Be with the person who touches your arm and says, “I didn’t notice,” when he sees you tug at your sleeve with embarrassment, covering the IV bruises that lurk under wrinkled fabric. For months I didn’t notice. How sick I was. How tired I was. How I craved the kind of relationships that exist in fleeting, intoxicating clarity, blurred by drawn-out time and undefined boundaries.
I notice too much now, maybe. I notice that different doctor’s offices include or exclude my middle initial in the address line when they send me bills. “O.” Sometimes it’s there, sometimes it isn’t.
I notice the asterisks on menus; I am one, I suppose, a living, existing exception.
I notice how happy I am now, too. My hair is growing out, finally; I didn’t notice, even as I snapped weekly selfies from my infusion-room chair. The Olympics have helped me make peace with 2016 and 23, creating a space for togetherness in a year that has broken me apart. Oh, and Leslie Jones’ kick-ass commentary.
I notice nutrition labels and, more importantly, the friends and family who read them, too, assuring me what they’ve made is safe for me to eat.
I notice the extra minutes I have to read a book in the morning since I stopped wearing makeup a couple months ago.
I notice the magic in Monday mornings, the ones that pass uneventfully, beautifully, without a weekly trip to the hematology center for an iron infusion. There’s something about the first cup of tea in another week, the way my favorite mug steams with enthusiasm, like that girl on my high school diving team who was always a little too perky at 6 a.m. practice. TBH, that girl was me, and I must say, it’s good to have her back for the rest of 2016.