Wednesday, December 28, 2005

All hell broke loose when Meppy walked down the street with a blow up sex doll under her arm.

Uncle Joe was a man who liked his flea market. The occasional garage sale would peak his interest but it was the intensity of that wide open space, packed tightly with tables and booths filled with junk everything from imported toys from Japan, a selection of slightly dated women’s lingerie and homemade fudge in every combination of flavours one could imagine. The best tables were the ones often found in the corner of the flea market warehouse room. These tables were often covered with almost a microcosm of the flea market itself – a little bit of everything. Joe scanned the tables as he normally did to find any kind of unique trinket for himself but usually for members of his family. He loved picking up things for his brothers and sisters. His eyes came to a folded up square of flesh coloured plastic.
“What’s this?,” asked Joe.
“Oh that? Oh yeah that’s a blow-up doll. You know to play around with.” The vendor gave Joe a wink and a smile and he thought nothing of it. He thought the man behind the counter was trying to be friendly as these vendor s usually are.
“How much?” asked Joe.
“For you my friend, 20 bucks.”
“I’ll give you five?”
“Five?? Do you know how much these things cost in the store?”
“I got five dollars in my pocket and it’s for my little sister.” The man gave Joe a strange look.
“All right. If it’s for your sister, five dollars it is.” The man picked the plastic square up off the table and slipped it into a wrinked A&P bag and passed it over to Joe.

When Joe got home, he decided he wanted to blow it up for Meppy so she’s see how it was supposed to look instead of just being this piece of plastic. Meppy was a bit slow and Joe wanted to make sure she knew exactly what she was getting. He put his mouth to the plastic nub and started to exhale air into the doll. With each breath the plastic unfolded and started to get firm with air. First the two legs, then the torso, then the two arms. When the head finally was filled with air Joe noticed the open mouth on the doll, put two of his fingers in it to see if there was any air coming out and shrugged. Joe called Meppy to come over to pick up her new doll.

Meppy was so excited about her new doll she wanted to take it for a walk. After picking it up from Joe’s place, she bundled up, slipped on her coat, hat, gloves and scarf and started her walk home. However, when she got to the corner of State St. where her turn normally was to head back to her apartment, she decided to turn the other way to head down Yonge St., where her sister lived. This was a chance for Meppy to show the doll to her and also it was a nice walk. With the doll under her arm, the doll’s face and open mouth displayed to the side as she bobbed down the street, Meppy smiled. She was having a great time with her new doll.

When Rose saw Meppy coming down the street through the window, she noticed something large under her arm. She couldn’t quite make it out, so she grabbed her glasses to help her make out what it is that Meppy was carrying. She started to make out details. – a pair of legs, arms and body – but naked. As Meppy started to come up the driveway, Rose saw something she had never seen before but only heard of in movies and on television. Between the legs of the doll was a hole, where the plastic gathered and wrinkled. The face was easy to make out now. A blond woman with her eyes half closed, blue eyeshadow, a small button nose and the same kind of hole that was between her legs but formed her mouth. Red printed-on lipstick surrounded the hole. Where in God’s name did she get that, Rose thought. She threw on her coat, still in her slippers and stormed out of the house.
“Give me that!” Rose lunged and grabbed the head of the doll and started to pull it out from under Meppy’s arm.
“What are you doing? This is mine.” Meppy struggled immediately and got a stronger grip on the doll and pulled back even harder.
“You don’t know what this is. It’s dirty. It’s not what you think.”
“Uncle Joe bought this for me at the flea market. It’s a doll. It’s my new doll.”
“What are you stupid? Everyone is going to see you with this. Give it to me now.” Meppy started wailing now, no tears coming down her face but just a high pitched scream like a colicky child. The two women continued to play tug of war with the blow up doll. Meppy continued to scream and Rose continued to yell back at her. With all the commotion people walking down the street did stop for one second to watch the struggle over the blow up doll. Finally Rose managed to pry the doll out of Meppy’s hands and ran in the house leaving her outside alone in the snowy driveway. Meppy managed to compose herself and walked in the house to find Rose stabbing the doll repeatedly with a knife.
“There.” Rose turned to see Meppy standing in the doorway. The pride she felt in destroying the doll quickly faded.
“I thought it was just a nice doll…”

