That Part Where I Freaked Out in the MRI Machine
Let me preface this by saying that I'm not claustrophobic. I was even sort of looking forward to the MRI, or at least the moment when you and a full team of doctors returned to my room with the results on a translucent sheet, all of you stumbling over each other to tell me you had never before captured an imagination so magnificent.
But here's the thing. As soon as that machine started moving, I had a horrible thought that I was lying on the tongue of some giant robot head and I was about to be eaten. You had dropped me into that room as a sacrifice and then run to the room adjacent to watch it consume me. As silly as that sounds, it would have been even more silly to just let it happen if it turned out to be true. I was 86 percent certain it was an MRI machine, but how stupid would I have felt if, just this once, you really were feeding me to some mechanized beast and I just lay there? The answer is pretty stupid.
"Burble garble, slurp."
I am a survivor by nature, precisely because I never sit idly by when I suspect something might be trying to ingest me. That's why I punched it in the roof of the mouth and crawled out while you yelled at me from next door. But in a way, it's really your fault for not explicitly telling me before we started that this was not a sacrifice and that the MRI machine couldn't smell my wounds. I don't want to tell you how to do your job, but I'm sure your future patients would appreciate a heads-up like that.
That Part Where I Locked Myself in the Bathroom Until You Found a Smaller Needle
Of all the ups and downs we shared that evening, I suspect the first, second and fourth attempts to suture my face were probably the hardest on you. I'm sorry for that. Still, I think it's important to point out that what might have looked like my fearlessness wavering was actually another big misunderstanding. One I'm sure you and I will laugh about over a beer someday in the distant future when we meet up each year at your place on the anniversary of The Event.
You don't have a hot tub, do you?
Here's what really happened: Right after you showed me the size of the hook you wanted to stab between my eyes, I decided I needed to throw up. These two things were completely unrelated.
I've heard that patients aren't supposed to eat before major surgery, and given the severity of my wound, I knew we didn't have time to wait for me to digest all that buffet shrimp and ice cream I pounded to sober up on the way out of the hotel. I was only trying to give the procedure the greatest chance of success. Also, come on, you could have caught a deep sea fish with that needle.
There's no way it was designed for anything other than torture.
Now, I understand you had been through a lot already that night, and admittedly, some of it looked a lot like my fault at first glance. But I could hear in your tone of voice when you were shouting through the bathroom door that you weren't in any condition emotionally to be performing an operation. Some people fold in high-stress situations, and I can't fault you for that. You are only human. I just wanted to give you a chance to cool off and settle down before stitching up my favorite part of me. The last thing either of us needed, the last thing our friendship needed that night/dawn, was a revenge suture.
I appreciate your willingness to find a smaller needle and to describe it to me through the door. By that point I think we finally started operating as a team and everything went a lot smoother. In fact, the next two times I locked myself in the bathroom didn't feel nearly as long.
In the end, I think we can both walk away feeling proud of the way we handled the whole fiasco. Even now, like a butterfly emerging from a brown and scaly chrysalis, my face has already started to heal and surface from under the scabs. And when people ask me to tell them the story of how it happened, I always tell them about you, about the night we saved my face together and how I helped soften your deadened heart. See you in a year, old friend.
For more from Soren, check out Dear Hotmail: What The Hell Happened to You? and A Letter to God Following the Cancellation of the Rapture.