Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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Richard Selzer is a retired surgeon and professor at the Yale School of Medicine. His books include the story-and-essay collection Letters to a Young Doctor and the novel Knife Song Korea. He has described his life as “blood and ink.”
I cannot see their hands joined in a correspondence that is exclusive, intimate, his fingertips receiving the voice of her sick body through the rhythm and throb she offers at her wrist. All at once I am envious — not of him, not of Yeshi Dhonden for his gift of beauty and holiness, but of her. I want to be held like that, touched so, received. And I know that I, who have palpated a hundred thousand pulses, have not felt a single one.