Temple Worship
jd daniels


We’ll only walk to the mailbox.

But…

Come on.  Each day we’ll go a bit further. You need to get your strength back.

Six months earlier the docs had awakened her in the hospital at 2 a.m. to tell she’d had an infarction.

Good Grief! I don’t think so, she’d said. 

Words that had a disgusting sound had always offended her.  One of the more revolting words was “thesis.”  How close it was to “feces.” The Chicago community college comp prof had used the word generously.  So generously, she’d quit the course half way through.

A TIA, the cardiologist said.   A Transient Ischemic Attack—a mild stroke.

No way. Really?

She sat and draped her ankle length white skirt around her.  The streets buzzed with peeps. Ah, Rome—the eternal city—a dream inducing world where anything was possible.

Why weren’t you on a blood thinner? the doc had asked.

I thought I was.  My internist said taking a dose of 325 mg aspirin was within .05 per cent as effective as other drugs.

The doctor scoffed.  “Your A-fib is too active.  We should perform an ablation before we release you.  The procedure only takes an hour or so.  We’ll go inside your heart’s right ventricle and burn a portion—create a wall so to speak--to keep the electrical charges from going to your left. Your heart rhythm is too erratic. He listed the possible side effects and outcomes.  The last one was death.

His look never wavered.  We’ll also start you on a proper blood thinner for someone who has A-fib.  Well?

Her mom had taught her that her body was her temple.  But her mom was no longer here to consult and she wouldn’t bother her friends with this.  What should she do?  She gazed out the window. A bluebird—mom’s favorite bird—landed on the windowsill. Its head went up and down. Sighing, she nodded at the man in white.

Four months later she underwent a nine hour ablation.  Four months later, after learning she needed a knee replacement, she had another ablation.  Instead of creating a wall, the electrophysiologist mapped out then burned offending electrical hot spots.

She’d been a factory hand all her life.  Now, until her money ran out, she was a traveler—a woman of the world.

A horse-drawn carriage stopped nearby.  The Italian driver burst out in song. She pushed herself up from the step of the Pantheon, The Temple of the Gods, raised her face toward the sky and closed her eyes.  Multitudes of pagan deities encircled her. One balanced a bluebird on his arm.

Smiling, she whispered, thank you.


First published: May 2019
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