Friday, December 09, 2005

I found my lipoid while stretching in the mirror. I had just stepped out of the shower and was toweling myself dry. Raising my arms up to wipe down my arms and armpits, I noticed a bit of a lump on my side about half way down my trunk. I poked at it and moved it around. It felt solid and fleshy, had a bit of give to it. I was always told that if you found a lump on your body, the fact that it could be moved around under the skin was a good thing. It usually meant some kind of weird growth but not cancer. Cancer made its mark on the body and was steadfast in where it was sitting. It didn’t move around. I put it out of my mind and decided that it could be a muscle knot. I had just started working out again and thought that it was a product of that. Plus the stress from work had been pretty bad lately and I thought the combination of these two things made its way forming a tight group of muscles. The odd thing was it didn’t hurt at all. I used to get knots all the time in my neck and upper back in the early days of university and this didn’t feel like those. But I convinced myself it was a knot and left it, put it out of my mind. Weeks past and I was on the toilet at work, sitting down, performing my morning ritual and for some reason I became aware of the lump again. I felt it, poked it around (It was still moving) and felt myself starting to breathe deeper, my heart pounding. What if it was cancer? What if it was a special kind of cancer that moved around? It had been weeks since I had first felt it and what if it already spread to my lungs or heart or brain. The panic was escalating and in order to stop it I finished my business in the bathroom and went back to my desk diving back into my work trying to forget the whole thing again. Maybe if I willed it away it wouldn’t be there in another few weeks. The next time I became aware of it literally sent me over the edge. I was at a theme park with my boyfriend and some friends and while we sat in line waiting for people to finish their ride on the most popular coaster of the park (this was the first line we entered – it was still early in the morning) he held me from behind and this time he noticed. He noticed it and made it more real than it ever had been before. This wasn’t something I could pretend to will away anymore because now someone else knew about it. I started to imagine myself, bald, gaunt and white laying in a hospital bed thinking bad to that moment when my boyfriend found that lump in line at an amusement park and how incredibly happy I was and how much I was suffering now. The panic escalated again to the point where I was almost hyperventilating. I asked my boyfriend if he thought it was anything and he said: “it could be something?” Those were probably the four worst words that could’ve come out of his mouth because it made my hospital suffering fantasy that much more rooted in my head. I was sure this was the future I was headed towards. He saw that his words had made things worse and reassured me that things go wrong with one’s body when you start to get a bit older and instead of sitting and worrying I should just go see my doctor to have everything checked out. Reluctantly I agreed to make an appointment to have my lump checked out. Those few days seemed like an eternity as I played out every worse case scenario in my head every time I had a moment to myself or when I wasn’t occupied with something else in my head. This cancer future was right on the outskirts of my thinking ready to fill my head up and take over when I let my guard down. When the day came to actually going to the doctor I was sure my entire body was vibrating for that entire day. Even worse was sitting in the office pretending that everything was okay. I was only in for a check up, there’s certainly nothing wrong with me. Can you tell? Don’t I look healthy to you? I walked into his office and let the doctor poke and prod around.
“Can you feel? It moves around.”
The doctor looked perplexed and continued to poke around. He asked me if it was sore. I think it ached but I wasn’t sure if it was really aching or me just pretending it was aching because lumps that were sore usually weren’t cancer.
“Hmmm…”
I felt my stomach drop out of me and onto the office linoleum floor.
“Oh, I know what that is. It’s a lipoma.”
“What’s that? I don’t like the –oma part of that.” Cancers always seemed to end in –oma. Lymphoma, sarcoma, etc, etc.
“It’s a fatty deposit. Does anyone in your family have one?”
“Yeah my Dad had one removed from the back of his neck.”
“Yeah. That’s it”
“That’s it? Do I get it removed?”
“You can. It’s plastic surgery though.”
“Oh. Plastic surgery? Really?”
“If it gets much bigger you might want it removed but basically that’s it.”
I worried for weeks and ended up having a fat back. I couldn’t help but see the absurdity in the whole thing. In reverence of my lump, my boyfriend deemed her Fatima. Seemed just as absurd and entirely appropriate.