The drive to Nordstroms to meet with the plastic part fitter, I’m a mess. Want to go alone, but find no way of doing so. Butterfly is along, chatting happily from back seat, asking me random questions. “What are we doing after we go to the mall, Mom? Are we going back home? Is Sis going to be home by then?” Our college beauty-girl is coming home for Christmas break. I meet her at the airport tonight. She hasn’t been home in months, and the house is all a buzz. The kids and I put everything together just right, but day before college beauty-girl arrives I fall apart and cry the entire day. I have put off getting a prosthetic four months now. I want more than anything to have a Merry Christmas with our kids. I’m so lousy at faking.
Grey drizzle, wipers going, butterfly and I make our way down the interstate corridor. We play Christmas Music. It’s hard singing with a throat lump. She is still chattering as we make our way out of car, Butterfly and I. We are in the store, weaving through the bustle of the season, the escalator up, up toward sparkling Christmas trees.
Another bit of a walk and we are in the lingerie department. There’s a line. I wait behind one beautiful lady after another. I think I’m the only one here today not buying lace and satin because I’m lovely enough to show off for my man. I hate the gouge in my chest, numb and not belonging. No matter how much Adored Husband tells me every day he finds me beautiful, I feel like trash. Butterfly’s warm hand swings mine.
“May I help you” says another gorgeous lady. “I have an appointment” I say. She rushes to the back room and in time Kind Eyes greet me. “Hi” She takes my hand, tells me her name. She smiles and talks to Butterfly. We walk past the panties and satin gowns, down a narrow hall of mirrored doors, walls papered in flowers, soft carpet. Christmas tunes playing as key unlocks room at end to the right. We pass through the door. In the fitting room there are the preliminaries. The measures. The questions. Cat rarely gets my tongue. I can’t find much to say. Slow at answering Kind Eyes questions.
I sit there in a fluffy overly turquoise robe and wait a while longer as she rushes away only to return with the loveliest girlie things I’ve seen in a long time. Beautiful things. Things I had thought would never be part of my life again. The prosthetic is completely hidden. I can’t stop looking. I look like me. I feel the shock. It warms me. I turn to look at her. She’s busy loosening each, one by one, from their hangers. Even the hangers are pretty. Somehow industrial undergarments are all I can imagine will hold a prosthetic. These are nothing of the kind. No-one can ever tell from sight I’m missing a breast, that I’m wearing an engineered pillow that fits in a pocket.
This lady probably doesn’t know it, but she works for God. Her calling is holy. I think of the designers of these bras. They must be God’s agents, too. The engineers who make the best prosthetic they can, thinking of everything from comfort to heat transfer – ministers, all of them.
The song playing overhead “… till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.” I leave the holy place of lingerie, Butterfly and I. We weave past the sparkling Christmas trees, down the escalator and out into the grey. “…a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, la, la, de, daah….”