the gap between now and then...
the time between stop and go
the seconds between taking a breath in and letting it out...
the fragile solitary pause between what we know now and what we are soon to know...
those singular moments when all there is left to do is to sit and wait...
no movement forward or back, just running in place
not idling really, more of an inner pacing, heart racing, breath holding stretch of time...
I am sitting in a small booth with the door open. I am draped in a foolish cape that has no ties or strings. I am holding it closed across the front of my chest so tightly my knuckles are white and my hands are trembling. I have ear buds in and there must be music, but I cannot hear it over the sound of my heart beating hard within my chest. The first films came back and I need a second round. The radiology technician is a woman almost my age, with a soft yet no nonsense bearing. She doesn't make idle conversation, merely says we need to go again. To be sure.
to be sure.
not a negative or a positive. straight up. no leaning one way or the other.
i am in the gap.
i am nowhere. not lost and not found.
there is nothing i can do but wait.
and i am grateful that i am in this small space seated on a bench with the door open. i would like to know and i would like not to know.
i am in the gap.
i have ear buds in my ears and music playing because i know from experience that footfalls mean someone is coming and the waiting is over.
in most other situations this would be a good thing, to know the waiting is over.
not here in the gap.
here in the gap is nothing.
neither good nor bad.
it is only when i see two feet ahead of my stare that i know i must move.
i see it. in her hand.
the form that says I am okay.
good for another year.
i stand and move into her embrace and feel the sting of grateful tears.
luck. good fortune. genetics. righteous living. chance. a crap shoot. fate.
do we ever really know?
now, with the gap seconds behind, I exhale.
i dress and walk through the lobby, glancing at uplifted faces of those about to be tested.
i would normally smile in greeting, but not here.
here, smiling feels arrogant. If not me, then you, or maybe not you, but her...
there, in the gap,
there but for grace go i
i am grateful...
of all the women who sit alone
draped in a cape
in the gap between knowing and not knowing
i swear my solidarity to this our worthy cause
our bodies deserve such fond attention
and the power of our bravery
... to those who will walk through the lobby without their paper passport, to move to a much different destination, a longer walk, and perhaps a greater struggle...
...we, the women of a certain age, of no particular color, size or shape, must not forget, that we are all in this together...until there is a cure...