My jaw hurts, but not today. That was a week ago, maybe a month. Maybe a lifetime.
‘You are stressing.’
The diagnosis from my beloved when I tell him that my jaw hurts. I don’t want to take any Tylenol because that helps his back.
He stresses, too.
I take a different anti-inflammatory, the one the doctor gave me that didn’t work for the other thing that got diagnosed as inflammation.
I self-diagnose and prescribe.
I worked in the pharmacy of a drug store, but that isn’t today. That was a century ago, maybe almost a half-century really.
It helped, that day, but then the things that make me tighten and clench my teeth show up and I remember music: I’ve been working without music.
The music in my head is there, but sometimes that’s not a thick enough balm to stop the hurt. I need tunes playing.
I explore the ‘Just for You’ selections on my streaming app and find them woefully bereft of … me.
There’s a storm outside, a deluge in the desert: the neighbor’s sprinkler head is broken.
Every night, the sprinklers come on and the storm pours down and onto their brick wall that separates our spaces, our borrowed blocks of dirt topped with residences.
The dogs don’t like it and neither do I.
But at least it doesn’t make my jaw hurt.
We watch the localized storm for a while, the dogs and I, and try to identify if its screams hide something more insidious. Like the muffled helicopter voice that shouts from the dark sky to tell all the separated blocks of dirt topped with residences that another child is missing. Or maybe it’s an old man, or a dog.
I know it’s not me because I’m standing in the dark, in the storm, praying for another day an other hour another minute. Praying for an answer.
Praying for the storm to wash my anger away.
Or at least for an answer to why I’m so angry.
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