portion of the artwork for Erin Fitzgerald's fiction

Erin Fitzgerald

“Let’s have a look,” my doctor sighs, opening her laptop. She’s in her late fifties, and has a long black weave with burgundy highlighting. It’s shiny and lush, especially in this windowless, faded-aqua examining room. She’s just returned from a trip to another country. Her brother is dying there, I overheard her telling a nurse. I sit on the examination table, and I want to brush and braid her magnificent weave while she summons my charts.

Some of my lab numbers are all right. Numbers that have nothing to do with being fat are fine. Some of the numbers that have to do with being fat are fine. Some of those numbers are not.

“No wonder you have this problem, that problem,” my doctor says. She shakes her head, and her not-hair fans wide against the back of her white coat. “When you came in last week, what was that? A bladder infection? That came from eating sweets. You are a heart attack on legs.”

Two days later, my bladder infection turns out to be a burst appendix that has left its confetti all over my large intestine. I almost repeat my doctor’s words to the anesthesiologist while we wait for the operating room to be ready.

One for the road,” he says, injecting a clear liquid into my IV bag. He left a wedding to come here, I overheard him telling a nurse. He might be back before it’s over. My gurney rolls forward and I watch his hands. His bicep peeks from under his scrub sleeve, and it is amazing.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011