This essay is not actually fictional, but as an autobiography it fits better here than on the scholarly pages. . .

Jenn Faimon

May 12, 2000

Unraveled

     It was that time of August when the air hung with a smothering sweat, and a sticky film glazed my skin, shiny like taut plastic-wrap. With every pant, I could feel the tightness in my chest, fumbling for air during my humid hike across campus. The sun pressed against my back with the sensation of hot breath through cotton, and spiders of sweat shimmied down my spine. Heat surged in waves of sensory hysteria: so hot I was puckered with chills. My forehead seeped eye-burning brine. An oasis pooled in my armpits, powder-scented with clumped anti-perspirant and laced with bacterial secretions. My bra clung cheaply like a wet tee shirt and the lusty elastic edges groped at my skin, hugging and gnawing inexhaustibly. The underwire jabbed mercilessly into my tender scar -- the handiwork of a surgeon, the blessing of a Savior. The scar was fresh, sensitive, and succulent like my newly shaped breasts. Once resembling eggplants, they now palmed like vine-ripe tomatoes. The scar was healing badly, and my summer's firm-skinned fruits, slightly bruised and slightly engineered, could not withstand the mounting pressure. The sweat, struggle, and sun were taking its toll on my scarred self and the wound split open. Over the next few weeks, it bled and ached continuously as I walked from class to class with no direction.

      They removed liberating sections of my breast in July, a freedom like the 4th, and renewal arose inside me as if I were a whole new person no longer entrapped by physical limitations. And indeed, I became the person I had dreamed of being again -- a small-breasted individual. However, I soon realized I had developed a limited identity for myself beyond my breasts and my freedom fabricated an identity crisis. From class to class, I suffocated from the stifling mugginess of indecision under hot-lamps of finances and unparalleled stress. The scar continued to bleed as I suffered from the casualties of failed exams, sexual indiscretion, family tension, and social intensity. Raw and split, I removed my bra. I had worked my way to the shower and it was time to cool off.

     The floodgates opened and I experienced an intense release as the water pelted my skin. My lungs bloomed, opening to the steam and hiss of the showerhead, breathing deep the breath of life. Water trickled down my forehead, and I felt the salt wash from my eyes. For the first time in weeks, nothing kept me from fully seeing my breasts down below, and they were perfect in every way. Yet my eyes were drawn to the open wound, the scar, the sole witness to the crimes I have committed against myself. The sole witness to the crimes this life has committed against me. As I turned to let the water flow over it, I caught a glimpse of the lifeline embedded in my tissue, running deep within me: a nylon string poked out from my ribcage. It had been used to reconstruct my breasts and it was the source of my pain, the source of my infection, the source of my affliction. It was a gift the surgeon had left for me; he knew it would be the answer to my distress. So I pulled on it, and it began to unravel inside me. Inch by inch, the string emerged, exiting my body. As the seventh measure of nylon passed through my side, healing me, my wide eyes marveled at the incredible power of the human body. My immune system rejected a foreign suture buried deep inside me, and healed itself as it expelled the surfaced stitch. While the water rushed over me, naked in the shower, my fears and anxieties subsided. I found ultimate comfort in knowing that God has ways of making things work themselves out.

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