resect (/rəˈsekt/, v.)
to excise a segment of a part
from Latin resectus, “to cut off, cut loose, curtail;” from re- + secare “to cut”
I meet her the morning after her tumor is resected and she receives us lying in bed, thin, bony-shouldered but bright, and says when they told me I had a brain tumor I lay awake all night and walked outside into the morning where it was cool and I swear I could taste little changes in the humidity.
I imagine the taste of humidity must be metallic like the rise at the back of your throat when you’re going to be sick, but she didn’t look that way, energized, sitting up, reading a book the morning after brain surgery. Maybe it tastes sweet like dew. Maybe it has the tang of the ocean, maybe from the salt of tears when you’re so submerged in it that you can’t tell when you end the rest of the world begins. Maybe it tastes like the darkness feels when you have a thing in your head and nothing makes sense anymore, or how the sunrise smells when you know you’ll have another day.
A few days later she is discharged home and I am still trying to conjure the flavor of the morning when my friend calls and says, yesterday was so weird, I tripped acid and I swear I was one with the universe. I wondered if that acridity of oblivion on the tongue was what I had been tasting for and if all of this is just how we’re wired, only we’re not built to realize it. What if our sensorium is the black magic marker that drops of water can wick hidden yellow and green and purple from? To live each moment in so much color would be exhausting, everything flashing and shining and smelling and sounding kaleidoscopic like being pressed flat against the pads of those spinning carnival rides. But when the ground and sky are already tumbling past us at nauseating speeds, maybe that filter is cut loose and there’s solace in living each misplaced sensation. Until your jelly legs can step back on solid ground, it’s proof that you’re still here.