The door flew open, bringing with it the bearer of my name. With careful regularity cultivated by doubtless years of practice, she called out a cheerful command, raising her inflection at the end of her carefully timed word, to offer the guise of a question.
I instinctively responded with a leap, and followed her past the dual grinning Janus. Through various twists and turns, my guide strode on, and through each twist and turn I kept in close pursuit. The room which awaited me was filled with an overwhelming lack of furnishing. A single, solitary chair sat in the center of the chamber. The chair’s arms were laden with mirrors, instruments, and bright lights. I sat down in the throne, surrounded by uncertainty. As the nurse placed the mask over my nose, I breathed in the oxygen. Again a command rang out, bedecked in the inflectional trappings of a request.
“We are going to start the laughing gas now.”
Janus returned, not as a portal, but as a choice. A beginning and an end. To breathe in was to relinquish my control over myself. To give every ounce of my will to the strangers in the room with me. To breathe in was to end the control once breathed into me by God. My life, my will, my being, was all in the hands of this nurse and doctor. To begin the procedure, I must pass through the door, I must end my control; a temporary coup. As I breathed usurpation in deeply, the room collapsed; a choppy spiral. My last action before losing consciousness was to unclench my fist.
There is freedom in a loss of control. I had to worry about nothing, for there was nothing I could do. To lose control is to lose worry. There is a beautiful symmetry in the two faced Janus.
I now sit on the couch. Ice strapped to my face, a dull ache where my wisdom teeth used to be. I am subjected to mashed potatoes, smoothies, and ice-cream now, and my face has swollen to uncouth proportions. I am satisfied, for I know my body is healthier for that procedure. But far more comforting is that I know that my breath is my breath.