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  • Yawning in the early morning/late night, I stumble into my closet to dig through a drawer. I am looking for a t-shirt, one particular t-shirt, blue with a press and an orange.

    "Squeeze me!" the fruit urges.

    I find it and smile, pulling it on with an old pair of jeans and sneakers that are almost falling apart but I cannot bear to toss.

    "Perfect," I think with a smile and pick up my bag to leave.

    Fridays generally mean working at home and wearing whatever I want, but this Friday is special. I will work at home (later), but first, I must cross the city for an exam and mammogram.

    In my purse, I carry a stick of deodorant (not to be worn before screening) and another t-shirt for later. Bright yellow behind a drinking glass with smiling face, arms and legs, a lemon in hand, it bears the words "freshly squeezed."

    Last night, the night before the big squeeze, I wore another t-shirt (pink with the word "bad" and a picture of an apple) with jeans at a local domestic violence shelter. I went for our regular read aloud. We planned to focus on apples - books about apples, apple slices for tasting, stories of apple picking. On the eve of a four-day weekend and with highly sugared kids, the shirt seemed to apply more to the audience than me as a reader, but it worked.

    Outside of the t-shirts, my whole wardrobe twists as I dress for life. I wore retro leopard print for a night at a jazz club and a blue and while polka dot dress with a red cardigan and red patent leather Mary Janes to vote in November. At my friends' wedding in Warwick, I wore the Mary Janes with another vintage dress and red fascinator. If it were cooler, I might have added a capelet. I have two.

    I am not really concerned with appearances. I seldom remember to look in mirrors and often forget things like brushing my hair. Makeup is definitely not part of my routine; I don't own much beyond mascara and lipstick. My mother still disparages over the lack of attention I pay and the fact that I don't always look the best possible me, but that's not why I do it. Life is an occasion. The t-shirts make me laugh. I cannot imagine anything more appropriate than a "Squeeze Me" t-shirt pre-mammogram and "Freshly Squeezed" on the way home.

    My clinical exams consistently warrant additional scans plus ultrasound. I trade my t-shirt for a hospital gown, and morning drifts toward afternoon as I sit half naked and shivering in waiting rooms. My chest is covered in ink and stickers with small metal balls. Markers. When I am finally cleared to go home, I will take whatever comfort I can find in the folds of worn cotton, fruit graphics and words.
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