Do no harm

Healing from the past is something more prosaic than it seems. The past is a foreign country and wounds inflicted there don’t fall under any health insurance scheme. I show my bleeding hand to a physician but she can only prescribe topicals that disappear into my skin without providing relief. The pain is dizzying. I try to read her face as she ushers me out of the room, but her expression is flat, illegible, either because she knows better than to deviate from cool professional neutrality, or because I am too out of it to detect the twinges in her eyes that might reveal a reserve of emotion.

Outside, obscenely colorful ornamental hedges line the concrete steps. I briefly panic. I let myself feel the sensation for a moment—horses frothing at the mouth, muscles straining to break into gallop —before crumpling it up in my hand like a gum wrapper and stuffing it into my pocket, to rediscover later. A sparrow vaults into the air and I follow its flight path with my gaze. Jealousy drains me like a syringe.

I know by now that holding a grudge is petty, puerile, and poisonous to everything green and golden in my life. But underneath the bandage, I keep the wound open.

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