I’m sure you’re aware of what prompted me to finally write to you. In case you’re suffering from short term memory loss, I’ll remind you of the fact of how I ignored the fact that your calf muscle was swollen for a good month and our wife’s nags about going to the doctor’s office fell on deaf ears before I finally gave in and went to see what was wrong.
Remember the shock I felt when I was told to go straight to the emergency room of our local hospital? Or how about how stunned I was to be told they’d found a blood clot in our leg? You know, it’s pretty amazing how an ugly, little glob of coagulated blood can alter one’s thought process to make one travel down routes one had never trekked before.
And that’s exactly where I found myself today. Remember today? Today we found ourselves lying on our belly on some cot while an ultra-sound technician rubbed that gooey substance on the back of our leg to check out how our unwanted visitor is doing. While the technician snapped pics of your (my) veins, I heard Deborah Harry’s voice crackle through the office speakers, crooning about her heart of glass.
Now, I know you remember this, as you were a little embarrassed to be wearing that undignified hospital gown that exposed your (my?) butt to the wind. To escape this uncomfortable feeling, our mind wandered and expanded on Debbie’s lyric about her fragile heart. It was this mental meandering that led me to compose this long overdue letter to you.
I need to be totally honest here, though, and admit to you that I almost never put the pen to paper. See, if truth be known, I always held a little bit of a grudge against you because of what I believed to be your vindictive nature. I mean, come on, remember how long it’s been with that crick in my (your?) neck thing? That was almost twenty years ago, now, that I took you out bumper skiing on that first snowfall of ’89 and accidentally ran you into the back of that parked Toyota. I personally feel that 20 years is ample time to forgive and forget that unfortunate episode, don’t you?
To be even more truthful, at first I kind of blamed you for our new friend, the blood clot. When they were shooting your (my?) belly with Heparin to thin our blood, I almost felt the bowl sized bruises served you right. I mean, who the heck were you to invite a blood clot into our home? Today, though, I realized that maybe it isn’t all your fault. Maybe I should be a little more understanding as to what I’ve put you through the last 38 ½ years. The question is, is where do I start?
I know, maybe the best place to start is at the beginning. So, dear Body of Mine, let me apologize for that time as an infant where I busted your forehead open so bad it took 30 stitches to close. I’m also sorry for tripping and dropping you into a batch of stinging nettles with only a pair of shorts for protection, for stepping on that rusty nail, and for not running fast enough to get away from our neighbor’s Airedale that took a chunk out of our arm.
I’m sorry for being so lazy that I nourished you with Big Macs and slurpees way too often, when all’s you needed was your fruits and veggies instead. But no, I’m not going to apologize for breaking your thumb or bruising your sternum in my bantam year of hockey. That seems like a small price to pay for being able to play the greatest game on earth. I do feel shame, though, dear Body of Mine, as in my younger days, I apparently didn’t know how to adequately entertain myself, so instead I just blasted you with too much alcohol and other legal and maybe not-so-legal things.
I’m truly sorry for not paying any attention to the pings and pangs and bings and bangs you sent me as warning signals. Believe me, nobody feels any more stupid for those skipped dental appointments or delayed doctor’s visits as I do now. Most of all, dear Body of Mine, I apologize from the bottom of my (your?) heart for taking you for granted almost 39 years and not showing you a single ounce of gratitude. I realize now that you are the vessel that holds my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my future.
In short, without you, I am nothing. I promise you, dear Body of Mine, that the days of me taking you for granted are over. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be perfect (you are fully aware of the irresistible hold that hot, buttered popcorn and the odd cold beer at a summer BBQ has over us) but I can take an oath and solemnly swear that I will take better care of you in our future days.
I hope this letter reaches you in time, dear Body of Mine, because I’d be even more sorry if it doesn’t.
Jeff Virtanen is a freelance writer of many different subjects, all with a light-hearted approach to make people laugh and hopefully think as well.