where the floor is

by Marisa Siegel

I hate that I am a fainter.

When I was 4, we took the pedal boat out on the lake. My little legs dangled in between my mom and my grandma, got tangled in the foot pedal. The pedal spun around in circles on my shin. I woke up on a bed in the country house. I don’t know if this is a real memory or a story-memory.

When I was 11, I stayed up all night at a sleepover party. Late the next morning I was in the shower at my house. I woke up on my parents’ bed. My mother found me on the bathroom floor and thought I was dead. All that blood and only three stitches. I have no memory of my head hitting the shower door.

When I was 13, I went to a concert on a weeknight. The next day, in school, I stood to sing in Chorus class. I tried to sit down. I knew. I woke up in a wheelchair on my way to the nurse’s office, the school nurse pushing me. “She went down like a ton of bricks.”

Vasovagal episode. Triggered by heat, exhaustion, hunger, blood.

Today I had my first post-op PT session. I am 28. I haven’t walked in 7 weeks. My foot does not know where the floor is. They keep saying this is normal. They keeping saying the scars look beautiful.

My body overreacting. It figures.