This picture was just sent to me via Facebook by a cousin (she’s standing in the center of the picture). I’m on the right wearing my favorite-at-the-time bright yellow Esprit shirt. I’ll bet that I’m wearing it with my also-favorite bright green cropped pants. Judging from the length of my hair, this was the spring of my freshman year. Dad is on the left. He didn’t smile very often, or at least he usually only smiled with his eyes, so this is a special photograph, indeed. It was probably taken on one of my trips back to Denver to have medical check-ups to confirm my cancer remission. Perhaps Dad’s smile is reflective of his joy that all went well at the hospital.
Not to change the subject too dramatically (and you’ll see where I’m going here in a minute)…but have I ever mentioned that I have the world’s best postman? Not only is he always smiling and seems to just love his job, but he does so many little things to make sure that we get our mail. When I’ve been ill, he’s even brought it to the door rather than leaving it at our box. He makes sure that everything delivered to our old place across the street makes it to our current home. And today, when I walked up to the door and saw a note on my door that I missed a package I was super-bummed. It’s an important package that I’ve been waiting for for weeks–and I didn’t want to wait another day. So you can only imagine how much I wanted to hug this man when I saw his truck pull up in front of our door and heard him calling out my name. He explained that he’d seen me drive around the corner as he was going the other way and came back because he knew that I’d want my package. If I’d had any money in my pocket, he would have received a very generous tip right then. But he’s the kind of person who doesn’t do that kind of thing for a tip and that’s what makes him so very cool.
So the package…
It’s a slim manila envelope bearing the return address of the Denver Children’s Hospital. These are the pathology photographs that I requested weeks ago, but had to jump through many hurdles to procure. I unseal the envelope and pull out a small stack of color photos tucked into the three-fold crease of a xeroxed pathology report. The first photo is of my right leg. My eyes focus in the center of the image, on the biopsy incision on the side of my knee. And I realize that I’d forgotten about that, only remembering the smooth pink scar that ran down the front of my kneecap from a fall in second grade. The biopsy wound was just a few weeks old when my leg was amputated, which is surely why I forgot. And a memory surfaces of the icy walkway that led to the front door of my junior high school, and how I was terribly afraid of falling as I navigated it on crutches, my prosthetic leg more of a liability than an asset in the Denver winter.
But it’s 90 degrees here today, the Santa Ana winds having finally hit Southern California. I’ll bet that there are fires already burning somewhere. And my throat has been dry all day, so dry that it was difficult to carry on a conversation with my daughter after school. The weather widget on my web browser tells me that tomorrow it’ll be cooler–in the 60s, even. It’s hard to believe that, right now.