Sep 30, 2010

Strange, but also, not strange at all.

Strange for the four of us to be here. And also, somehow, not strange at all. Strange because you don't look like you anymore. Skin stretches across bone, making hollows for shadows to hide in. Your hair is lank and oily; I want to wash it for you, take your bony head in my hands and gently lather and rinse. Two feverish spots of pink adorn your cheeks. They look pretty there but I know you are flushed from pain, from the stifling heat of the room. (From guilt?) The incision that runs vertically up your abdomen seems impossibly long and that piece of you that is normally tucked away inside seems impossibly dark. When I touch it and ask if it hurts, you reply in the negative and I wonder how this can be so. I avoid looking at the bag, not because I am repulsed by it, but because it seems somehow indecent to do so.

Strange for the four of us to be here, yes, but, also, somehow, not strange at all. Because the four of us are here, as we have been and will be. But it has been a long time, and so we remind each other of who we are: I offer to pick your scab for you, he makes jokes about sodomy, she is grossed out by this sudden inversion of bodily functions. We are angry at you, and we are disappointed in ourselves, and we are, all four of us, afraid, but we laugh together. We laugh together in this tiny room while in the room next door a woman dies of cancer.