MENISCUS AND FRAYED

Today, I have two words of the day, meniscus and frayed. One of my several ailments is a frayed meniscus, which is quite painful, but the two words, frayed and meniscus, fascinate me.  Meniscus is a cartilage-like cushion somewhere in the complex structure of the knee. A few weeks ago, when my knee gave way, I fell and made a bloody mess on my kitchen floor. My wounds are healing, and a charming physical therapist from Nigeria comes twice a week to my home and massages the torn meniscus of my right knee.  

In spite of the pain when his magic fingers press the frayed meniscus, our relationship warmed when we began discussing poetry. I feel unusually alive when Shola rubs healing ointment into my knee while we discuss the poetry of Kahil Gibran and Maya Angelou. Old age can take some surprising turns. I would have never predicted such an odd scenario as the one that now occurs twice a week in my dining room with my new poetry loving friend from Nigeria. We sit opposite each other, my ankle propped on top his lap. His fingers find the most painful spots around my knee while he tells me in his melodious voice what he knows about my favorite poets. 

In my younger life, the word meniscus meant the piled up liquid above the rim of my martini glass. My drinking friends and I thought we were so clever, so cute and sophisticated when we insisted on getting the meniscus in our stemmed fragile cocktail glasses while being poured a second or third martini. This was before I knew there was also a meniscus lurking in each of my knees, just waiting to be my downfall.

While writing this, my curiosity was piqued as to other possible uses of the word, so I googled meniscus and learned it also applies to any lens with one convex side and one concave side, such as ones used in my eyeglasses or in my camera. Now I know, my life is full of menisci. 

So, one of my menisci is frayed. It could be said I have a torn meniscus of the right knee, but frayed sounds more pathetic, pitiful, and poetic. I feel frayed around all my edges. Nothing works very well any more. I feel frayed, but unafraid, facing further fraying of my body parts.

My heartbeat is irregular, but my nerves remain steady, and I show up for life every day. I am tough, and I promise my frayed meniscus will never be mentioned again.

You may be lucky enough to meet Shola someday, and he may read for you, but only I get the massages.

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