The Spot

One morning I woke up and something was…different. The realization wasn’t immediate. I went through my routine like it was any other day, absent-mindedly flicking through my news feed and blinking through updated snap stories and scanning the promotional warehouse which has become my email inbox. I dragged myself out of bed and into the shower, scrubbing the sleep off of my body with a familiar lethargy. But when I stepped out and looked in the mirror, I was taken aback by this new horror that stared me in the face.

In the center of my chest, there was a massive black spot.

Panic washed over me with more power than the water from my showerhead and I tried everything I could think of to remedy the situation. I saturated it in peroxide, I slathered it in ointments, I tried to scrape it off with steel wool, but all to no avail. I cancelled my other engagements that day and rushed to the nearest clinic. The doctor examined me and told me there was nothing for it. Unsatisfied, I moved onto the next doctor. Appointment after appointment after appointment I was told by everyone that the problem I was experiencing was one without a definite cure. There were things they could try, but in the worst-case scenario their solutions could be painful, tedious, and possibly even life-altering. I told them I’d think it over. So I returned home, and I realized something in the quiet intensity of my mind agonizing over my ailment: I didn’t actually feel all that terrible.

Sure, the panic I had experienced upon the initial realization had sent my heart into a frenzy, but aside from that there were no other negative effects. I thought back to before I noticed the spot. I didn’t feel sick when I woke up, I wasn’t aching or sore in the shower, and even at that moment I didn’t feel the slightest bit of discomfort.

It seemed that despite all evidence to the contrary, I would be alright.

For the next few weeks my life was normal. The spot never went away, but my fear of it faded away until it had just become part of my life.

That is, until the spot grew.

If it hadn’t happened so suddenly, I would have probably never noticed it. But because of the spontaneity of the situation I was thrown back into a similar anxiety as I had felt upon the arrival of the spot.

So again I saturated it in peroxide and I slathered it in ointments and I desperately tried to scrape it away with steel wool. I ran from doctor to doctor to doctor in search of a cure. And again I was met with the same conclusion: there’s no definite cure.

But even for all my anxiety I still didn’t feel any different. So again, over time, I let my worry fade away.

The third time the spot grew, I was a little more prepared for it. It still shocked me, but thanks to previous experience I was better equipped to handle it. So I skipped over any attempts at self-care and went straight to the doctors instead. And even though they were prepared to call it a chronic affliction, they were still unwilling to treat me. Or maybe I was unwilling to let them. We simply agreed that this was a problem that should be solved, but not one that could be solved that day. I returned home feeling relatively unnerved but, again, not unpleasant.

The spot grew again a few weeks later, and a pang of fear shot through me like an electric shock, but I quickly quelled it. I didn’t even go to the doctors. I gave them a call to let them know what had happened and how I felt about it, but I honestly didn’t press them into fixing it. It had been so long since the spot first appeared that it had almost become part of my identity. At the very least, it had become part of my life, whether or not I wanted it. And I figured, as long as it didn’t get ridiculously out of hand, I could manage just fine.

The spot’s grown a few more times since then, but I don’t call the doctor anymore. I told some friends about it and they keep insisting I should get the treatments the doctors had offered. They’re right, I should get it fixed, but it hasn’t hurt me yet. I tell them, next time it happens, I promise I’ll do something about it.

But I never do.

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