THE MAIN PAIN – By Georgia Lee

Last photo with my mother – 2012

Mother was there today. I lie face down on a table, under a bright light. My back exposed and wrapped in white paper with a big hole where the needle goes.
I can’t see the doctor’s face. He can’t see mine. He’s getting the needle ready, the fluids, drugs. In the quiet, he rambles about twisting our ankles as kids, and how it swells like a grapefruit and goes down in a month. See – when we were kids everything was easy. He says this to explain inflammation, like I don’t already know. How an injury swells and pushes onto nerves and pain radiates from the spine to pain anywhere and everywhere in the body. I respond with silent tears and if I spoke I’d say just get it over with. Stop talking to me like I’m a child.
He never knows that I’m crying into my wrists folded under my head on the white table.
He never knows, how could he? That I’m five years old again, at Egleston Hospital. Encephalitis. I’m rolled face down, my naked back waiting, not knowing not knowing, not knowing, not told, that a cold needle will sink into my spine in this spinal tap. My parents aren’t allowed to be here, except in visiting hours. They aren’t allowed with me now. Nobody is.
People die alone or with a doctor and that’s worse than alone.
Bodies stack up, in vans, in morgues, in ice skating rinks. Now the needle sinks deep. The doctor says I’m doing good. He doesn’t know that the pain in my back is not the main pain. And it never was. Everything wasn’t easy when I was a kid. And I’m crying to mother, again.



About georgialeesays

Award-winning journalist, editor and writer of multiple genres. Former Bureau Chief, Womens Wear Daily and W magazine. Past director, Ivy Hall, The SCAD Atlanta writing center. Vice President, programming for Atlanta Writers Club. Freelance writer/editor of every subject in the known universe. Lover of clean, clear writing -"It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book." - Nietzsche. I teach yoga, meditation, in retreat settings. Seeker of truth and transcendence. Reincarnation of Edgar Allen Poe. "Life is but a dream within a dream within a dream" Write. Create. Learn. Dance. Yoga. Sleep. Dream.
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6 Responses to THE MAIN PAIN – By Georgia Lee

  1. Margo says:

    I love this. Memorable

    Thank you, Margo.


  2. Laura says:

    I’ve done the same thing. I’m really the child hidden away, no one knows it but be. I think we just want our mothers to hold our hands again as we cross the street.

    Laura, thank you for your comments. You’re so right!


  3. Dennis Patton says:

    Aloneness used to be a private thing that we dealt with, adapted to and maybe embraced. My mother passed when I was 18, she was 55, I wasn’t allowed to grieve because of the gulf driven between her on one side, very alone, and my Dad and two brothers on the other side who held me hostage on their sideline. That main pain for me has been under wraps forever, wish there was some way to let it loose. As always, thoughts and prayers with you Georgia and to all those in the world dealing with this virus and their own very private pains that have become very public…


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