I'm flipping through the dumbass magazines in the doctor's office, hoping to find something to read that isn't the complete epitome of dumbassery, but you know how it is, there's nothing.
It occurs to me that the word "patient" is all about the waiting room experience, because I've been sitting here in this vinyl chair for over an hour, with nothing to read, and "patient" sort of sums up what they are hoping I will be, but I am not sure how much longer I can keep it up.
So I start eavesdropping on the conversations of the other patients waiting their turn. And what I find out is that these people's lives--at least today, at least what they are willing to say in a public place where people like me are hanging on every word--are pretty much the epitome of boring. Her car needs an oil change. His mother needs her lawn mowed. And me? My bra is digging into my ribs, so I need to go shopping. Fascinating stuff.
I've never been so happy to be called back, just for a change of scenery.
The nurse is dressed in green scrubs. She takes me down a hallway and lets me into a small examining room with one of those paper-covered patient tables in it.
"If you could put this on," she says, holding out a white smock-type thing. "The ties go in the back."
"All righty," I say. I am an old hand at this. I spend more time at the doctor's office than most people. At least, than healthy people.
I'm just going to come on out and say it, because it pisses me off when people are all secretive and won't talk about something that's only about the most important thing there is and that's on your mind every single minute pretty much. It's not healthy, keeping secrets like that.
I've got cancer. There. And guess what, that sucks. Of course. But I'm doing all right. At least I can function pretty well, still go to work, drive, all that regular stuff.
This doctor, he's not my oncologist, he just keeps an eye on all the rest of me. I've been coming here for years and I guess he's doing a good enough job. I don't like doctors, as a rule. They usually talk to their patients like the patients don't have the sense to come in out of the rain. At least that's how they talk to me. I've had to tell them that my cancer is not affecting my brain, so would they mind bumping up their talk from kindergarten-level, if they don't fucking mind.
So they do this thing in doctor's offices, it's like the line for rides at Disneyland, where you keep thinking you're almost there and then you go around a bend and see that the line actually stretches all the way to Mexico. In the doctor's office, they put you in the examining room, and you think woo! I'm getting somewhere now! But you can chill in that examining room for hours, with no sign of any doctor.
It's been twenty minutes already. I've shucked off my pants and taken off my shirt and the bra that was digging into my ribs and put on the thing with the ties in the back, and I'm being patient.
Another nurse comes in. "I need to take your vitals," she says, smiling at me. What I notice right off is how she's got this good way about her. I feel myself calming down just by being in her presence. She takes my hand and puts her fingers on the inside of my wrist, and looks away, counting. Then she does the rest of her stuff, the thermometer, the blood pressure cuff, stuff she must get sick of doing ten thousand times a day. I am watching her face. It is an exceptionally good face--her eyebrows, especially, are totally gorgeous. Not too fussed-over, but the shape of them sort of makes you think she must be witty and a good dancer.
I don't know what the fuck I am talking about.
She starts talking to me, not like a nurse who asks the same questions every day, but like just another person, a person who is actually interested in the answers. She cocks her head a little when she listens to me talk. She gets me going on about my job, and while I talk she's taken my arm and started stroking it, moving her hand from my wrist up to my elbow and back, and then up to my shoulder.
I try to be polite and ask her some things, but she gets the conversation back to me pretty quickly. She's deft about that, because I hardly notice it happening.
What I do notice is that she moves around to the side of me, so she can reach up and start massaging my shoulders. I make a few gasps, because it's like her touch is showing me how tense I was and I didn't even realize it.
The thing about my cancer is, it's not something that makes me look bad. You'd never guess I was sick, just to look at me. But inside, things are going wrong. And there are not that many people in this world who know how to look there. They see how my hair is long and pretty and my skin is clear and they assume that's that. Even when I tell them, it's like they can't see it, so it's not really there.
Now the nurse is taking her hands and smoothing them down my arms, starting right at my neck, moving over my shoulders, and down to my hands. She is pressing hard. It feels like she is ironing the stress right out of my molecules. I start taking deeper, calmer breaths. I start to feel like a person who is not sick. Or at least, not very.
When she is done with my arms, she walks around in front of me. You know how nurses are, they're handling bodies all day long, and they're not funny about touching. She lift up the edge of the smock and puts her hands on my hips, kneading them.
I gasp. It's like she's found the epicenter of my tension, my fear, and she is going to root it right on out of there.
Her face is right up in front of mine now. I look into her eyes, and she looks back. What I see that thrills me--she doesn't pity me. Well, not that's the thrilling part, actually. The thrilling part is that I see she likes touching me. Really likes it.
I am wondering--if I try to touch her back, will she leave the room? Because her leaving the room is the very last thing I want to happen right now. I keep looking into her eyes. I see a lash that's fallen onto the top of her cheek, and I reach up to brush it away.
"Make a wish," I say, knowing it's the most cornball thing ever, and giving her an ironic smile.
She closes her eyes for a moment, but her hands do not stop. Her hands slide off my hips and move up my sides, to my ribs, then back down again. It's like her hands are trailing warmth and goodness wherever they go, and I want them all over me at once, everywhere.
