For the second time in as many weeks, I lay back on the hard, white surface, staring up at the riot of blooms painted on the ceiling, meant I suppose, to distract or cheer up. I shivered, feeling only cold.
The technician covered me with a thin blanket- more white- and placed headphones over my ears and something in my hand that she told me to squeeze should I need anything at all.
Yes, now that you mention it- a working leg please. Answers. A plan.
Keeping those thoughts to myself, I nodded and smiled as she adjusted the straps that were holding a cage-like contraption over my legs and belly.
I began to glide slowly into the hollow part of the machine as the woman whose name I hadn’t caught because I was too distracted, disappeared into her booth.
The familiar clicking, knocking, and beeping began, so loud I could feel the vibrations in my jaw. The country music began too, doing its best to fill my ears with sound rather than noise.
I closed my eyes to concentrate on my breath and still my mind, the way one does in a yoga class. And it was hard, just as it is in a yoga class. The what ifs and the what’s next and the why me thoughts ricocheted inside my brain as the knocks and beeps and clicks and whirs continued all around me.
Straining to hear the lyrics above the racket, my thoughts wandered to country music… how the songs almost all tell stories, how the stories almost always are sad, how the lyrics are precise and the words cleverly arranged, how the writer in me appreciates and could learn from the craft in the words. How I wished I had my notebook and a pencil so I could jot down my wonders and questions and observations while listening. Country music lyrics as mentor texts. To pass the time, I pondered the possibilities.
And then the machine stilled. The music stopped. I felt myself sliding back out to open space, face to face once again with the floral scene overhead. “All finished,” the technician told me as she helped me off the table.
Not really, I thought. But I kept that thought to myself and once again just nodded and smiled.
I’m just beginning. Just beginning to wonder what a study of song lyrics might do for narrative writers. How could we weave country music into small moment writing? What might that do for reluctant middle-school writers? I tucked my wonders and ideas in the back of my brain as I replaced the hospital gown with my street clothes and walked down the long, quiet corridor towards the exit. My friend who’d come with me asked a question or two about the procedure and remarked that the machine was loud enough to hear outside the exam room. Yes, I almost said, and there was some pretty good noise inside my head too. Instead, I nodded and smiled and kept that thought to myself.