Writing prompt: WONDER, X-RAY
I wonder sometimes if I’m as dirty on the inside as I feel on the outside.
But the X-ray shows I’m merely broken.
My forearm has hairline fractures in two places, the doctor says, and I might have torn a bicep tendon. My bones have joined back earlier in other places, and look almost straight.
You want to tell me what happened, the doctor says, it is not natural for young bones to break so easy. Are you sure you fell on your hand? For a second I believe I can stay here for all time, in this room chilled with air-conditioning that smells a little of painkiller gels and alcohol. I’m tempted to tell her. The doctor reminds me of my mother, or what I think I remember of her before she died. But you can’t remember all that much at four.
Then I catch Dad’s eyes across the glass door. I swear he can hear each word from his blue chair outside the doctor’s office.
As I get my arm fixed up, I feel those eyes boring in, the eyes that make me dirty.
On my way out the doctor hands me the X-ray, taking her time about it. I take one last look at my bones, and then feel a small card under the stiff, thick X-ray as I shove it into the brown hospital envelope she gives me.
Call me anytime, she says, but I do not nod. I slip the card in my pocket without looking at it, clutch the envelope, and walk out to my Dad.
Tonight I think I’ll call her. If he does not find the card first.