HAVE A THRESHOLD
If you catch me limping that’s plantar’s fasciitis from running so fast—ultra fast—at the track. Icing it on the deck, something is in the trees behind the house. My guess: monkeys, though, of course, this isn’t the time or place. The new puppy is turning from black to gold, some kind of alchemy. It’s fly season in the Valley and I promise we are not filthy, though the local raccoon has profiled the house. The cat didn’t eat last night and I wonder if it has bobcat fever.
This is all throat clearing, meant as distraction from the spike in my foot.
I believe in the idea that I possess a high pain threshold so maybe it’s not PF. Maybe something is broken. I’ve done that twice: once on the soccer field and once getting out of a cab. Never on a skateboard. An x-ray could tell but I’ve had my fill of people looking at me funny. Have you been a “fall risk” on crutches through TSA, then boarding a plane? Not exhilarating the way travel should be. Before surgery they gave me something I was always looking for in a glass with ice, and I did not wake up terrified during the operation. I also saw my wife give birth with little medication that worked.
I studied philosophy for four years but none of those blabbermouths could explain why the body hurts itself.
The puppy, my surrogate, believes me, about the monkeys and paces the fence. I’m not talking about pain like, yo, my heart hurts. I am not sad. I keep returning to this idea of a sharp, hot spike. The cat will cry and cry about food but eat nothing in public and I’ll let the grocery cart mask my hobble when I go to the store. I don’t miss running like some sort of marathoner. I hadn’t done it long enough to achieve anything in the spiritual department.
These are not complaints of middle-age’s new frailties. That cliche is finished, like red sports cars. What I’m talking about is the more universal drama of pain, experienced young and old, in head, teeth, and in my case, feet. Soon enough, I’ll be fine, or it will move to the background like my near-sightedness. For my wife, it is her back, for a friend it is the kidney.
A kid I work with now can pitch a baseball 99 miles per hour. He had his thyroid removed and his shoulder rebuilt. He takes pills before every game and long baths in ice water after. Perhaps the crowd is his distraction.
Sean Ennis is the author of CHASE US: Stories (Little A) and his flash fiction has recently appeared in Passages North, Hobart, Tiny Molecules, (mac)ro(mic), and BULL. More of his work can be found at seanennis.net
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