By Matt Gordon
The other day I went somewhere public with the hopes of finding something to write. It is a romantic sentiment, where poets used to strike off into nature to hear the whispers of winged muses. My muse was missing a testicle.
Yes, you read that right—if such a thing can be read right. For propriety sake, I should probably change the narrative slightly, making it a bit more sensitive. But part of the beauty of it—the sentiment, not the reality—was precisely in how stark it was to overhear. A male was telling a female companion that a handful of days ago he had endured a surgery to remove a testicle. Pardon the phrasing, but he just put it right out there.
Her reaction was to accuse him of joking, which caused me to question his typical humor. What do you get when you take cancer and part of the male anatomy? Well, a bad joke, I think.
But he assured her that it was no joke, that the cancer had been contained, and that he was a striding picture of health. She was flummoxed, but supportive.
It was a lovely picture, actually.
No, I do not rejoice in the removal of parts—testicles or otherwise. But it does take
balls ball to be vulnerable and open with another human. And it takes a wonderful love to make one feel safe enough to enter into such a sacred space.
What I, a hidden bystander, witnessed was delightfully human and endearing and pure. It was friendship. The giving and receiving of hard, weird news, and a going on together.
The two walked side-by-side, past me, and into some blessed away. I sat alone wondering who my testicle people are? Who are the people I can boldly share anything with? Not just victories, but losses? And not to gain some sort of sympathy or advice or social media attention, but just to have beside me, missing parts and all?
We lumber along through life, winning and losing. Dreams dreamt; delivered and damned and dashed. Loves, found; lost. Victories come. And defeats. We lumber along, bent back, borne ceaselessly, and all the rest. Health comes and health goes. The muse—she whispers and goes silent. And sometimes a surgeon takes away a piece of us. Yet we lumber along. Hopefully, a friend at our side, we lumber along. Together.