"OK, I made a wish," she says, opening her eyes again and looking at me, then down, then at me. She looks all over my face, up at my forehead, and then at my mouth, like she's memorizing the details. I am praying for her hands to start moving again.
And they do. She moves them over my belly, heating my skin as she goes. And I can't help it, I take my own hands, and put them on her shoulders. I was worried about a flinch, but she does not flinch. She leans her head towards mine, and puts her forehead on mine, leaning against me, so we aren't looking into each other's eyes, but it is more of a position of intimacy, of coming together.
She brings her hands up under my smock. She's moving quickly now, as though she doesn't have enough time to cover all the skin that she wants to cover. She comes right up under my breasts and alongside my breasts but she doesn't quite touch them.
But oh oh oh how I want her to.
What is her name?
I open my legs a little, because I am getting hot down there, and sticking to the paper on the table. She leans her head back so she can look at me, and then she takes both her hands and brings them right up over my breasts.
I can't help it, I gasp again. This time, it is a gasp of thank you, a gasp of more please, a gasp of gratitude for this unexpected monumental pleasure.
I have to hold on to her shoulders to keep from falling over, the feel of her hands on me is so beautifully unsettling, so wondrous.
Here's the thing: being sick is lonely. Even when people can't tell you're sick by looking at you, even when you've told them and they can't seem to remember, you don't forget. You always know, every second of the day. And it makes you feel like you're not really part of anything anymore, cut off from everyone else.
So this nurse, with her touching me and looking at me and leaning her forehead against mine--I am not feeling cut off, not from anything. Not from her, and not from my body. I wiggle myself forward a little bit, and she responds to that by stepping right in between my open legs. Just that, just feeling her standing there, solid, between my thighs--it brings me back into the world.
She's got a hand on each of my breasts, and she's rubbing them, slowly, squeezing, catching my hard nipples between her fingers almost like it's an accident.
But listen. We're two women who have been around the block, and we know exactly what we are doing now. We have sailed right on past that line of what nurses do with patients, and we are in a world of fun and happy feelings now, this nurse and me.
I take my hand and put it alongside her face, and then I take her chin and angle it just so and I lean in and touch my lips to her lips. I suck on her bottom lip a little which makes her inhale quickly, which makes a little spurt fly out of me down below. She's got her hands holding my breasts now, still squeezing a little like she likes the feel of that so much she can't stop. I notice that she's rocking a little bit, in between my legs. She's moved up closer so we're almost touching pubic bones, and I go on ahead and wrap my legs around her.
It's like she knows where to go and what to do, like some kind of sorceress. She trails a line of kisses down my collarbone, sending a shower of sparks as she goes. She brushes my hair back from my neck, making me tingle. She leans in to kiss me, and we let ourselves go all the way down in that kiss, sinking down through all the layers of wanting, my legs trembling as they hold on to her.
After the kiss, she lifts my smock and bends her head down to my nipples, going from one to the other, licking them, sucking them, until I am raising my ass up off the table with how good she feels.
I go to lift her top but she whispers in my ear that there isn't time.
"Just a look," I say, "Just a kiss."
So she smiles at me and lifts up the top of her scrubs and lets me see her. I quickly push her bra up over her breasts which are just barely bigger than a handful, the nipples dark and hard. I reach with my mouth, wanting to taste her, but she says again, there's no time, and as she says it she is gently pushing me back on the table with one hand, and with the other she is stroking the inside of my thigh, so that it feel like it's melting under her hand and turning into the consistency of hot wax.
"I'm sorry for hurrying," she says, and steps back from me, out of the grasp of my legs.
At first I am totally dispirited, thinking she is done with me, but she's not leaving, what she's doing is kissing the inside of my thighs, and stroking my skin all over, and then she goes right on and puts her mouth right on me, over my panties.
She started me gasping right at the beginning and I'm still gasping. But oh the feel of her warm mouth on me like that, it's like she's breathing pleasure and life right back into me. It's like we're in some kind of fairy tale and she's the good witch freeing an imprisoned person and making her happy for the first time in a thousand years.
The nurse is good with her tongue. She give me slow strokes with the flat of her tongue, and she gives me flickerings that flick faster than hummingbird wings, and that brings me closer and closer, my body tensing up now, my hips pushing up and back, rocking into her tongue and her warmth.
She moans then, and I let myself fall right off the fucking cliff. I'm coming harder than I ever have before, spinning off into the universe somewhere, my whole body melting right into this deep well of bliss.
I lie still then. I'm not sure what happens next. The nurse strokes my hair out of my face, and she keeps her hand on me as the throbbing begins to ebb.
One thing being sick has taught me, and that's to be grateful for the moment you're in, no matter what. I take that to heart, I really do. And I am grateful for the nurse, grateful for her tongue and her spirit and those magnificent eyebrows.
We are having a close hug, the kind of hug that replaces words just fine, when the doctor gives a short knock and strides in.
No surprise, I give him the biggest smile he's ever gotten from me. The nurse gives me a special sort of look and leaves the room. I'm just sitting here on the paper-covered table, a little damper than when I got here, and happier, oh yeah, I am positively awash in endorphins. The best patient ever.