Wendy Staley Colbert’s 26-Minute Memoir

Look at me.  Five foot nine-and-a-half inches.  Blonde.  Blue-eyed.  College graduate.  Lived in or near Seattle since age five.  Forty-five years old.  Homeowner.  Wife.  Mother.  Former Microsoft employee.

Listen to me.  My losses have come in twos.  Two babies.  Both my breasts.  Lost my brother twice – when he became mentally ill in 1983 and when he died of a prescription drug overdose in 2007.

Hear me.  I’ve known pain.  Beneath this smile are scars – some etched on my skin, most inscribed in my memory.  Yet I love life.  I keep on.  Little things can still surprise me – a seed, a mite, a heartbeat, a teardrop.  I take utmost care with myself, gentle beyond measure.  I fold deep within, searching for the cavernous reservoir.  Swimming back to my core, I draw one arm through the water, then the other.  It’s quiet there and still.  I float awhile, buoyed up, suspended.  The water laps at my skin, soothing and cooling it with milky kisses.  Will I ever yearn again for the dryness of human touch?  A single peck can crack me open.  So wanting to be born am I.

Can you see me now?

You can read Colbert's essay "Choosing Masectomy" in We Came to Say.

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