3 weeks ago
I’ve always been a fan of showers. It’s like undressing - only you’re down to the last layers, the ones no one sees.
There’s routine and method to it. You wash and scrub. You scrub until you are raw and bleeding, hoping maybe this time it will be enough. You scrub more this time, and harder.
Maybe it’s all for nothing. Scrub all you want, but God gave you a great pair of tits and they tell you to be grateful because you’re one of the lucky ones, as if you won God’s own Tit Lottery. You don’t see how, though. You’d give anything to have nothing there at all. People used to think the Earth was flat, as flat as the chest you will never have.
"You’re a beautiful young woman."
And it’s just the sort of thing your mother would say.
At nineteen they told you you’d never have children, which didn’t bother you much, really. At least, not until you saw how dejected your mother looked when you finally told her and she said in a small, broken voice, “I wanted grandchildren.” And I wanted a body that worked right.
You are sitting on a chair in a doctor’s office and they are talking to you, at you, but it feels like you are frozen and the world is going on around you, outside you, while you watch in slow motion. Something about cysts. Your ovaries. Too much testosterone, your hormones aren’t right, you need to take medication. What’s another few pills to the pile, you think.
The first few days are awful. You spend more time in the bathroom retching than you do anything else, but they say it will get better, that you just need to adjust. You never do. Not really.
The results come back and the doctors are pleased, you’ve lost weight, they say. Your hormones seem to be normal for a girl your age. And there’s the word again, and all its weighty implications. All of the things you should be, should want, can’t do, don’t want.
They hand you a new prescription and call in the next patient. It’s just a business in the end anyways.
I run my hands absentmindedly over the skin on my stomach that I’ve never been able to love and think about what lies beneath. Two nests from which birds will never fly, and a womb that is more like a crypt than a cradle for life.
I think the last time I went to confession was second grade. I asked for my sins to be forgiven. I think about what terrible and grave sins I could have committed as an eight year old and the priest calls me into the dingy little booth. I know he can’t see me through the lattice, nor I him, but I can’t bear to look regardless. I let it out all at once, like a flood. I feel like I am drowning. He tells me to go home and say three Hail Marys.
Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
I walk home clutching the rosary beads I found in the confessional in a death grip, making sure not to step on the cracks in the sidewalk. I think about all of the rotten fruit I could grow inside of me. I think about the bathtub overflowing.
Pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.
I scrub my skin harder and harder. I feel curves where I wish there were angles. I feel water running down my skin in rivulets. I feel nothing. I drop the rosary beads from my vice grip and let them hit the shower floor. It’s as close to a prayer as I’ll ever get.