No, I don’t think I would live it all again if given the chance. Laying here in this shithole I call my home, pain constant despite the medication the doctor says is the maximum he can prescribe without it killing me, I don’t see the point of living again. To even consider such a thing is laughable, or would be if I still had the ability to laugh.
My life has been royally fucked from the very beginning: Born prematurely and my mother nearly died bringing me into this miserable excuse of a world. My father was mostly absent, and when he did show his face it was only to beat my mother or beg for money to feed his own addictions. This is no one’s fault, and I’m not blaming him for the intense suffering I feel for the years I’ve spent attempting to navigate this life of mine. Not his fault that I was destined to be diagnosed with stomach cancer at the relatively young age of 45. Not his fault that I realized I was gay when I was only ten years old. Not his fault–not anyone’s–that I made the decisions I made, some of which led me to serve five years in prison for assaulting a man who said he loved me and then stole every dime I had saved for three years. This is all on me, and I can handle the burden with enough meds.
Last week the doctor told me I might have six months left to scrabble around and fight the disease eating me alive from the inside. My stomach is in constant pain, as is my asshole. When I shit, it feels as if fireballs are issuing forth into the bowl. Some nights I just sit on the commode and attempt to fall asleep there so I won’t have to crawl to the bathroom like some sort of half-human half-insect creation come to life from the pages of a Kafka story.
A nurse from the hospice agency came by and asked if I had any final thoughts I could share that might help others in my situation one day in the future. Yeah, I thought, I have one big one: Don’t get stomach cancer! Then again, don’t be homeless for two years and have to offer two buck blowjobs to desperate old men just so you can get a bite to eat. Don’t do any of that. Be sure and take the path of light and happiness. Get the good job, be a model citizen, pay your taxes, go to church every Sunday. Maybe then you’ll get the blessings that have eluded me. Or don’t. Pretty sure we’re all fucked no matter what our status with the dude in the distant clouds might be. We’re all gonna die, but some folks do it better than others. Me? Shit, I can’t even manage any dignity this close to the end. But fuck it! Dignity is so overrated, don’t you agree?
Nights are not the worst, despite that some soon-to-die people like to say. People who claim night is the bad time have never gotten over their fears of the boogieman showing up when the sun sets.
No, it’s the mornings that always cause the most trouble for me. Because when another day dawns you’re forced to come to the horrible realization that you were not, as you so desperately had hoped, allowed to die in your fitful sleep. Instead, you have been given another day to suffer, to languish in more retching and blood. If you happen to see others off to start their days, be they delighted by the prospect or dreading it, at least they have something to look forward to. What do I have? Well, around ten this particular morning I should be having a shit that winds up being mostly blood and bile. How’s that for a wake-up call?
A social worker who came by to check on me said I was bitter and needed to adjust my attitude. Hey, nothing wrong with me that a good cure for cancer and extra morphine can’t cure, sister, but you just go right on believing attitude is some abstract concept you formulate in that space between your ears. Lemme trade you some of this pain for a better attitude. Bet you won’t take me up on that transaction.
Doesn’t matter. Not any of it does. Tomorrow I’ll maybe wake up again and start this fading life once more. Hooray for me! How brave I must be! Bullshit! I am not brave, I am not wise, and I am not getting any insight out of suffering like a fucking wounded animal. I am merely passing this day and the next to get to the last. What does that earn me? Nothing. Not a damn thing.
I don’t want more time. No, not even one more day, one more hour, not even a fraction of a fucking second. I just want it all to be gone and I want to vanish into the blackness of what awaits me, which is more nothingness.
Just after midnight I hear my next door neighbor coughing uncontrollably. Then he falls silent. Guess he got the death I was slated to receive. I take two more pills and curl up for another few hours of empty sleep.
Bring me your cures, but rest assured they will not work. I do not only have cancer of the stomach, it has even infected my soul, which should suit whatever god there is just fine. We’re almost even now, oh great one. But the house always wins. Fuck it! You can keep the hollowed-out body, the faded regrets, and the fragments of a life that remain.
Copyright 2016 by Daniel X. Morrison. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.