“Do I have any pain?”
It was a rhetorical question I couldn’t ever really ask myself and it was posed to the young and beautiful, calming and stern blond German woman who had for the first time in all of our varying degrees of conversation pulled out her smartphone and began typing meticulously looking for the translation of “Schmerz“. Out of all the German words that I half understood that were being doled out by all these professionals that were drowning me with questions and information, this was the only word that she could not accurately remember.
I was lucky to be witnessing the Schmerz of others, as callous as that may sound. It was a distraction to my own Schmerz, to see the broken faces and bloody noses and lost limbs of the in and out of that white washed place, many stabs of crimson red glowing in fluorescent. Surrounded by physical Schmerz humbled me a little, but it was no just cause to differentiate between better or worse. In the end, it was all Schmerz, just the same.
But for me – this end was another beginning. Another attempt to rid myself of the constant Schmerz from that singular source of love and hate, never rectified or relenting.
I wanted to say, “Yes, I have pain, in my heart,” for that was all I could feel. Sure, later, I would realize the Schmerz in my legs, my back, my arm, my wary asshole – but for that time and being in that time, I hid the truth from all the lies that the master of my Schmerz put me through and humbly replied, “Nein.”
Throughout all the questions and questioning, it became more clear that there were no answers; five, six, and now seven attempts to cure the ill of Schmerz, that blind love Schmerz, that masochistic Schmerz, that enveloping Schmerz, that alluring and consuming Schmerz, that inflicted and convoluted Schmerz – had left me numb to any chance of recovery.
Finally, the Schmerz all around me cascaded into my existence and I pleaded, “I cannot tell the story anymore.”
The young, nonchalant, German woman had understood my request, and she made it her duty to expedite the process without much more to-do from all of the players in the game that were losing their patience from the winning hand that my king of Schmerz threw down: a full house, so to speak, a royal flushing of my motivation.
The cold room with the cold light and the cold touch of latex laden fingers and scratchy swabs and stinging syringes and abrasive tissue paper had brought the physical and emotional Schmerz to full tilt devouring mode, and when my sphincter became questioned by intrusion, again, but this time for the sake of medicine, I lost control of my Schmerz.
The tears were a welcoming warmth on my face from the cold room, and too soon did they dissipate to another source of coldness that penetrated my body, the cold air cooling off the hotness on my cheeks, as the long cotton-topped stick probed the place where the Schmerz held reproach. The gentle woman on the other end of the stick allowed me the option, “Tell me if you have any pain,” and again I wanted to tell her it was only in my heart.
The sobs came out in profusions of agony, that undeniable question of “Why me?” seething under the surface, as I swung between blame and fault, both of which I tortured myself with. These embarrassing shrieks of Schmerz filled the room in a particularly jarring way. Bouncing off of the blinding white walls was the moans of a man who claims to be so strong, losing his masculinity slowly and suddenly – the whole process was emasculating.
I wanted to run out of the door as soon as it opened, and then it was closed behind me, hitting me on the way out – but it was no worry or relief; my body, the cage, was not scathed, it was my heart that held all the Schmerz.