Amanda says that if she could have her life all over again, she would have trained as a dermatologist. Nothing, she says, would give her more pleasure than to spend her days extracting pilar cysts, steatocystomas and lipomas.
“Think of all those wasted years I’ve spent drafting and negotiating stupid ass documents that no one will ever look at!” she moaned recently, after watching a particularly satisfying video of Dr Pimple Popper draining an infected cyst.
As infections go, this one was nasty. The draining of the mud-coloured pus into the bean-shaped pan lodged against the side of the guy’s back seemed to go on for days.
“My God, I love that it’s still going,” Saffy sighed with pleasure, having walked to the kitchen to get some corn chips. She settled back into her chair, pulled apart the bag and started munching.
“You know,” she said, leaning in for a closer look, “crunch, crunch… It really doesn’t matter how many times I’ve watched this episode, crunch, crunch, but it just never gets old!”
“I watch this whenever I can’t sleep,” Amanda confided, her eyes never leaving her laptop screen as her hand dipped into the bag of corn chips.
And that’s how Sharyn found them when she dropped by at dinner, heaving several orange plastic bags of char kway teow, black carrot cake, chicken rice, and nasi lemak.
“Aiyoh,” she said immediately. “How you can watch this har? Eee, what is she doing?”
“She’s draining an infected cyst!” Saffy told her. “We’re watching all the golden oldies of Dr Sandra. The one before this was a big-assed pore of weiner. She just pulled out this black plug out of the woman’s back and there was just this white crater left behind. Amazing!”
Amanda hit pause to turn her attention to the dinner that Sharyn was unpacking. “I just don’t understand why people don’t scrub themselves. All that is just dead skin cells accumulated over years!"
“They can’t reach the back, I imagine,” Saffy said.
“That’s why back scrubs were invented. There’s just no excuse!”
Sharyn sucked in her breath and shut her eyes. “My God!” she said finally. Then she remembered something. “Ay, my husband got two lumps on his back, oh-so!”
Which is just exactly the sort of thing you shouldn’t say to two popaholics because faster than you could say “Is this covered by Medisave?”, the girls had hustled Sharyn out the front door, and they were zooming down the PTE towards her house.
“Why have you been keeping this from me?” Saffy demanded.
Sharyn shrugged. “Ay, how I know? Is on his back and he always wear T-shirt, so, cannot see mah!”
A thoughtful silence descended inside the car as two sets of brows furrowed and frowned.
“But,” Amanda said finally and, because she went to a posh finishing school in Switzerland, found she was unable to continue the thought.
Saffy, who went to a public school and smoked between classes, pursed her lips and gave it a go. “Wouldn’t you see them when, you know, you run your hands, uhm, over his, uhm, back?”
Sharyn coughed. “Aiyoh, you tink what? We still park-tor, is it? Ay, we mare-ly twenty fye year now, okay? Who got time or energy to run hand over his back?”
Amanda was astonished. “Really? You’ve stopped having…uhm…sex?”
“Aiyoh, so long now!”
“Amazing,” Saffy sighed. “So this what married life looks like — undetected lipomas.”
But not as amazing, apparently, as the sight of the girls marching into Sharyn’s flat where her husband Raymond was on the couch contentedly watching TV. Sharyn roughly pulled him up, turned him around and then, without any ceremony, lifted his shirt.
As one, the girls sucked in their breath.
“Aiyoh, you told them?” Raymond bleated.
Saffy extended a finger and gently prodded the larger of the two raised lumps on Raymond’s lower back, while Amanda gingerly touched the other on the upper shoulder.
“I never thought I would ever touch a real life lipoma!” Saffy whispered in the tone one would normally associate with being in the presence of something unusual like, say, the Holy Grail.
“Is not a cyst, ah?” Sharyn asked. In spite of herself, she bent closer.
“Nope. See how it’s mobile under the skin?” Amanda tapped the skin with two fingers. “Lipoma, probably.”
“Oh, you’re good, Manda!” Saffy said admiringly. “That’s exactly how Dr Sandra wiggles the skin!”
“Ay, hello!” Raymond piped up from above.
Last I heard, Sharyn has scheduled her husband in at the dermatologist for the removal of the lipomas. Amanda said she’ll pay for the procedure if she and Saffy could watch, an offer Sharyn immediately accepted over Raymond’s feeble objections.
“I’m so happy, I can’t begin to tell you!” she told Sharyn.