You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings

by jkatejohnston

2 April 2014

Dear Max,

Having begun to write about my mystery lump that’s probably not cancer, I’d better continue with it. The sonogram showed I have a cyst in my lower left abdomen about three centimeters around, and surely that’s a respectable size. It makes me think back to a giant zit—a boil probably—that I had on my butt twenty-one years ago, which I remember with such vivid fondness. Of course I got to pop the zit and write about it, which won’t be an option this time. Still, it feels like something in the same category, though an internal version.

The worst part about the whole thing was that I had to have an MRI this morning without coffee. Afterward, I got a ventissimo coffee at the Starbucks that’s right in Kaiser (thank God) and sat in my car reading The Reverse of the Medal while the sun blazed in after the big rain yesterday. It was incredibly satisfying. I get the MRI results in about a week.

By the way, here’s a link to my author page on Amazon. If anyone wants to read about the zit, it’s in 1993. I just re-read it myself to make sure it was there, and it was, and just as absorbing as ever. The existence of my diary-books seems to be a pretty well-kept secret. Even my big sister didn’t know about the paperback editions (she thought they was just on Kindle), and she reads this blog and likes my writing. So, announcement: the Life of Johnston series exists, though I prefer to think of it the Life of Johnston phenomenon. My food book exists too, so there!

April 2014

Dear Max,

We are oppressed by our plumbing.

The bathroom sink drips. There’s a drought on. Must fix. Change washer?

But first we needed to turn off the water under the sink. Teresa tried first and couldn’t budge the handles one bit. I tried. No go. Then we figured out we were turning them the wrong way—the world tightens to the right—so of course we were turning left because isn’t that how most projects start? With unscrewing something? But of course to turn off the water, you’d want to tighten whatever there is to be tightened, and therefore turn to the right. So we tried that. Teresa still couldn’t turn them. I got some nice charred oven mitts for padding and tried and got one creaky quarter turn.

“It’s moving!”

“It is?”


It was very very sticky. I grunted and puffed and turned to the right while Teresa sang softly, “Did you ever know that you’re my hero…”

Grunt, puff, “Motherfucker!”

“…You’re everything I would like to be…”

“I think I got it.” We tried the hot water tap and it was dry—success! One down one to go.

“…I can fly higher than an eagle…”

“Jesus Christ, this one’s even worse.”

But I finally got the water turned off. Then we spent about half an hour trying to unscrew the two screws that we hope will somehow lead to the guts of the faucet so we can change the washer—if washers even exist anymore. Who knows, maybe they’re like carburetors, some machinery from my past that I half-understood so of course it disappeared from the universe. (Fuel injection my foot!) The status now is: water off; faucet intact; screws maybe very slightly loosened, and we keep spraying them with WD-40 because, who knows, it can’t hurt.