Waiting for stage three

Every single evening, I open the countdown to surgery in December. I wish I could pull the string on the yarn ball of time and just be there now– do you know that fairy tale of the boy who always pulls ahead in time?

They always play the music I like in the OR. I’ve decided on French piano from Amelie. They know me at the hospital. I’m always the cheerful one on my own. I want to know everyone there.

“I love walking his patients back. I have the best job in the world,” one of the OR nurses told me, “Because you’re the only ones who cry tears of joy just passing this threshold, like all the weight of the world dropped off of your shoulders. I don’t think I’ll ever know a feeling like that, but what a grace that I get to be the one to hold your hand.”

49 days left, until midnight. Then 48. I know the countdown each day better than I know the date. I feel like an overwound clock as it gets closer. Fears of complications and failures loom, but we would risk it all.

I could just close my eyes and go in my mind to Baltimore, to smell the harbor and hear the gulls drifting in the air with the thin ice and fresh snow.

In the fairy tale, the boy becomes old and has to learn to accept each moment for what it is, not wanting to go back or ahead. Well, this part of the journey is feeling so close you can almost guarantee you’ve already jumped ahead to that moment.

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