After Life

Book Two: Purgatory

From Journeys and Transitions

by Melanie

Chapter 86

Overacting

November 16, 2005

2:30 in the afternoon

Teresa and I are just completing lunch.  Immediately after our mid-day repast, we are planning a road trip straightaway.  Yesterday was her first long walk, and today will be her first long car trip, down highway forty-nine through the heart of Gold Country.

For the occasion, Teresa has put on her make-up for the first time since surgery.  Although her jaw is still swollen, looking like a lymph node problem, she looks good made up.  I can see the beginnings of how pretty she will be when all done up after healing is complete.

Just before lunch, I made another trip to the Safeway (the big thing to do around our town).  On the way there, I had even more extended moments of the ďacid flash-forwardĒ of what life will be after my lip heals.

It felt like waiting for Christmas morning as a child.  There was an almost giddy sensation in my stomach, the equivalent of butterflies if you are nervous, but when you are not nervous it feels like this instead.

There isnít a downside in my mind.  As a child, you think of the presents you might get, the sweets to eat, the warm atmosphere of family, friends, and the tempting smells of the holiday feast cooking in the kitchen.  This mood is wholly un-diminished by even the slightest negative emotion.

And that was the same sensation in my heart as I drove the windy road to town.  It lasted much longer this time, and I found myself bouncing up and down in the driverís seat from the sheer excitement of it.

Once I entered the store, of course, I was again self-conscious and setting aside some of my mental consideration at all times to track any unusual reactions I might be getting.  I will be so glad when that is gone.

When I went up to the clerk, I subconsciously did what I always to: curl up my lip so that it shortens it and protrudes in a more feminine manner Ė or so I thought.  Since I didnít get enough sleep last night and had noted in the mirror that even fully made-up I wasnít looking that good to myself, I guess I overcompensated with the lip.

The clerk looked at me quite oddly.  When I returned to the car, I recreated the same feeling of how I had been forming my mouth and then looked in the mirror.  I looked like a horse snorting through its lips.  I had pulled my upper lip so high it exposed not only my teeth but my upper gum as well!  It looked like I was a sneering, deformed chipmunk.

Well, this has got to stop.  Iíll bet I get less of a weird look if I do nothing at all, though I know I look far to masculine to me when I donít, especially when tired.

Still, the positive feeling of my life just three weeks from now has overtaken me yet again, and I find myself slipping into giddy anticipation even as I write.

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