Thirty by Rachel Harrison

At the age of 24 you will take a good long look in the mirror and realize that your face is asymmetrical. You won’t know how long it has been this way. You will have a sneaking suspicion it happened sometime during puberty, meaning it has been this way for the duration of your adult life thus far, and no one had the decency to inform you. They instead allowed you to live in ignorance of your deformity. This will make you bitter—resentful of your unfortunate circumstances and of those close to you. It will also cause you to angle your face a certain way in pictures to create the illusion of symmetry. This way, your theoretical great-grandchildren will not be able to blame you for passing down bum genes.

At the age of 27 you will break up with the love of your life and take a solo trip to New Orleans. You will drink Hurricanes on Bourbon Street and wander through spooky cemeteries. You will decide to take up smoking again. After all, the only reason you quit in the first place is because he asked you to, and he’s no longer in the picture. You will tell yourself it wasn’t the easy decision but it was the right decision. This will be a cop out. Your denial will be thick—like a cow field after a rainstorm—and your feet will sink down as you try to get through it. Your remorse will prove to be even worse. Regret is what the Mob tied to the feet of the rats they tossed in the East River.

At the age of 30 you will discover a lump on your side just under your left armpit. You’ll find it while shaving before an early morning yoga class. You’ll ask a friend, “Is this normal?” and she’ll say, “Hmm, if it gets any worse you should have it checked, but I think it’s probably fine.” You’ll listen to her and shrug it off. A few months will pass and it will swell. You’ll return to the cow field of denial and stay there until the lump goes hard, a tennis ball under your skin. Only then will you see a doctor. It’ll be a good doctor, one with lots of framed diplomas and a variety of breath mints available at reception. The doctor will frown and deliver bad news. As he tells you, two thoughts will run across your mind: the first about your long lost love, the second about your asymmetrical face.

about the author:
Rachel Harrison lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. She tweets @rachfacelogic


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