I knew that something was wrong. I had been losing sensation in my left hand for days. Then the loss moved up my arm, past the elbow, towards the head. Well, I should rather say that normal sensation had been replaced by pain, though of an oddly numbing kind. An electric numbness. I ceased being able to grasp anything. I first really noticed it when I dropped the shampoo in the shower. For no reason other than my hand lacking the strength to adequately hold the bottle. It all came as a wet, naked surprise. It became very painful to try to tighten the dying flesh into a meaningful fist, or a useful one. Heat is the closest sensation that I can describe as the result of trying.
My arm hangs by my side as I write this, as dull and as useless as a marriage.
They will be amputating the dead flesh at the shoulder tomorrow. Whatever it is I have to write here will now happen at half the speed. Perhaps I will become a more careful writer, though I doubt it. What pains me most is having to explain all of this to my softball team, they depend on me. Of what use is a one-armed shortstop? Guitar playing will be understandably discouraging. But I suspect that my ability to strike basic chords on the piano with my lone right hand will drastically improve, in time. I might take a personal retreat before committing myself to the learning. That is all that I mean.
I have included the picture above to reflect how my body looked shortly before the removal of the arm. The hand that holds the camera from underneath, is the one that is no more. Even my idea of suicide has been drastically reshaped, and amended by necessity, by this recent development. I had always mordantly envisioned the right hand slicing the veins of the left arm, deftly, always in slow motion.
Oh well, as they say. There is still tonight.
All the stories
from the rose.
- R.M. Ryan