cancer diary

At hand my paintbrush

Paint needs a progress bar. Appearances are deceiving; what appears to be dry might well be a skin of darkened paint hiding a pool of liquid waiting to stain you.

I am finding green in places that should not, on humans, be green. A fine speckle has set upon the hairs of my head like so much confetti, and on my face like pixie freckles. I have scrubbed most of the paint away from my fingertips, except for the thin line where my nails meet my skin.

There, I am still green.

Seek and ye shall find

Death does not take reservations; it comes and goes of its own free will, leaving the living to tend to the resulting disruption.

I am still tending.

So it's been one year. I can look at my watch and remember where I was. A year ago by the tickings of this watch, I was at Colter's. I showered. I had been instructed to get some rest. While I slept on Colter's bed, Jeff worked on Colter's computer.

The future hung over us, shadowy and low. We knew my father's death was imminent; the oxygen saturation of his blood had begun to drop the day before. Previously, his mask had provided him with eighty percent oxygen. We knew that moving him to 100% oxygen would not save him - nothing would - but if it kept him comfortable, that is what we would do.

But - no. That is not the way to remember.

a more precarious flower

Words don't like forcing. When pushed, they fight back with kick and claw and bite, resulting in nothing but torn-up papers and cramped hands. Finished sentences rarely result, and the ones that survive their troubled gestation usually prove to be truly ghastly infants.

The past week has been tough. The next few will be tougher. I am approaching the one-year anniversary of Dad's death with something deeper than apprehension but differently-flavored than dread: knowledge conveys its literal meaning, but precariousness conveys its resonance.

It's extraordinarily rare that I talk to anyone about what happened last year. Even now, a year later, I don't have the mental distance or emotional stability to do it, so I leave the words hanging, swinging, between my lips and another's ears.

The mirror tells me I am not fundamentally different.

* * * * *

nine of sixteen

It's always frustrating to try to write entries for when my mind's more occupied by the code of Quarto. It's difficult to come up with interesting things to say when your mind's current definition of 'interesting' is "oooooh! Now a quarto siteadmin can edit the general text message that's shown on the main Quarto admin screen!"

Last chance groceries in the Winn-Dixie saloon

Christmas Eve. The last thing standing between my current state of consciousness and Christmas morning was a few hours and a vast, primal craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream that felt more akin to heroin withdrawal than a mere, mortal craving.

I was drinking tea on the couch, doubled up on sugar and memories. I had the remote control. Jeff and I were browsing through the wan, unappealing TV listings. This was the night of endless nutcrackers and carols, and there was not even a hope of halfway-intriguing television between then and dawn on the twenty-sixth.

I was trying not to think of home, in the same desperation and utter lack of success that one might encounter while desperately attempting to avoid thinking of a white elephant after having one suggested in conversation.* * * * *

"If we stay up late enough we could watch the local meteorologists track Santa during the evening news."

Into the woods

There are those who say that animals have no souls; these people are undoubtedly blood kin to the well-meaning people who think that something so formal and ceremonial as a funeral is supposed to bring closure to the lives of the living.