This was the beginning of a story I started at the beginning of college when I was researching cancers. It was going to become more fantasy but I haven’t gotten that far.
It’s like there was a hole screwed through my heart. Slowly drilling inch by inch. Now, the doctors would tell you that the pain is from my lungs and the cancer that’s spreading like poison. They’d tell you that it’s a side effect of the treatments. The shots, the bone marrow transactions, the chemotherapy. Sure, I believe them, to a point that it makes me sick. Some days, I can practically hear my hair falling out and through the air, dancing on the stillness that can only be found in a hospital; in the long-term patient care wing.
They should seriously just call it a tomb. Everyone here is headed to the grave anyway.
I wasn’t supposed to be here, not truly. This damn cancer wasn’t even mine to begin with. I simply had Aplastic Anemia and my body had decided to stop producing bone marrow. I got a donor. I got a donor that had early enough stages of leukemia that they didn’t register on the scans. I got a donor that has now died since the transplant. I got a donor that signed my death sentence.
“Honey?” My mother walked in the doors, holding a small bouquet of blue and white flowers, her eyes shadowed with sleepless bags.
“Mom, what have I told you about the flower thing,” I groaned, drooping my arm over my eyes dramatically. “Save that sort of gesture till I’m buried.”
I could feel the air stiffen, growing colder, which was barely possible in a place such as this. She always managed to reign in her hurt at my responses. I knew that I was being unruly, but she let me, she said if I needed to do it to cope, to live, then she would manage. To that, I’d bluntly snapped that it wouldn’t help me live, but it damn-well made me happier in the moment I said it. The ability to vocalize my hatred at the turnout of my life was something I greatly utilized. Honestly, my therapist said it wasn’t a coping method, that it was just me having a bad personality. I fired him once the doctors told me there was practically nothing they could do.
“Ready for chemo?” My mother had settled herself on the small metal chair after dropping the brilliant flowers into the vase by my bed.
She brushed her bangs from her blue eyes and forced a weak smile. I loved her, I really did and I hated this donor for putting her through this. In a way, I was better off than her. Once my heart stopped and the casket was buried, I’d be dead and gone, no longer feeling any pain. The cancer would be over, even if it had won in the end. That’s why it’s worse for her. I was her only child. Only birth child, though Marcus had been like a son to her and we both lost him months ago. Now, she had to watch me go in this slow horrible way.
The faster, the better. Truth be told, I wanted it to end. “No,”
“No?” Mom parroted, blinking. “What do you mean by no?”
“I mean,” I blew out a sigh. “I’m not going to chemo anymore.”
She laughed this incredulous, confused chuckle. “Enough joking, let’s get you ready.”
“Mom, I’m being serious right now.”
It honestly wasn’t even a staring contest. Her eyes lost every last little bit of light they’d managed to hide in the depths of their blue ocean. Like the waves crashing against the shore of black pupil receded and the water was still. Dead. My mother wasn’t stupid. She knew when I was speaking the truth, when I meant what I said. Perhaps it was my face, hollow in all the wrong places, or the black bags hanging too low below my eye sockets, or maybe it was the dryness in my voice.
Or… Maybe a Mother just knows. Like she knows when the baby is coming, like she knows when she needs to let the baby grow up. Maybe this is just one of those maternal instincts. One that I believe she hated with all her being. Knowing her daughter was giving up on the fight.
“You can hate me. You can think I’m being selfish, or that I am giving up too early, but…” My voice caught. “I’ve already told Dr. Romano.”
Mom said nothing for a long while, just looking at me, as I was her, wanting to ingrain every wrinkle, every mole, and every single pore, into my memory.
“Remi,” Mom said my name too softly.
I reached out my skeleton hand, touching her own slender fingers and slipping them together, lacing us as one. “It’s not going to get any better. Even if it did, we have to face the fact that it would be completely temporary, this will kill me soon.”
She let me sit there in relative silence for her entire visit, just enjoying one another company. When visiting hours ended, the nurse came through to pull my mother away so the doctor could speak to her without my ears hearing. I knew what he would tell her. I’d signed the waiver, being twenty and able to do that, and I’d informed both my doctor and nurses that I wanted to go home until the time came.