night before surgery

February 29

Dear Les,

It’s Leap Day, the 29th of February, a day that reminds people who stop to think about the unusual date that there are actually 365.25 days in the year. Not 365. 365, a number most folks take for granted, doesn’t cover everything. In some ways, that number is arbitrary. But no matter how we write our calendars, we still revolve around the sun. Still spin in a solar system with Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, and even Pluto.

And all of us, no matter what gender identity we were assigned or have claimed, are all breathing until we don’t.

In 10 hours I’ll settle into an impersonal chair somewhere in Providence Portland Medical Center two miles from my house while surgeons open my father’s chest and work on his heart. He has an aneurysm that by many accounts would have killed or hospitalized most people. Instead of dying back in January, my dad and his super heart just went to work on Monday. One of my dad’s surgeons told my parents that in his entire career he’d only met one other person walking around and living almost normally after an aneurysm like that. I hope my dad’s heart keeps up the good work.

I’ll wake up tomorrow and hug my dad before he and my mom head to the hospital at 5:15. I’ll go to the hospital myself when he heads in to surgery at 7:30. And I’ll wait.

Maybe sometime after he recovers a good deal, I’ll sit down and begin the gender conversation we’ve needed to have for years.  Five years ago this month I came out for the last time to my parents as queer (last time as in this is it, I’m queer and will always be queer). It’s about time to finally come out as genderqueer.

But right now, that doesn’t matter much to me. All I want is for my dad to have a successful surgery. I want to see him smile when he regains consciousness and hear a cheesy joke when he’s less groggy. I want my dad.

I’m going to bed, Les. I’m getting up early tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “night before surgery

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