I love you. The words scratch like dry leaves scuttling across your drive way concrete.
I miss you. Sighs collect under your living room sofa.
I need you. Feelings stacked neatly in your over filled bookshelf.
You are dying. Scrawled across your face. Held in your hands. Lodged between my teeth.
You are in pain. Hung on your protruding bones. Pinned to your sagging collar. Cut into my trembling heart.
I am afraid. Billows like smoke in cold air. Crowds our conversations. Glass half empty.
I am… Sorry. Lost. In pieces. Upside down. Inside Out.
You are dying. We are all dying.
You are dying now.
You struggle. You fight. You cry. You curse. You laugh about it. You sleep and dream and wake up. You dream of sleeping and not waking up. You sigh. My eyes are burning. For you, for me.
I hold your hand inside my hand. Your fingers rather slender, hands a little cold. Piano players hands. You could have been – (no more no more no I can’t go on)
I love you. Tears escape the netting of your kitchen curtains.
I miss you. Frowns heaped on the chaos of your kitchen bench.
I need you. Packed into your drawers.
I love you. Folded away with your clothes.
You tell me about the treatment. The drugs. The chemotherapy. The doctors, the nurses. The poking the prodding the morphine dreams the cutting the screaming the bleeding the praying the pain the dying the dying the dying, oh god, you’re dying.
You tell me about your garden. Your Aloes. Your African Violets. You cut back the Grevillea, you watered the pots, you put that out for some sun, you think they will start to flower in a few weeks. You crushed Rosemary in your hands for me to smell. I wonder what will happen to all this when I am gone. A sharp stone shaped from pain presses down on my tongue, cuts my mouth to ribbons.
You tell me about your old job. You worked six nights a week, always overtime. Lighting guy in a gay club. Couldn’t have been more perfect. Everybody’s darling. Six nights a week. You worked in spite of the chemo, in spite of the headaches, the pain and the nausea. You didn’t tell anyone when your legs nearly gave way when you were half way up a ladder. You made them look beautiful, made the light shine on them. Those were the best days. (said as your mind flicks through all the pretty party pictures)
We go to the park. Cupcakes, tarts and cake from the bakery. Lime sodas. (later I will feel sick from all the artificial colouring). We brought so much sweet food even though you have no appetite for anything these days. You show me your favourite trees, the roses, the bandstand, the birds, the view of the river. You come here most days. Walking slowly, you are out of breath. Sitting on the bench, you adjust position frequently as pain courses through your back. Isn’t the view beautiful? I want my ashes scattered here, at my favourite part of the park. My eyes trace the fragile curves of your face as I try to block out the image of you crumbling to dust.
If I could only hold fast to you, trap you here in this moment, lock you into my heart, but the ground is giving way, the tide is rising and the current is too fast. You are already receding, one step closer to the edge of the horizon. Maybe the world isn’t round after all.
How much longer?
I don’t know. Depends on how much more I can take. Some days are better than, others. Some days I just want *
I’ve thought about it. If my toes have to be amputated, I draw the line at that. No way. Or if I get pneumonia. I’m not going through that. Some days I think I will *
I’m not sure. I talked to my doctor. The cancer has spread right through me, lungs, intestines, everywhere. Then there are the lesions. On my face, my body, even inside me. It’s not HIV anymore, its AIDS.
It’s the final stage, the last leg of the race, the closing act in the show now darling.
My doctor has been good. He said that *
I know that I could *
Mum can’t stand the thought of it. It would be too much for her.
Too much for her to bear
I don’t want to turn into a *
Not be able to take care of *
Go through more *
Someone has already said that they would be with me, that they’d be there, when the time came
When the time came
*insert sound of screaming
He laughed and said that there was no dignity in death.
I want to be there when the time comes. So you do not have to be alone. So you know I love you. So I don’t have to be alone.
We’re sitting next to each other, but we’re both alone with this moment. You’ve already got one foot over the line.
I love you. The words swirl out on the water.
I miss you. Words turn yellow as the seasons change.
I need you. Words carried away with the breeze.
I love you. The sky darkens.
I miss you. We both turn to look at where you want your ashes scattered.
I miss you already.
It’s time to go now. The park lights have spasmed on and the air has a chill. We pack up the uneaten cakes. You tell me how here in Brisbane the sun sets quickly, it just drops from the sky and then it all becomes dark so suddenly. I say: yes, so it has.
(I’m so sorry. I’m sorry mother, I didn’t mean for it to be this way.)
We walk back to your house. You are a little dizzy, a little weak. The stairs are an issue. Little things become big things. Speech is laboured. Holding on tighter to the hand rail. We’ll wait for the lights at the crossing. You’re feeling the cold more these days.
(It hurts, no more it hurts, it hurts)
Open up the door to your house. You lower yourself down onto the couch. I put the kettle on for tea. Turn on the tap to do the dishes next to the sink. You go to protest, but I cut you off with a half joke. We both know.
(Sometimes I sleep for days)