You must be a masochist. The pain is immense. With each stroke of the pedals the hot, searing pain shoots through you. You’re doing this to yourself. This is your fault. If you stopped riding it would go away. You could be free of this pain but you won’t listen to reason. This pain is your burden and you enjoy carrying it.
A long weekend brings theoretical respite. You won’t ride. The pain will fade. You’ll have sex again. You’ll save your marriage. But the pain doesn’t fade. You’ve ridden too much. You’ve caused this. You’ve broken yourself with your bicycle. He should leave. He should go find a woman who doesn’t choose bicycling over her husband.
A q-tip. That’s how they diagnose you. They brush a q-tip against your vulva and watch as you writhe in pain. Your body still twisted and contorted they promise they won’t do it again. They look at you with pity in their eyes you monster. You have a disease they say. You need surgery they say.
You let them mutilate you. They cut away your vulva and sew in tissue from your vagina and perineum. You’re frankenstein. You lay in bed, unable to sit up, unable to move. Ice packs press directly into your vulva. They sear your flesh until the pain is so great you have to remove them. But no respite for you, you monster. You must keep ice applied constantly. It is your punishment.
The pressure from sitting is so immense it’s overwhelming. It’s all consuming. You beg and you beg to please lay back down. You hate the baths that make you itchy. Your time is up. You’re released. You crawl back into bed and press ice into your vulva. Your every nerve is on fire, you bite your lips and press your nails into your skin. You wish you could scratch it off. You scream and you scream and you scream.
Nighttime is the worst. There is no sleep for you, you monstrous beast. The pain seems to double. To triple. To increase exponentially as soon as the sun sets. You regret everything. You should never have let them cut you. They were wrong. You are broken. Nothing can heal you. They shouldn’t have tried.
And then you are alone. No one is here to help you. He left. You are on your own.
You climb gingerly out of bed, sweat coating your body, hair matted and greasy. Half naked you take the eight steps to the couch. You haven’t seen the living room in days. You clutch your cup and your melted ice pack. You resist the urge to vomit. You sink into the couch to catch your breath. Simply walking is the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You rest here for an hour, maybe more.
Time has become meaningless. Every second is pain. But the pain of your stomach wins out over the pain of your vulva. You slowly rise and shuffle to the kitchen. You fetch a new ice pack from the freezer. You fill your cup. You eat a banana.
You hold onto the wall as you pull yourself toward the bathroom. You turn on the water and step into the shower. It takes an eternity to lift your leg over the edge of the tub. You wash away the sweat. And the tears. And the blood. And the pus. You stand there until the hot water runs out.
You’re going to wear pants again. You’re going to have sex again. You’re going to ride your bike again. Not today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. But you’re going to do it. You’re not frankenstein anymore. You’re human again.