I recently signed on to Good Reads, a website for reader and writers where I ran across the work of Charles Martin. Charles Martin’s writing wasn’t new to me because I love bookstores and well…I own a library. Even though I’ve never read any of his books his work stood out to me because I love his titles, Chasing Fireflies, Wrapped in Rain & When Crickets Cry.
After logging on to Martin’s website I read the “Dear Reader” letter he wrote about his book Where the River Ends, then stared up at my bedroom ceiling and stubbornly refused to let a tear escape. There are a million stories behind the cord he struck, one involving the re sectioning of my right lung and my surgeon’s wanting to open my chest wall just below my collar bone. There was a moment in the hospital when I considered the relevance of my perfect size 2 frame and the fear I felt in suddenly realizing what men might value the most about me.
Ultimately, my surgeons went in under my arm so the scar would be confined to my bikini line but the man I held in such regard at the time never did come to see me during my hospitalization, or during the year I spent recovering, bringing the nature of our relationship into razor sharp focus. After that I questioned my own motives and priorities in influencing where the scar would be left and whether or not my closet of cocktail dresses was worth risking my life for, especially since I was read me my last rights before they operated. I was 38.
I decided reading Charles Martin’s book was a must, not just because of the content but because the content came from a guy. The story that inspired Where the River Ends is as heartbreaking as Martin penning the story in reverse, is moving.
Last week I celebrated my 47th birthday and in the near decade that has elapsed since my lung surgery I have never admitted, even to myself, how deeply wounded I felt. I did as I always do, I took it on the chin and I moved on. In retrospect it is apparent that the wound that traversed my ribcage healed faster than the one that was never visible to anyone.