hasn't gone away--what if it's going to be here for a while? Maybe I can begin wearing clothes that show off my midriff, jeans that would fit twelve-year-olds and tiny pink crop tops, and make the hole work to my advantage. What if I line it with Christmas lights, so that it looks less grotesque? I've been toying with the idea of putting a potted plant in there, something small but pretty, an African Violet, or maybe an orchid. That way when people look through me they won't just see what's on the other side, there'll be something beautiful at the core of me for them to enjoy. Or maybe I should buy a great fishtank at setlle it in the hole. Wouldn't that be something--for three or four sweet little orange fish to be swimming around in the center of my body. It would take this hole, this gaping maw that feels regularly like it might destroy me, and make it lovely. It may be that the center of me has been carved out, neatly but certainly; but now that the hole is here, is real, I can take care of it, I can enjoy it, I can ornament it.
Maybe if it's lovely enough, it won't bother me that someone cut a hole in the center of me and now I'm left with nothing. Maybe if it's lovely enough I can learn to live with it, and not feel so incomplete.