How to Get a Biopsy
BY Zana Previti
Go into a small, poorly lit room. Take off your shirt, your bra—it's cold! And embarrassing, a little. Wish you were skinnier. Lift the skin of your stomach and hold it in your hands. Imagine yourself dead and corpse-like. Hope to be a skinny corpse, at least. Hope that people see your body and think, how tragic, what a beautiful woman. Watch as they swab a brown circle of iodine onto your skin: Watch, too, as a line of it trickles beneath the waistband of your pants. Wince at the growing stain. Endure first the standard needle, then the larger, hollow needle. Remember to inhale. Recline. Exhale. Put your clothes on, go back to an empty house and eat cereal. Honey Nut Cheerios. Four bowls of it. Turn on the home improvement channel, in which very happy men and women take splitting mauls and sledgehammers to their own homes. Turn off/unplug your telephone. Drink beer until passed out on the couch. Wait.
Google "breast cancer." Investigate homeopathic remedies. In the mornings, combine coconut oil, acai, flaxseed, blueberries, almond butter, wheatgrass, hemp milk, and a banana in a blender. Drink it. Purchase a bracelet with magnets. Purchase two, wear one on each wrist. Visit an acupuncturist. Begin a daily yoga practice. Meditate, twice a day, holding beads you buy at a store called The Chakra Shack. Shave your head. Become religious. Forsake all Gods but one.
Break the "no-pets" rule. Adopt a rescued Greyhound. Name it "David." Adopt a kitten small enough to sleep in the palms of cupped hands. Name it "Goliath." Allow Goliath to run behind and bite the heels of David; allow David to sleep in the bed; allow yourself to stare, for fifteen minutes a day, at your own naked chest and will it away and out of you.
Proclaim your innocence. Throw books against the wall of your living room. Escalate: throw canned goods against the wall of your kitchen. Escalate: throw plates, glasses, and ceramic pitchers. Escalate: throw them at your ex-husband. Escalate: throw them at your daughters. Protest your innocence. Do not speak. Do not speak a word.
Schedule it. Schedule it as you would a dentist appointment. Schedule it for early on a Saturday afternoon, when you know you will be free, when you will have dropped the girls off at their father's for the weekend. Schedule it as you would your car's required maintenance. Schedule it as you would a visit to the hair salon. As you would a meeting with your daughter's preschool teacher to explain why it is that your daughter bites other children. Why does your daughter bite other children?
Go shopping. Buy a wool sweater that hangs nearly to your knees, the kind of thing you wore when you were pregnant. Wear the sweater for at least three days in a row. Do not ask yourself why. Do not ask questions that have no answers. Do not ask questions.
Wonder, if a tumor grows in the forest and no one is there to biopsy it, does the forest fear death?
Zana Previti was born and raised in New England. Currently, she is a student at the University of California, Irvine's MFA Program in Fiction, where she is at work on her first novel. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The Coachella Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and The Los Angeles Review.