“Alterations & Repairs” by Julia on her couch

Thursday, August 16, 2012
5 minutes
the Elite Cleaners sandwich board

I asked Pauly if he was still feeling like his arm wasn’t attached to his body and he said, today is better than yesterday. Yesterday when I asked Pauly how he was he said, good but there’s just this one thing with my arm. It feels like it’s not mine, but someone else’s. It feels like it’s not even real.
I squeezed it hard and I asked, do you feel this? And he said, sure, I feel it. And I said, great, everything’s okay then. But he wasn’t convinced. Fully functioning arms don’t necessarily feel good if they aren’t your own. I told him to make a fist and he said, that’s not what I mean. I said, maybe we should get some of your shirts altered to give you more room for your phantom arm. He said, Nora, that’s not as funny as you think it is and I told him I was sorry and that I wasn’t meaning to laugh at his expense. So I’m hoping the next time I ask Pauly how he’s feeling he just says, today is perfect, or, it comes and goes; today it’s gone. I wonder if it’s related to his diet or maybe the way he sleeps. Tonight in bed I plan to stay up all night and monitor him; see if he’s laying on it for a few hours to make it feel numb.