It is a hot sticky night. There is a dove gray furry moth flitting across your ceiling and you can’t decide whether you can bear to spend the night with him. You switch off the light and decide to take your chances.
Tonight your little boy is with his Dad. His absence making you vulnerable to unbidden thought.
It started with a lipstick. A clear MotherPucker gloss designed to enhance the pout you daftly imagine men find beguiling and know women find ridiculous. You like how it feels, how it tingles and swells your lips. You apply it every morning and somehow don’t connect its lethal bee sting with a tongue so swollen it hurts to eat.
You go the pharmacist and demand something to take away the pain. Standing in the queue pulling tongues at her and reassuring her that the lump on the the left side of your tongue has been there five years. “I don’t like it” she says “I want you to go to the doctors”. She’s a fusspot. The flick of her fringe says it all.
You put the lipstick in the bin and your tongue stops hurting,but then make the mistake of googling “lumps on tongue”. Bad idea. There is only one diagnosis. All other explanations dismissed in your mind and the cutting away of your diseased tongue the only option. A world struck suddenly dumb. You make a doctors appointment.
He’s lovely your Doctor. A gentle reassuring man who doesn’t flinch when you stick out your tongue at him and show him the lump. He brings out a magnifying glass and pokes it with a stick. “Hmmm” he says as he is prone. “Hmmm”. Goodness.
You go away with a referral because the Doctor doesn’t know what it is. Would like a specialist to take a look. You go home and phone your Mum sitting on your bottom scrubbing the kitchen skirting boards hard. Today is the day you need to turn those cupboards inside out. Get a grip of this raging silent chaos.
Now it is dark and hot. The windows of your bedroom are flung wide open and the local owls are hooting their evening lullaby. A couple go by arguing over what is to this eavesdropper an argument about nothing. Everything. “I can’t live like this” she screeches. The lump on your tongue big enough now to swallow. It is five years old, came with the throbbing in your legs during pregnancy. Came to stay. Five years old. You’d be dead by now wouldn’t you?
The moth settles on your naked shoulder and you sleep.