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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Friday, Nov. 11, 2016 @ 4:37 pm
I sit in the waiting room at the endocrinologist. A man waiting for his wife begins to speak to me. He talks about himself and some irrelevant things, a vintage book entitled Root Cellaring balanced on his knee.
I close my eyes and think about my field trip earlier this week. Driving up through the mountains in a rented truck, rain falling hard, the highway slick with a three inch skim of fresh black water. Windshield wipers useless against the torrent. Refueling in Whistler, grabbing coffee in Pemberton. And then another hour and a half on gravel roads to a remote First Nations community.
The endocrinologist calls me in. Asks me a couple of questions. Riffles through my paperwork. It's a confusing mess. Nothing makes sense.
I meet with an older man, not many teeth, and my pace relaxes into this place. There's no cell coverage. Fresh milk is more than ninety minutes of intense driving away. A horse.... a piebald beast of a horse with hooves like dinner plates... saunters down the main drag. A pile of road apples steams in front of the band office.
The doctor has me sit up on the table. He takes my pluse, it's low. He takes my blood pressure, it's low. He has me lay back on the bed, and he presses on my abdomen, and thunks at my body in different places, hollow sounds reverberating in the quiet room. His hands cool and dry.
The rivers are running full. The water surges past where I stand on the banks. The river is boiling and frothing, entire trees with root systems blow past, crashing off boulders with great exaggerated cracking sounds. A bald eagle cruises silently north.
The doctor places his hands on my neck and palpitates my thyroid. Something shifts. His body stiffens as his hands press gently and firmly on the delicate tissue of my neck.
Another man joins us at the well house. He is more jovial than the first man, and I lock eyes with him. There's something in him that reminds me of Timathy. The same current of blood, the same jaw, nose, eyes. I smile and joke with him as we finish up the work.
The doctor sits at his desk and begins to write up test requisitions. He's stopped talking with me. I fix my ponytail and straighten my shirt.
I drop by the school on the reserve. I talk with a woman whose face is scarred deeply, and I wonder if it's from a horrible burn. Or the scars within, simply forming a visible film on the surface. A small girl comes up to me, the class on their way to the gymnasium. She opens her hands, and crawling across her thumb is an orange and black caterpillar. I tell her that she's got a keen eye to find the creature, and she proudly covers him up and runs to catch up with her friends. A larger girl at the back of the class looks at me and says matter of factly, You have big teeth.
The doctor looks up at me, adjusts his glasses. Presents me with my paperwork.
You have a lump on your thyroid.