You are always there, like laundry, like weather. As a child, I wore the weather. Even though there were parts of me designed to keep it out, the wind would slip through, the rain would seep in. I only went outside on calm, sunny days, but once we were trapped in a thunderstorm, stranded late at night at a ball field, and the rain got inside me and soaked those parts that should have stayed dry. After the surgery, mother said she was sorry. I want to believe she was sorry. After the surgery, I learned what they did, how you have to take something in order to keep something out. I learned it is not always successful. I learned that it’s just like peeling a potato, how they scrape a layer of the skin from the place it belongs, how they take a layer of skin and put it somewhere else. I have never seen the donor site, never seen the graft. Once a man discovered the donor site, though he didn’t know what it was. I said it was like peeling potatoes, not knowing how that man would come to share my kitchen, not knowing how I would come to trust him to scald the milk, how he would come to ask me to separate eggs, how I would take him in and hope to keep you out.
Elizabeth Wade holds degrees from Davidson College and the University of Alabama. She divides her time between Virginia (where she teaches at the University of Mary Washington) and New York (where she works in curriculum development). Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, AGNI, The Oxford American, and others.
W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of seven books including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage. To date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories and over four-hundred of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California. (website)