“K” is for Kourage

by Bella Rum

threekingsWe Three Kings – by artist James C. Christensen

We voted yesterday. We were the only two there. It took only a couple of minutes. It would be hard for me to wait in line now. I’m hoping that by election day I’ll be better than today, but I didn’t want to take a chance.

Just before the ablation on Thursday, I’m having (submitting to) a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). They insert a probe with a transducer (microphone) down the esophagus. The whole procedure will take about forty-five minutes. 

I’m a little nervous about the TEE even though the ablation is more invasive. I think the thought of the TEE bothers me because I have to do my part… sort of. They will medicate me, and I’m happy in all sorts of ways about that. I have no participation in the ablation, the success does not depend on my skills or abilities… like swallowing a microphone and a flexible tube. I guess you could say I suffer from performance anxiety.

It reminds me of my first grade Christmas play. My mother helped me practice my line. I had it down cold, but each time I said it, I’d stop part way through, go back to the beginning, and say the whole thing again. It went something like this. “K is for three Kings who… pause… K is for three Kings who came from afar – to welcome the stranger – and were led by a star.” I know, but it rhymes. Okay?

The big night finally arrived. 

Behind the curtain, Mrs. Keifer herded us into a straight line across the stage. She gave each of us a large piece of poster board with a letter on it.  All of the letters of the alphabet were represented. Dressed in our finest, we stood there, each of us holding our own letter, each of us knowing a line that matched our letter. We could hear the low hum of voices beyond the heavy curtains, and then it was showtime. The curtains opened to friends and families. The child holding ‘A’ stepped forward and said his line and stepped back in line. B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J and finally K. I stepped forward and started my very practiced line. “K is for three Kings who …pause… K is for three Kings who came from afar – to welcome the stranger – and were led by a star.”

I choked. Too much pressure. 

I remember being concerned that I’d probably embarrassed my mother, but when we found each other after the show, she seemed no different than usual. I don’t recall any big declaration about how bright and shiny I was. Parents didn’t do that so much back then, but she was pleased with my performance. I could tell. After all that practice, she didn’t care that I hadn’t gotten it just right. It was fine, I was fine, this was fun, but let’s go home and get out of our finery.

K is for Kourage.

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