Many years ago, when I was younger and more foolish, a moment's horseplay crushed my right hand in a door. In an instant my life's path was altered. For about six months, my fingers wouldn't open up. I had a permanent fist. Couldn't type on a computer, couldn't brush my teeth or tie my shoelaces, and have you ever noticed how jeans are really biased against southpaws?
I played piano in high school. Did you know that? I imagine that many people that know me might not know that, as I don't play anymore. Sometimes I fantasize about taking the time to relearn how to play, now that I can move my fingers again, but I don't think I ever will. I doubt I could endure it.
Because it hurts. All the time. Sometimes, it's just a dull ache in the background of my mind, like a neighbor's too-loud TV: annoying and ignorable, but relentless. My hand makes popping sounds as I move it, and I can feel the strange sensation of tendons sliding over bumps that shouldn't be there. I don't take anything for this pain. What would be the point? There's nothing I could take every day for the rest of my life (healthily, anyway), and the pain itself is never going to stop. Ever.
Even when I sleep, it's still there. I often dream that my right hand has turned into a stone fist, because that sometimes helps mask the pain. Sorry pain, I can't feel you, I'm made of stone. Odd dreams.
But it's worse at this time of the year, when the rains come. I can feel the approaching storms, like a character in a novel I read in middle-school. I can also feel them leaving, which no childhood story I read ever warned me about. These days, a storm is always approaching or leaving, so the pain intensifies and never lets up, never lets go even for a moment.
I've felt terrible pain before, other than this. When I was in high school, I slipped on the ice and tore the ligaments in my ankle. Worse than breaking a bone, they said. When I was in my mid-20s, I passed a kidney stone. Not a smooth one, a jagged one that tore up my insides on its way out. Worse than giving birth, they said. So much blood was expelled that even my colorblind eyes could see it. That was bad.
Some days, though, some days this is worse. Believe it.
Often the entire tendon sheath becomes inflamed, carrying the pain from the injury all the way up to my shoulder, and the hand itself becomes a clumsy tingling ball of ache, and the right half of my body vibrates to some resonant frequency of torment. At these times, moving my arm at all is excruciating. Every breath I take seems to pull out more pain, and if I bother to hold my breath and still my body, the beat beat beat of my heart fans at the embers.
My right eye sometimes goes blind from the agony, white hot like staring at the sun. I just want to give up, curl up in my bed and dream of a different life that doesn't hurt so much.
Even just remembering this now makes it hard to type, hard to concentrate.
If ever you see me sitting unfocused on a cloudy day, please, just let me rest for a moment. Just a moment, let me regain my strength.
Right now, as I type this, a storm is approaching. I can feel it. The rainy season is here.
Bian shi tou. Please God, make me a stone.