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Heat Wave II - Tuesday, Jun. 29, 2021
Monday, May. 17, 2021 @ 7:29 pm
“You were right,” the doctor says, “you fractured your ulnar styloid.”
My wrist has been hot since I fell off the ramp in that logging cut block on my mountain bike. Everything else healed save for my wrist. I would go climbing and pull through a move, and at a certain angle a quick bloom of hot pain would sear from my wrist. And so I adjusted my climbing and avoided twisting against that part of my wrist for seven weeks and pretended it was fine.
It was not fine.
After one particularly intense climb last week, I looked closely at my wrist. The redness, the swelling. Why is it still swollen? It’s been seven weeks. The chatter in the background of the climbing gym. My hands dusty with chalk. I look up at Russell.
“I think it’s actually broken.”
And so it is.
And so here I am walking around with a broken bone. I hike through a forest, my wrist broken. I paddle out along the shoreline, my wrist broken. I eat brunch with friends, my wrist broken.
I feel changed. Like the day after losing my virginity. Like the twenty days during which I carried a growing embryo in my womb. Does everyone see this difference in me, this fracture in my ulna, just below a thin layer of skin?
I drive over to a garden party up in the British Properties. There are a number of us, all half-vaccinated now, and it’s glorious. The lawn and the dogs and the appetizers and real champagne to celebrate someone’s milestone birthday.
I hold the champagne in my broken-wristed hand. I am asked how I am doing, and I don’t mention the fractured bone, suspended in the air between us. It’s not my day for attention, and this is not a particularly unique experience.
In the morning, I wake hot and groggy. I pull on my bikini and wrap a towel around my waist. Ride the elevator down, and flip-flop across the lawn to the ocean. I place my belongings on a rock and wade into the ocean. The cold water a balm on my hot wrist and my sunburned skin. A seal rises beside me, its round head mottled in greys like granite stone. Its eyes huge and black and infinite.
“I was watching you swim,” Russell says, as I walk into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. He touches my shoulder, tugs at the strap of my bathing suit.
I pour cream into my coffee, stir, knowing that it will be cold before I get around to drinking it.