Growing Pains

by The Juicer

It’s not a jabbing pain, audacious and precise. Instead, it stays under the covers, just about understated like a dark horse readying to take over, patient and relentless. I wake up to it every morning. I search for its presence, until it is found. Find it I will, even though sometimes, it hides in yet undiscovered crevices and folds1. This ritual has become an appropriation of sorts: Here it goes, another day like yesterday, I say.

I have wished I was a hypochondriac2. A certified kind would be best. It would make it easier for me and those around, to accept the unexplained. A reason to rejoice, perhaps, in the frailty of mind over matter; a promising springboard for many a witty banter. Among the many suggestions offered by the concerned, I did not accept even one3. In situations such as these, one begins to value those who would be called, I guess, indifferent. Giving me and my pain space to grow – indifference was welcome, give me an arm’s length or more.

“No, there is no illness ailing you,” my discouraging physician finally declared.

All in all, this diagnosis achieved nothing except quelling any hope I had for catharsis4. Admit it, that’s not what you want to hear when you spend dollars and time, looking for a pill to cure an aching head or behind. I refused to see psychiatrists. What do they know about me that I don’t? What I used in defense was less affected, “What could she possibly cure if there is no illness?” Then, after a well-timed pause, adding, “Need I remind you, no illness or ailment, the venerable doctor has said!” Continuing, “In its place, filling up the hole, is just a dull, heavy-lidded mystery, unwelcome and hung-over from the night before. I find her hanging back at my morning doorstep, without fail. I have wished it would go away, leave me alone. I do wish it would not insist.” Thus, the intervention was successfully sabotaged, by the finality of a well-rhymed monologue5.

Oh, the pain. Insist it did, and it has stayed. Our relationship lingers expectantly at the edge of the next bigger circle of entanglement, those concentric hoops of relationships. We are almost amicable with each other now; whether symbiotic or parasitic, is yet to be seen. It has changed me, too. For instance, I only sparingly use the word pain in my conversations; in fact, the word is now completely erased from my lingo, along with certain other phrases it is associated with. Like “It pains me to see/ think that…” and the ubiquitous, “What a pain!” or straight up, “That was painful!” This phenomenon has shrunk my vocabulary by far but I do not despair. Having experienced pain to a degree neither I nor my physician can aptly define, I am unable to belittle its gravity by injecting it in everyday6 conversation – the kind that has nothing to do with real pain itself. You know. Respect is integral to any relationship and I’m sticking to my end of the bargain.

E.7 thinks I am losing my mind, that it is slowly evaporating via my back. “A tragedy it is, that it was misplaced from the start,” he8 teases, “Oh, but a pity it is, that you are losing it!”

I don’t blame him. I have acted, what is the word, unconventionally9. I personified my pain as if it was a living entity, was soon mocking it with a vengeance of one wronged and now I talk about it resignedly, as one would about a well-chosen life-partner. One10 who would not fade away too soon for me to call all of this a happily-forever-after (or whatever it is called, really, spare me the details).

E., we suspect, is a bit jealous of my new-found preoccupation. That aside, the part about my brains evaporating through my back is imprecise, even if there was some merit to the analogy of it being misplaced. It is not only my back that hurts. I have recently felt pain stretch its lithe limbs (like a coquettish actress in a romantic film, as you can imagine, also, add smoke rings), claw at my limbs and pop through my head11. It is everywhere12.

1 What was it that you said? Phraseology on body issues deserves another post? You said it.
2 Which means I’m not, dodo.
3 Suspicions about ‘-tion’ suffix abound. Here, it is the prefix we are concerned about.
4 I learned to understand its meaning back in high school (esp. the condition of not being blessed with it), while attempting to understand Macbeth. I’ve been overusing the word ever since.
5 That which writers often wish, was more interesting than dialogue. Easier said and easier done.
6 In another edit, legitimately substitutable with banal.
7 E. has a mind of his own, much to my chagrin.
8 Or a she. E. is omnipresent and absent, irrelevant, like God.
9 E. persists the correct word is dementedly, but it does not a good sentence make.
10 Generalizations undermine the meaning an author is trying to convey (and relevance).
11 Try picturing it. Try the *pop* sound? No? Try harder.
12 No other word combines an exaggeration and a generalization as perfectly.