When we had sex, and it was sex not making love like in the movies he watched on the 22” in my living room, he kissed the areas of my body that no one else touches, the base of my throat, the curve of my clavicle, the arc of my hipbone, the jutting of my knee.
“What happened?” The doctor asks, pulling the skin from the wound.
I cut myself on a broken bottle. I don’t tell her that I lay in the street after his car had rounded the corner praying that a truck would come and slice my torso in half.
The doctor writes a prescription. “Take these, and come back in a week and we’ll remove the stitches.”
“Will it scar?” I ask.
At night I stand in the mirror, and I count the bones of my spine, from my scalp, to the end of the S curve on my back. I pray for a break, for a pain, for a snap, for a burn. I lay my cheek against the cold stone of the floor, until sleep comes.
“What happened?” The doctor asks. He has sea green eyes that smile gently.
The knife slipped when I was cutting tomatoes, I tell him. I don’t tell him about the cool of the metal or about the thin red line that formed, the pain that seared through my abdomen.
This doctor reads my records and his eyes are darken. “I’ll prescribe you some painkillers, but you were here just a few weeks ago.”
“I’m naturally clumsy.”
He hands me the prescription. “Be careful. If you take too many you won’t be able to feel anything.”
“I don’t feel anything anyway.”
At night I drive to his house. I sit in my car, and imagine standing on his front porch, my fist pounding hard until he opens the door. But I don’t get out, and I drive off, the windows down, the cool air drawing goose bumps on my arms.
“What happened?” The doctor asks.
I fell down my stairs. I don’t tell him how my feet gave out at the top, how I lay at the bottom until the postman called the ambulance.
This time there is an IV drip and I sleep through the night, and in the morning the doctor comes. “We can release you today.” He pauses. “You’ve been here three times in the past two months.”
I say nothing and the doctor says something about talking to someone and places a business card on the table.
A nurse comes to wheel me out, my neighbor parked in the garage, her car door open. The nurse hands me the business card and the prescription.
My neighbor drives and I roll the window down, and drop the business card into the air, watching the paper fly behind us as we turn down the street towards my home.
I have to find a new Emergency Room.
Melody Feldman received her MFA in Fiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University where she was the assistant editor of the Literary Review. Her short story, Pie, won the 2008 Fulton Prize for Fiction from The Adirondack Review. She has also had work published in 34th Parallel, Perceptions, Gloom Cupboard, and elsewhere.