Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Summer Body

I've just gotten one of those catalogues from Victoria's Secret, the one that has me absently looking at my profile in window reflections, as the summer approaches. But the true Secret here, is in the speed with which I'm able to get Victoria to the trash upon her arrival to my home, rather than having her sit on the counter, staring at me for a few hours or days.

When I first started working with adults with brain injury (mostly strokes), they all looked quite old to me, but over the past few years, they've somehow gotten younger and lately those I'm giving therapy to, are around my own age.
They are people who have lost speech or suffer from paralysis of some kind, leaving them to struggle with their limbs or to agonize over sending the messages from their brain to her lips with clarity. The only difference between us, lies in that tiny piece of plaque or weakened blood vessel that rendered them helpless, or at best, dependent.

In a matter of seconds, on one life-defining day, a strong intelligent body can be left broken and it's not too difficult or far-fetched,  to look at that person and see one's self.

So, as the summer approaches, I look at my two flabby arms and my dimply legs and I say, "Yes, these will work." They will carry me to the water's edge, grip an oar in a kayak or hold the side of a blow-up mattress. They'll move a paddle boat, press a gas pedal, or walk a mountain trail. And they'll easily embrace a loved one.

These eyes that peek out from folds of skin, might need reading glasses but they'll see the piercing light of the sun as it sparkles across the Ionian and the familiar lines on the faces of those I long to see. These ears might not catch every word, but they'll hear the symphony of morning sounds and the sweet evening songs of the cicadas and bullfrogs. And the melody of my loved ones' voices.

And this mouth will serve me well through long leisurely meals, and sweet conversations, and whispers of I love you . . .

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