SIGHING SIGHS

Story challenge by my friends at NopeNotPam  – Letter of the day: S

SALVATION!! Can you say it along with me, brothers and sisters?

SALVATION AND SATISFACTION!!

Since venturing out on our long-anticipated vacation, I have discovered so much more than the sultry sun, the salty sea, the scrumptious seafood and the sinfully sleek and sensual satin sheets.

I have found salvation from stress, suffering, stiffness, strain, stenosis, sciatica and sleeplessness. And contrary to what our dear Sir Mick sings while strutting sexily on stage in all his sartorial splendor, “I CAN GET SOME SATISFACTION!”

“How?” you inquire suspiciously? Well, at the risk of sounding like a super-store salesperson, it’s all due to the soothing stress-relieving qualities of the Sidney Slider Power Recliner. 

Seriously. I shit you not.

Since we arrived at our secluded, solitary and secret get-away location, I made a startling discovery: I am living a pain-free life for the first time in several years! Yes, I’m de-stressed simply being on sabbatical but I know without a scintilla of doubt my pains have subsided significantly because of this sensational sprawling supersonic seat at our seaside suite. Keep your sardonic comments to yourself; as a self-proclaimed scholar of recliners and a reclining specialist, I know what I’m talking about and speak nothing but the truth, so help me Stickley Furniture World.

How can something so simple as this recliner make me feel like a new woman, a renewed and improved supple design of the feminine species? I have no idea! Someone seriously smarter than me designed a lounger with superb supine capabilities. All I know is something shocking happened, something so spectacular that I am singing its praises while simultaneously shedding tears of shear joy. I am in seventh heaven – so much so that I have placed an order for my very own Sidney Slider Power Recliner (since I cannot bring this one back with me). Sadly, it’s not in stock at the moment BUT in less than two very short weeks it will be on its way to my home. Stupendous!

This is no small thing and I mean that literally. Sidney (we’re already on a first name basis) is a big boy, significantly larger than what I’m accustomed to.  I shall have to find a way to make him fit but make no mistake – this scintillatingly smooth suede stunner will fit! The only question I struggled with was which color I should select – the sensual sable or the shimmering sand?

I’ll have to wait just a scant few days after my return but it will all be worth it. If you could only see the sheepish smile of satisfaction on my face.

Ah, Sidney! How sweet it is” she sighed.

NAR © 2022

 

THE BIG SQUEEZE

Remove everything from the waist up and put on a robe, opening in the front. Place your belongings in a locker and make sure to take the key with you.” 

Securing my robe, I walked out into the pleasantly decorated waiting room. There were comfortable chairs, tables with magazines, and a coffee maker with a variety of coffee, tea and a tin of cookies. Four other women were waiting their turn, flipping through magazines or simply resting, arms folded protectively across their breasts. One woman wore a distraught look meaning “Please, not again!”

I made myself a cup of decaf, choosing a delicate butter cookie as well. I sat and reflected on the number of times I’ve waited in this room. Once a year for the past 17 years I’ve made this dreaded trek, making promises and testaments with God which always proved to be unnecessary .. so far. 

After about ten minutes, a perky brunette in cornflower blue scrubs and matching Crocs came in the room and called out “Mrs. Thompson?” I rose and the brunette continued, “Hi. I’m Kelly, your radiology technician. I’ll be doing your mammogram today. Just follow me and we’ll be done in no time.”  

We entered the brightly-lit exam room, coming face to face with Darth Vader .. my nickname for the massive mammogram machine .. a sleek black, chrome and glass monolith standing like a sentinel in the middle of the room. Now here’s where two women who are complete strangers instantly become bosom buddies, so to speak. 

Kelly instructs me to slip my right arm out of my robe and reach up to grab the handle on Darth Vader’s side. “Now step in as close as you can,” Kelly says while lifting my right boob onto the flat glass plate emerging from Darth’s chest. Pulling and kneading my breast into the perfect position, she then pushes a button which slowly lowers another flat glass plate on top of my breast. I watch in morbid fascination as my once round and ample breast slowly flattens, spreading out and taking on the appearance of a water balloon about to burst. Satisfied with the positioning, Kelly ducks into a tiny glass booth on the other side of the room. 

