Manufactured faces

by Elouise

Manufactured faces gaze
From magazines and brochures
Scattered around the waiting room
Wherever I turn my eyes
‘They’ smile knowingly
If not mechanically
Picture perfect features
Enticing sirens of perpetual youth
White skin gleaming
Radiant in life
And in death

What do they know that I don’t know?
Is this happy heaven or happy hell?
I seem to have lost my way.

It’s Friday, March 25. I’m sitting in a nearly deserted, picture-perfect, calm, shades of blue cool color-coordinated waiting room. Not, I’m sorry to say, the plastic surgery (yes!) waiting room above. A plastic surgeon, on site only once a week, is going to remove two suspicious growths from my skin. Due to unforeseen developments, the wait will be longer than anticipated.

Upbeat music plays relentlessly. Every chair, magazine table, shelf and counter space offers indoor advertising for the miraculous powers of plastic surgery and the good life. I search in vain for a normal magazine or newspaper.

Alas, I didn’t bring a book or even my iPad. All I have is my writing journal. Into which I enter the thoughts above.

An hour later, things finally get underway. I also learn a thing or two. The surgeon is probably in his late 30s or early 40s. I’ve often assumed plastic surgeons are in it for the money.

This one, however, doesn’t fit that stereotype. His primary work doesn’t involve what I’d call elective cosmetic plastic surgery for the wealthy seeking eternal youth, or even for the rest of us with routine things like suspicious growths. He does this only one day a week, at this site. A break from his demanding schedule.

The rest of the time he’s at a downtown university hospital doing what he loves most. A form of intricate, creative plastic surgery. Most of his patients are women who’ve had mastectomies or trauma victims whose skin needs repair. He loves the challenge of each case, and knowing that what he does helps people recover from life-changing events.

I left feeling chastened and grateful I’d heard a bit of his story. Well worth the wait.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 March 2017
Photo of spectacular plastic surgery waiting room found pinterest