A Friend Who Had a Similar Surgery

comes over unexpectedlyher arrival a herald of her heavy confidence. When a doctor made her next knee out of metal and socket, I left a bag with chocolate, a magazine, a note scrawled out hastily in her driveway with portents of get well soon, keep occupied, nurse your new joint like it were your own.

She, of all, knows how—adopted a son who was once someone else’s damaged goods. His brain tumor wrote itself across a half-slurred child face, a smallness that placed him alone and in the perpetual front row. When she says, Man, I wish I had a maid, and he hears her, he calls from his full-headed bed: Man, I wish I had a Dad!

She peers over my pink blanket and strokes my stale hair. I do not offer my scars for her perusal, because she knows the pain of not being able to have, of having and losing, and obtaining something that takes longer to make your own than your own ever would. In her softened waddle, I see a hardened warrior, a steeled surrogate, a reminder that what we call misery

might actually be easy.