“Take a deep breath, Mrs. Thompson. Hold it, keep holding .. now breath.” Kelly emerges from her protective booth and we repeat the process on the left side. 

“Ok, we’re all done. Have a seat in the waiting room while the doctor looks over the images.” 

Finally Kelly returns and says the doctor will see me now. More girl-on-girl time as the doctor manually examines my breasts with impossibly cold hands. 

“Everything looks perfect, Mrs. Thompson. Keep doing your self-exams.” I thank her, refraining from saying my husband enjoys examining me regularly. 

Dressing, I frown at the red bruises on my chest, then quickly smile knowing the girls still reign supreme.

I pass the front desk with a cheerful “Ta-ta, ladies. See you next year!”  

NAR © 2018

MINDGAMES

Melt away the fears and anxieties in your mind. Feel them liquify and allow them to slowly trickle down your face. Relax as tiny rivulets flow down your neck, shoulders, back, thighs, legs and finally your feet where they silently fall away into the ‘Well of Anxiety and Panic’. Keeping your eyes closed, cover the well, lock it in place trapping your anxieties inside. Inhale. Exhale. Open your eyes and allow the calmness and peace to envelop you.”  

After six long months of listening to my therapist repeat the same litany in her soft, sing-song voice, one would think I was well on my way to living a life free of worry, what-if scenarios, anxiety, panic attacks and Xanax. 

Oh, I have my times of quiet lucidity … weeks of stress-free bliss when I can enjoy a lovely dinner with my husband or a carefree shopping trip in Manhattan. Nights when I fall asleep quickly and easily and wake up refreshed and at peace.  

Then just as I’m getting used to this ineffable comfort zone … WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM!! … the panic machine is back with a vengeance, coming out of nowhere with all the subtlety of an 18 wheeler, taking over my life for days upon weeks upon months only to suddenly, spontaneously run out of gas and coast away down the road leaving me in a safe haven until it reaches a rest stop where it can take a break and refill its gas tank for the next assault. 

It’s a cesspool of WHAT THE FUCKEDNESS, the grasping, squeezing dragging down quicksand of FUCKEDUPEDNESS! 

Some Einstein once said “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant.” 

Note to self: read it daily: 

MIND. Noun: a beautiful servant; a dangerous master

NAR © 2017

SUPPER’S READY

Hard boiled egg whites, cottage cheese, skim milk. Day 1. Brian sighed.

Boiled rice, a mozzarella slice, lactose-free milk. Day 2. Brian cried.

Yogurt, tofu, almond milk. Day 3. Brian died … just a little. 

After receiving the diagnosis “ULCER”, Brian’s wife Ali had been lovingly, carefully packing his lunch. “This must be her White Period”, he thought, wistfully. 

Coworkers averted their eyes as they passed Brian’s cubicle on their way to lunch. Gone were the cheerful calls “C’mon, Brian! We’re going to Smokin’ Joe’s Hot Wings for lunch!” or “Salsa and nachos in the break room, guys!” Oh, the humanity! 

Brian’s computer *pinged*. An email from Ali: “Hi, hon. Hope you’re having a great day. Did you find the Maalox I put in your backpack? We’re having something special for dinner tonight … poached chicken, brown rice and garbanzo beans … hope you’re hungry! Love ya, babe! xo”  

“Ah, Ali’s Beige Period.” Brian stared blankly at the computer screen. “I wonder how many beige foods there are … oatmeal, boiled potatoes, matzoh….” 

Brian put his head in his hands, a solitary tear falling through his fingers onto his khakis. Slowly the wet spot morphed into the shape of a slice of pizza. “What the … ?!” Incredulous, Brian blinked and wiped his eyes. “What’s happening to me?!” Images of devilish cramp-inducing, bowel-seizing delicacies danced ‘round his head … jalapeño poppers, tacos, barbecued ribs.

“The dreaded hunger hallucinations!” Sweating, Brian texted Ali. “Babe. Last minute meeting. Sorry, I’m gonna miss dinner. Love ya!”  

Brian lied. 

Grabbing the bottle of Maalox and a Little Caesars menu from his desk drawer, Brian bolted from his cubicle, giddy as a new dad at the birth of his son. 

“Outta my way, boys, outta my way!!”

And out he ran, laughing and joyfully shouting, “Jalapeño-effing-poppers, baby!!” 

NAR © 2017