One day I noticed I could see it.
Actually see it.
It had been there for years, I don't remember it showing up - although it must have. Just below my right eye a kind-of mole formed. I have 'Neilsen' eyes from my mother's side of my family, they seem to be perpetually smudged with dark and the bags under them are packed to overflowing. You could always tell how well my Auntie Gladys had slept just by looking at the state of her eyes. Me too.
Not a vain person, about looks anyways, I didn't really care about having dark circles under my eyes nor about the mole that showed up one day and then decided to stay. I didn't think about it or make any kind of fuss about it.
One day I could see it. It was now in my field of vision. Over the years, then, it must have been slowly growing. Now it bothered me. I began touching it all the time, smoothing it down so that it was no longer in sight, checking daily to see if it was getting bigger and bigger. Now it bothered me. Just a little. And I discovered a wee bit of vanity that I really didn't think was there. I began to wonder if people noticed it, thought about it. Without becoming an obsession, it annoyed me.
Then a few weeks ago when I was at the doctor's office getting a check up and prescriptions filled, I looked at the doctor and saw it. So I brought it up. "How would I get rid of this if I wanted to," I asked him.
My doctor is a very handsome man but who lacks any real personality and who never, ever chats, quickly got up from his chair and came over and took a look. "I'll hit it with liquid nitrogen and it will probably fall off," he said and disappeared from the room. He came back with a pair of tweezers and a spray can with a long nozzle. He took hold of the mole, pulled it long, and sprayed at the base of it.
"So this is cosmetic surgery," I thought as I joined ranks with Paris Hilton and Michael Jackson.
Over the next several days, the mole began to grow hard, and black. It was odd to the touch. Then, on the road from Kansas City to Saint Louis, it fell off. Just like the doctor had said. All that was left was a small red dot, barely visible, where the mole had been attached to my face. I kept looking at my face and the diffence was enormous. Incredible.
I never said anything.
Surely Joe would notice. He's looked at my face for almost 40 years.
Not a word. When I pointed it out, he made the appropriate noises. Harumph.
So when I went into work at Vita, I waited. Called Lina, she of shiny shoe and determined step, into my office. She didn't notice. Nor did Manuela, nor Jon, nor Ann, nor Grace, nor Amanda ... no one. Not a person. Here I had this huge hunk of skin that dangled from my face removed and not one person noticed.
A few days later though I woke not feeling quite right. Not feeling myself. But the day had to be done, tasks had to be accomplished. Throughout the day, starting with Joe in the morning, people asked how I was, if I was ok. They all noticed.
They noticed me.
Not the mole.
I think, in an odd way, that both cool and comforting.