What if we were given the opportunity to choose our own diagnosis?
As a kid, I devoured books like Encyclopedia Brown, Anastasia Krupnik and Choose Your Own Adventures. The ability to go to page twelve if I want Becky to dive beneath the shark-filled waters to see if the treasure is there amazed me.
What if life could be this way?
If you want to leave all your community behind, head north for the girl who held your heart once, go to page 102.
If you are ready to go back to school and learn something that might get you a better job, go to page 70.
Ready for travel? Grab your passport and turn to page 212.
Diagnoses are similar. Some people would rather not know. They prefer heading through the entire book of themselves without interruption. Without skipping pages. Without peeking into what is to come. More specifically, they would rather not know if something grows in their body.
silence the sick and it will go away
What type of adventure am I choosing? I think I’d like to turn to page 47 and fall in love. After a few pages seeped in that, kind of like a comfortable drown, I will go back 32 pages, quit my job and take a bus trip across the country. At a rest stop, I’ll turn to page 93, where I will walk 1.3 miles to the nearest cafe, ask the woman behind the counter if I could work there and start existing for several weeks as a local. Then, I finger page 111 where I say goodbye and buy a ticket to a foreign city I’ve never been to and only speak about 12 words in their language. Here, I learn a new trade, volunteer my time and labor for free housing, write poems and humble myself through the art of missing Brooklyn’s amenities. Turn to page 303. I find religion in my soul through meditation and sworn off Internet connection. Skip to page 419 and I get married. I contemplate page 660. Rather, I peek a little at it’s projection of baby and normalcy. Then, I fall backwards onto page 123. All it says is:
Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hope for. (Epicurus)
I don’t go back to page 1 or even 115. However, I decide to stay where I am and gather up my love for the present.
This borough of graffiti’d breaths and there are pigeons everywhere far more curious than I am. And what about the sunrise caught as bike wheels bring me closer to the rash of color on the sky. There are the flowers that grow in tiny gardens beside concrete stoops and bodegas at every corner selling all the oddities I might need in one place. The Museum of Modern Art. Enough farmer’s markets to keep my vegetable bin continually filled up. The surprising friendships I’ve made. Enough stages to keep my poems occupied…………..
If I took the death and water out of drown, it would turn into submersion in and inhalation of. I’d like to try this out for awhile. Complete submersion. Inhalation of New York. Maybe I’ll exhale out a book or right now I’d settle on a twenty-four hour fit of smiles. My curiosity wants me to skip some pages, but I’m going to slow down. Curb my impatience. See what waits for me as I allow it just to happen.