Strapped

She straps down my arms at my sides. My hands would hang limp if I’d let them. She straps my feet together. The whirr of the fan is intrusive. It doesn’t let me forget where I am.

There is radiation flowing through my veins. I can’t feel it, but I know it’s there. The knowing is surreal.

I try to stay still, but suddenly it’s an impossible task.

There is coffee flowing through me too. I had too much before coming here. There was a chill in the air and nothing better to do. As I vibrate and quiver on the table, I wonder if that was a mistake; or if it even made a difference.

I close my eyes and the machine lowers to my face. It’s not touching me, but I can feel it just the same. It smells of plastic and sterility. I breathe deep, even though I think I was instructed to keep my breath shallow. I’m going for slow and steady, but it’s just deep and panicked.

I’m in the mouth of the robot now. It’s consuming me. Peering into my core.

Every muscle tightens. Every nerve twitches. I hear voices in the next room and part of me wants to call out for help. But it wouldn’t do me any good.

I picture my bones glowing now and amuse myself with the thought that this could be my superhero origin story. It’s not likely, but I decide to hold onto every moment of it – just in case.

When it’s all over, my knees are weak and I’m a little dazed. She directs me to the exit and I head out into the cold rain. Now all there is to do is wait for the results. Wait. And wait. And wait. Being a patient is as passive a thing as patience.

© Shyla Fairfax-Owen

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