I was afraid, gazing into the mirror. I was staring at myself, but I saw someone else. Heaps of white gauze crossed my face, bridging over my nose, barely missing my eyes.
What would I see when I took off that mask? I’d be exposed to things that would challenge my vanity, to be sure. I knew that this mask expertly hid all of the evidence of what had just occurred—stitches, swollen eyelids and bruised skin.
Excision. The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed.
The spot of my excision once held cancer. Before that, it was a sunburn, and then, for years, a scar. I remember the day I acquired that scar. The sun gifted it to me on a hot Kansas day, as I float along the river with J. That scar endured two relationships, relationships that were excised from my life just like that cancer. My new face would carry a new scar, a new me. It would carry not a bit of the old.
Excise. Synonyms: remove, extract, cut away. Over the past few months, my life was excising bits and pieces of itself, one by one. Overwhelmingly so. Peaking with a seven-hour surgery. I felt pain; first emotional, then physical. Tears that I struggled to wipe away. But in the end, it would all heal. My skin would slowly mend, I’d plant new flowers on the other side of town. My life had turn upside down, but it had failed to beat me down.