I’ve come to think of pain as a snake.
My shoulder is still sore, still spasming, still convulsing under my skin. It beats as if a heart rests there, as if it is something alive. Which, in a way, it is.
The pain begins to slither down my arm, wrapping itself around my shoulder, my upper arm, my elbow, my forearm. I can feel it squeezing, pinching, trying to cut off the circulation of blood.
Counting no longer seems to work when trying to breathe past the pain. So instead, I imagine I am somewhere else, somewhere where the pain cannot get me:
…..I am in a forest. The trees around me are dense and dark but sunlight shines through in patches. The light makes the grass seem like jewels in the shadow and I tred carefully so as not to trip or fall on rocks that may be in my path.
I hear a rustle in the bushes and stop. I hear nothing now but the sound of my breathing and water in the distance. I look down at my normal legs, long and relaxed, no elephant legs here, no sir.
I take another step forward and hear the rustle of leaves again. I stop and watch as a snake slithers across my path. I wonder if it is bad luck to cross a path after a snake has crossed; if they share the same urban legend that black cats do.
Deciding to forge ahead I take a step forward just as the snake lunges for me, sinking it’s teeth into my…….
The pain has woven itself to other parts of my body and I can feel my feet spasming inside my shoes, the muscles jerking in time to my heartbeat.
I sigh and wonder how much pain the walk home will cause me.