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I am sitting in the patient chair, making a fist as the lab technician ties my upper arm with a band and swabs the soft skin at my elbow juncture with alcohol. The slight shock of cold is the most unnerving part, the sensation of the body being touched by another. Deftly, the technician inserts the tip of the needle into my vein to draw my blood.
I remember back to when I was young, fighting my mother as she hauled me by the arm into the doctor's office to have my blood drawn for routine examinations. I screamed and threw the full weight of my body against her to resist being taken into the exam room, but I was so small and she was so strong. The more I cried, shouted, and flailed my limbs, the stronger her grip became on me. How could I resist this force? The more I tried to pull away, the harder I was drawn to it, meshing into her body as a single unit as she picked me up and held me close, her arms wrapped around mine to discourage the thrashing.
"It's just a pinch," she'd say to calm me, "a bite from a tiny little ant." Tears traced rivers of salt down my cheeks, dripping off my chin. I stared at the needle in the nurse's hands, this giant metal tip that would soon stake claim in my body, taking away my blood, my essence. The room smelled of antiseptic and the nurse was dressed in sterile white, the color of mourning and death. The crisp wax paper on the exam bed crinkled loudly beneath me every time I shifted positions. There was no escaping two strong, full-grow