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April 9th, 2014 - Christine Deken

I'm channeling my inner Audrey Horne today. "Do your palms ever itch?"

That is the status Facebook says I made on April 9th, 2014, and it seems like the right style for me at the time. I’ve just started to get into Twin Peaks and the jacket I stole from Anthony with the town map on the back isn’t enough for me.

But it’s more than that, my little dress up games are quite frequent when I’m dealing with the worst of the endometriosis. I find myself painting my face on more when I can’t mask the pain of the day.

On this date I’m exactly five years away from my hysterectomy.

I’m five years away from the day Anthony will come into town just to be there for my biggest operation. We will see each other for the last time in person. I will begin that last part of moving on, starting that day.

But on this day, he and I are still in a newish relationship. We’re talking about the future in bursts and little instances.

My mind on this day in 2019 goes back to 2014 when the man sitting in the chair to my right as I convalesce was mine. In the hospital I wonder what it would take to make it work, now that he lives across the country.

This man who once told me he wanted to get married and settle down “someday”. A statement he never realized impacted my whole view of us. “Someday” always meant, “with someone else.” And while I pushed the thought back in the day-to-day, it never left.

Between us there was always this silent knowing: Knowing the endo would lead me to the operating table, as it had before. Knowing he was going to find someone else.

Which brings me back to Audrey Horne, she was the picture of someone who knew what she wanted and stopped at nothing to get it. How I played the relationship in those days. If I was Audrey, Anthony was my Dale Cooper.

My mind gets pulled to his apartment, to him rubbing my back after we’ve had sex. The pain that comes with the act is something I’m familiar with, but he’s not. And I don’t dare say he didn’t try to do the best for me in those times. It’s hard to know how to love someone in chronic pain, and I never judged him for doing what he thought was best. And even though I had my own silent doubts, I loved him with my whole heart in those days. And I believed he did the same.

If he didn’t, why would he drive all the way to St. Louis from San Marcos just to sit there next to me. A thought which crosses my mind with the wave of morphine that I’d just pushed through. He kisses me on the lips when he visits, a thing he hadn’t done in at least a year previous. I thought we might finally be rekindling, I let myself think that as the sleep comes. But in the morning he drives home, back across the country to teach and go to school. And I stayed in the hospital one more day thinking about it.

But when I got home, the pain of recovery and realization hit like twin daggers. Those were the universal truths; I have chronic pain and Anthony and I will never be together.

The things in 2019 made me so angry at Anthony, so resentful of how I thought he saw me, or “us”. But those things have nothing to do with this time.

They don’t touch sneaking to the end of the third floor of Siceluff to see him before he had class, just for one more kiss.This time in our relationship, it’s hard for me to say it’s the sweetest. The more I’ve thought about it, it’s true. Being in the hallways of Missouri State between classes and working at the bookstore together. Leaving him notes on the desk we share in classes which follow each other. Writing this essay has finally let me see the happy parts.

I still see the two of us in the hallways of Missouri State, it seems like that’s where we’ll always be. Anthony is walking down the hall towards me, if you know him, you can see it. Not that he has this aura about him, but it’s the windy way he walks. Like he’s on a breeze and bringing it to you.

I think those two silent battles were leading me from April 9th, 2014 to now. The pain of the endometriosis is still here, right where the ovaries which have been removed used to sit. A dull ache keeping me up some nights. But I have my “someday” the person Anthony knew he wasn’t. Just like I knew I wasn’t.

But my palms sometimes itch.


Christine Deken is a non-binary aspiring author who lives with her husband in Huntsville, Alabama.

Christine Deken would like you to learn more about, and support, the Center for Reproductive Rights.


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