Monday, August 8, 2016

Waiting for the toe nail to fall off

Monday, August 08, 2016

Fortunately it is the height of summer and so I don’t have to wear closed shoes all the time. Otherwise this less than Shakespearian tragedy might play out differently, and I might not get to witness its proper conclusion.
Waiting for a toe nail to fall off is a lot like waiting for a bus you know will arrive eventually, but whose schedule is so skewed you can’t completely predict just when.
This drama, however, will mark the change of life that comes with the move, and mocks some of its significance much in the way the drunken  Trinculo does in the Tempest, or the Fool in Lear, putting perspective on the whole matter, and making sure that I do not take any of it too seriously.
The toe, of course, was the victim of too tight steel toe work shoes I cleverly thought I might wear during the loading of boxes for the move, believing that I might spare myself injury if something might fall. Thus, I packed or threw out shoes that I might have worn more comfortably if at a greater risk, and so suffered through the slow rub of a slightly too long big toe nail box after box, trip after trip, in temperatures that might have rivaled one of Dante’s circles of hell.
At first the rubbing seemed tame the way the first drop of water torture might, something I could easily tolerate – and did during the short duration. But as time went on, the small torture turned into a significant pain, and I was helpless to halt it, unable to locate alternative shoes, and when finally I did, unable to put them on because of the swelling around the toe and along the side of my foot.
The last day proved the worst because I knew I was damaging myself, blood filling the entire nail, and puss surrounding it like a frame, dark red with a white border.
Eventually, I found my sandals and began the slow recovery, although even at that point I knew if I escaped serious infection, I would lose the nail. The blood oozed out a few days later leaving the whole nail pale white. The puss eased and went, and so I walked painlessly with my folly exposed at the tip of my sandal for any fool to see.
Then came the waiting, and I still wait, watching the nail loosen. I am too cowardly to yank it off, and so sometimes, contain it with a bandaid since for some reason, I pump the toe more now than I ever did in my life before the tight shoes – needing the steel protection to protect me from the damage the steel tips had done. One such bump two nights ago threatened to yank the nail completely off, but I pressed it back and bandaged it again, determined to let by body reject the unwanted appendage.
This, of course, is comic relief to the change I am making, moving a great distance not so much in miles (a mere 40 blocks) but in physic distance as I move from Jersey City to Union City in what will likely be the last significant move of my life, the steel tips of my new home designed to protect me from unforeseen elements, and to keep this fragile self from suffering damage that will come quickly, like a bolt of lightning, ending the charade that has been my existence all the years prior to this.

Even after the nail expires, and after the new nail grows in, I will look down at my big toe and realize that all of the tragic implications of this move, all of the foretelling of future events is of no consequence, as my shoulders rub unfamiliar walls, I hope will not cause any permanent damage

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