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Cancer patient. (1 Viewer)


Some may find the content depressing!

It's a noise like a child sucking on an empty straw. They pinch the end, and it wheezes. It sucks at me as well. It sucks at my spirit. I can see his nostrils collapse with each successive effort to fill his lungs. Yellowing cheeks become even more concave and I stare with blank expression. Not knowing what to do. His body is withered, I know, but it's hidden from us by porcelain sheets.

He wakes up again and sees us. The morphine keeps him floating in and out of consciousness like a cruel roulette instigated by the desire to reduce pain. I despise it but could never bring myself to protest, and now it's time to say something. I freeze. Everyone else seems to be frozen. He looks confused and his partner strokes a feeble hand while whispering. It's like watching a mother and child. She almost coos at him, patronising, calming, and I hate it.

He mumbles something, I'm not sure what. And now his eyes are wide, bright, fleeting. He's smiling at us and his daughter says hello. They slowly exchange pleasantries like it's nothing out of the ordinary, but she's crying, again. And I hug her close, again. My sister is crying, again. It's the third time this week that I'm part of this emotional masochism. It collapses on me and I push back the only way I know how. A generous sadist enters the room with a cup of pills and a shiny glass of water. More food for the weak.

I try to get away from it all by losing myself in the poxy decor. There's a small tv, too far away for him to see. A cushy lazy-boy moves with electric power and the manicured garden outside is home to ducks of brown and green. A contrived stream idles buy without a care. Everything is clean like a steel kitchen sink. I don't find it comforting, but its not for me - it's for the dying man, who is currently downing his pills. In a few minutes he will be gone to the world. I stop to wonder where he goes.

He has something to say - I don't know if he knows we are here. He says "it's close now" and "he can feel it," and the stage is set for another bout of misery. My love sucks me in on an angle and I hurl strength at my closest family. The dying man I hardly knew, but the emotion is intense - I have to keep telling myself that feeling this troubled must be the right thing.

There's another man in the room - a son. His usually boastful self is cowering on the electric chair. The ruddy face is even more ruddy, and he rubs a square forehead in what looks to be a heady concoction of confusion and agony. His wife sniffs and strokes his back. The bedded weakness seems to spread through all of them, while I repel it with faux stoicism, waiting for the chance to support my kin.

A shuddering gasp for air shakes them all. I'm back in the throe. I damn him in silence wishing he would give in. My selfishness confounds me and my emotions stretch back and forth. I don't want this for my family, I want to make it stop, and I can't. All I can do is hug tight. No words are needed for this timeless gesture. I hug her and lean my head on hers, bleeding into her loss. Soon it will be final, and then I can truly return the favour.