Jess Pane 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow

Jess Pane 2015 Lambda Literary Fellow



this is from a story it's entitled years the night before your surgery you and I went into the field next to the hotel we were staying along an intersection of Highways and very short trees in Plano I told you to dance to be far away and moved closer we did this a lot you dancing to whatever song played on the radio while I recorded it dance with your arms up I said you wore this blue and red checkered button-up and still extract cowboy hat we got hit the check stop I filmed you but you remember this the hotel room where we stayed for a couple of nights you bled through the bandages and through the sheets I wandered down the down to the front desk for the new ones focused on the pastel swirls of the carpet at the front desk I asked the man if I could have new sheets said there was blood on the ones we had yes if you were okay and I nodded surprised then he remembered us worried that we would be charged but the man just smiled and handed them to me and asked what surgery you had I stammered too tired to explain or too nervous he could have asked but what about the nipples again and again I wanted to get back to you so without thinking I held my hand to my chest he said something about a mastectomy and I nodded because it sounded right he never got charged we never got charged for the sheets that threw out you had a second surgery the surgeons suggested a price cut and almost two for one kind of deal I remove all the fat from around your hips this is where the blood water came from tiny incisions on either side where tells you expected but didn't realize there'd be so much we got you slowly out of bed he looked at the sheets and said that's a lot of blood you've held your belly the painkillers made you nauseous you are afraid of dying and I'm afraid of my teeth falling out both are a lot about loss of control I changed the sheets tucking them under the covers tucking you in overnight he threw up said my stitch my stitches will tear I called the emergency number and overnight nurse became my best friend she was calm explained you were allergic to the medication and that you would have a new prescription in the morning I called her three times we lay awake until at 8 a.m. on the second day the nurse showed me how to change her bandages she gave you crackers and a soda to calm your stomach you hadn't had a soda in over a decade ahem really drink it because the nurse told you to you know remember this a whole day lost we went to the pharmacy and got your new prescription the bottles of Gatorade I drank a soda and felt terrible i propped you up on the pillows in the hotel bed you kept saying lying may have my purple drink please my wings are broken I ordered soup and you ate all the vegetables drink the broth to it through a straw I took a photo of our perishable food in the bathroom sink with the vending machine I was keeping it cold I showed you how people liked it on the internet your mom called and I answered cheerfully saying there's a fever and some pain we played it down but maybe in that moment everything was calm she suggested ice chips which we didn't have so I ran hot water over the vending machine ice and melted some into smaller pieces you said with your pillows and said lying I'm sorry when you fell asleep I laid my cheek against your forearm the television was on it's glow highlighting the shadows in the room I flipped through the channels turning down the volume again and again here's where their memory returns hours later sitting up a little your hand close to the sheets cleanse my forehead and then my cheek down to my earlobe and the spot on my shoulder where the bras have left an indent you said release your shoulders [Applause]

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