When I saw today’s one word prompt I wish I could say that my first thoughts were of the intricate beauty of a Faberge egg, or the ethereal light captured in Monet’s Water Lilies series or the sublime simplicity of a perfect crystalline snowflake. No, when I saw the word, exquisite, my first thought was pain. Not the pain of the everyday: sore muscles from too much yard work, or the pain of keeping a milk jug from dropping when both the elbow and shoulder decide to no longer work together. I’m talking about the pure white hot pain that blots out all other thought.
When I was in my second go around for a college degree I got an infected hang nail that went all the way down into the nail bed of my finger. It wasn’t a mere throbbing pain, but a blaring siren that told me if I did not act soon, I might at the least lose a finger, at the worst, my life. When I went to the student health clinic, the nurse taking my vitals mentioned that the pain must be “exquisite”. And it was. Only after the doctor sliced the side of my finger to get the infection out and prescribed a ten day dose of antibiotics did I fully appreciate the dire strait I was in.
Now jump forward a couple decades to about eighteen months ago. I’m coming down the stairs to speak to Poncho about something inconsequential. I pause on the stairs to look out over our yard and I forget my stair count. You see, I always count the stairs because I’m an incredible klutz. So when I begin stepping again, I think I’m on the last step when in actuality I’m on the second to last. I step off into air, land hard, twisting my left ankle, falling down, narrowly missing the edge of the open man door to the garage. The pain I felt in that moment nearly left me breathless. When I hurt myself, I generally can swear up a storm, but this time all I could muster was a long line of “Ow, ow, ow, . . .” Luckily I only sprained my ankle. In those first few minutes when I wasn’t sure whether or not I might pass out I was sure that there was bone protruding from my skin. That was an “exquisite” moment.
But the most exquisite moments in my life have been from the migraines that I have been genetically blessed to have. There is no pain on the face of the earth that I am aware of that matches that period of when the first twinge of pain starts in the brain to the last twist wrung out after several hours of intense suffering. There is nothing but the pain. It takes over. It is my life. I must let it own me. I am compelled to let it take me from one turbulent wave of agony to another. There is no bracing against it. I can only give into it and let it sweep me away to it’s distant shores. There is nothing more immediate, nothing more pure, nothing more exquisite, than losing oneself in the throes of that kind of pain.
So while my higher self would like to imagine something beautiful and perhaps even sacred when thinking of the word, exquisite, the reality is something much more profane and immediate. Something that I cannot run away from when faced bare and naked with the onslaught of sensory overload.
Has anyone else ever experienced a pain so intense as to be considered “exquisite”?
Daily Post Exquisite