I knew the popping sound the moment I heard and felt it and it gave me that sick feeling I aways used to get before surgery took care of it. But this was the other knee. A new era of instability was at hand and I was on the top of a mountain.
Perhaps I should have heeded the warning signs. Why did I glance at the Ski Patrol booth, eyeing that big white on red cross so warily? And the sign at the bottom of the chair lift, ominous with its two black diamonds.
The day so far had been filled with giggles and bombing down hills until I looked up and suggested we try a new run. Despite this, he feels responsible, or jinxed that his skiing companions always seem to get injured. I tell him he’s crazy. Skiing is hazardous. It pains me to see the furrows in his brow.
I am bundled up like a sausage and dragged bumpily down the entire mountain trying to remember to breathe despite the pain of each bump and the face-fulls of snow. And now I am cold and shivering. The ride I had always imagined as smooth and warm was anything but. I turned to see him following me, filming, asking me to wave and I started to giggle. A little too hysterically.
He drove us home, my legs splayed out in front of me in the back seat, knee encased in a cardboard splint stuffed with tissue and held in place with packing tape â€“ a human Fedex package. We bumped down more potted mountain.
I won’t be teaching my class this week. I won’t be talking about the vulnerability you need to overcome shame, but the irony is not lost on me. To be this vulnerable requires you to reach deep down, have courage, to trust. I watch him drive wondering what he is thinking. We are still so new to each other. Still asking questions, testing the water, timidly, yet purposefully.
He has read my book and has an advantage. But this is a different kind of vulnerability than the exposure of myself in words. I am immobile and must lean on surfaces and crutches and him for support. And he is untested and yet trusted. But it still feels risky and takes courage. And I have no choice.
That night I realize that this is a pattern. My knee injuries always occur in the presence of someone I care about, but who is new in my life. Perhaps there is some subconscious weakening or slackening that happens within me. Something lets go. And so my knee does too.
On the phone, talking with a healer that I am having to reschedule from the ER, she tells me that knees represent ego, unbending and stubborn and so I think that is what I must be letting go of.
You can have no ego when lying prone at the top of a mountain or on a couch piled with cushions. And any relationship worth pursuing requires letting go, being flexible, being vulnerable.
At least that’s what my knees tell me.