Four wide mouth Ball jars sat on my desk. I asked the doctor how do these fit into my story and she withdrew a pail of lavender bricks from the back room and said melt these down and drink the cream, the top layer that forms, before bed each night.
So I did and by the next week I had strengthened my jawbone and eliminated the paper wasps growing through my gums. The man at the newspaper stand noticed and made a generalized comment about Muslims that I debated, internally, for problematic thought. It was really that he used the word they, over and over. What a word.
Ten years later I started getting ear aches. I hadn’t had ear aches since I was a tike and I went back to my doctor. This was a time when you had the same doctor. No appointments. And you just paid them. There I go. Them.
She laid out the four wide mouth Ball jars and placed blue mono butterflies inside each and asked me to kneel, which I did, and rested her hands on my shoulders and it almost got sexual but she clapped in front of my face, scaring three of the butterflies into the air. She plucked out the fourth and let it raise and lower its wings on the ridge of my ear for an hour and the problem was gone.
Should I tell her about the newspaper man’s comment, I wondered. There on the tile floor my knees aching, this seemed important and so after enough clock-watching, tick, tick, I did.
She used the same newspaper stand and remembered August, he had long since died, and she didn’t agree with his comment but said as a physician she has tried to strike the words because and so from her bedside manner and simply list the events of the body as a series of and thens. It was here that I interrupted and though I wanted to sing a song I had heard in the car that morning I pointed to the clock. It had no face and one of the butterflies was riding around in circles on the second hand which I still believe—I told her right then—was what cured my aching ears.