Photo by Helen Harrop (copied from Flickr)

There’s this bizarro technique my doctor’s urging. It’s got a bunch of scientific terms that just sound to me like whatever whatever and no fucking way this is going to help me. It’s called (with letters and a number) a hedonic transplant. It gets my bad feelings replaced with high baseline happiness from another person. It’s like the good witch of the north or a good genie will flow through a vein while bad memories will be drawn out through a different vein. Some research guy or woman will study the sample (maybe labeled Ariane, 9-17 years of age). The researcher will look for bio-this and that, but big deal, what’s the mystery? Nine years old and Fucking Grandpa thinks I’m “shaping up as a woman” and wants to prove it and Grandma doesn’t stop him, she doesn’t believe me? He does it more till I show my teachers where he hurt me. Now I’m seventeen and still in a mosh pit fighting memories like razors.       

I’ve been Googling this treatment the doctor’s bugging me about. The woman who came up with the idea was studying her cat, all relaxed, “blinking with contentment” on the sofa next to her. Protected. Secure, paws tucked under, and the woman finds a syringe and takes blood from her cat. Then she and her research buddies experiment with the cat’s blood. They inject it into an abandoned kitty that’s acted all feral and crazy. You can guess what happens; everyone can pet the kitten now, which rubs against them even when they give it shocks. Different protocols don’t work at all on similar cats (nor on me). So they keep transfusing the happy cocktail, which helps some mistreated animals. But humans haven’t been tested that much.

I could expect, during the procedure, to see images the transplanter loves (I call her that rather than a donor — it makes me think of a garden). I might see her favorite trees and flowers. Faces. Surfing waves, a blue glacier? Some images of my own might start — of nice places, my sea horse and Husky and the Black Stallion, years ago. A social life now, parties? I’ve felt icky around boys, but now perhaps I won’t.

So Tuesday I go to the hospital for their experiment. I’m scared it won’t work. Several physicians will be there, and my brother too. Maybe he’d get the treatment if it erases a memory with its feelings. “Good luck, Ariane,” someone might say, the nurse swabbing my vein, maybe. No, not the nurse. It’ll be me. My doctor will smile, with his high baseline, probably, then he’ll say, “Ready?”  

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