“Proper acute burn care minimizes the need for burn reconstruction. Even in optimal circumstances, however, a predictable set of reconstructive operations commonly is required during the first postinjury years. A reconstructive plan is made best collaboratively with the patient and family, the patient’s burn therapist, and the surgeon. One should not rush these procedures; however, waiting until all scars have matured completely for over 2 years prior to embarking on any reconstructive operations may prolong recovery unnecessarily.
The physical and emotional trauma of surgery must be balanced against the patient’s functional and cosmetic needs. These plans are never easy to develop and must be considered carefully and individualized. Imagination and patience are important components of planning staged burn reconstruction.”–Robert L Sheridan, “Burn Rehabilitation”
…Three Days Later…
The butterflies are roiling again as I sit across from him at the restaurant. We’re having dinner, no drinks. “I read all of Poe’s stuff in high school. I was very goth.”
“I always had a thing for goth girls.”
“I might still have some clothes in my closet. I can certainly do the make up.” I quip.
“It’s toned down over the years. I still find myself attracted to girls with lip piercings and tattoos.” He gestures to mine.
I flush. “I’ve always had a thing for tall guys.”
Dinner seems to end quickly. Holding hands, we walk on the beach. He puts an arm around me. “I like the beach at night.” He says. “I come here to think. It has a special connection for me. My dad was in the Navy. After he died, we had his ashes spread at sea. My Stepmom and I felt that was what he would have wanted.” I tighten my arm around his waist.
I say, “I can’t imagine losing a parent so young.” The conversation does not turn to easier topics.
We walk and talk. We pause in both to kiss. He reveals, “After they divorced we moved with my mom to Alabama. We lived with my Grandpa. He had a cow, goats, pig. No horse, though. I thought my mom just wanted to be near her family, but it turns out she just wanted to make meth with my Uncle. We talk now, but I keep her at a distance…I’ll probably be helping a friend movie this weekend. I’m the kind of guy who just always helps out. Even if it’s kind of out of my way. I’m not good at saying ‘no.'”
“I can relate to that.” I say something about boundaries, how helping too much isn’t always the best thing to do. I touch on my marriage, but avoid anything substantial. It’s clear to him that I dong want to talk about it.
We’re sitting on a bench. “I spent a lot of time in bars. Especially after my dad died. I didn’t care who was there or wasn’t or which bar it was.”
“Everyone grives differently.”
“My dad was an alcoholic.”
It’s late. We walk back to our cars.
We text for days.
“This year has been good. Nothing crushing has happened.” He adds, “I took the year off school. I was just burnt out.”
“Did it help?” I ask. My suspicions finally aroused.
We make plans for a third date.
I tell him, “I appreciate that your considerate of my comfort zone when we’re making arrangements. Just so you know, I would be comfortable with an invitation to your place to watch that movie?”
“My living situation is interesting.”
“Oh? Care to elaborate?”
“Fair enough. I will prepare myself for an unknown interesting situation. I’m only asking because there seems to be something out of place. I’m just trying to find that piece of information that will make everything slide together.”
The day of our date is here.
I text, “If I don’t hear anything, I’m just going to assume the date is off.”
I hear nothing.
Six o’clock rolls around. I text him that he’s a piece of shit. I unmatch with him. I delete his number from my phone. I cry desperate, heartbroken, ugly tears in the shower.