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September 09, 2004

Your treacherous body

You lie there in your treacherous body, smoking and smiling at me, and both our hearts are in vices. Then you say the words I don't want to hear, the words that will bring about the end of the world: "It's time for you to go now."

How dare you say it? How could you? How can you be so strong even now? Each end of my lips curl upwards, whatever that means. "No," I say.


I stand by the bed and touch your face and you grab my hand and squeeze it so tight, please don't let go, if you let go I'll have to leave and I don't want to, I can't, what the fuck am I going to do? You want me to be as strong as you but I don't think I can, if I start crying now I'll never stop, I won't stop until my body is desecated and I die right next to you in that smoke-filled room overlooking the garden and

You let go of my hand and smile again. "It's time to go."

I shake my head, unable to open my mouth because it's Pandora's box and all the evil of the world is inside me, screaming and rattling my ribs. So I kiss you on the cheek and hug you and take a step away from the bed. You reach into my abdomen and grasp the end of my lower intenstine. I take another step back and turn towards the door, your hand slipping out of my body still holding that piece of me. I give four steps to the door. My guts unravel as I go. I look back and smile and wave, God knows how. You smile back at me. I walk down the corridor leaving entrails behind me, tracing a path back to you, until I reach the hospice parking lot and I'm completely empty inside.

Early the next morning as I'm travelling to London on my way to the airport the train pulls in to Exeter station and I know that if I get off now I can take a cab and be with you in under ten minutes but if I do that I'll never leave again and you'll be very disappointed in me because you've always taught me to be strong just like you strong as an ox so I sit down again but I don't think I can do it I don't think I can sit here while the train pulls away from you because I know I'll never see you again and I stand up and pick up my bag and take a few steps towards the door but Jesus you'll be mad at me because I'd be blowing my chance and you want me to go to college and excel and I know that's your last wish for me so I go back to the chair and sit down again and I realize that I'm sobbing hysterically and everyone is looking at me but I don't care they can all go to hell like me.

And the train starts off again through the English countryside. I return to Canada, to college. A long and short time later you call me and we talk for the last time. You tell me you love me and how proud I make you, and the next day you die in that smoke-filled room overlooking the garden. My dad tells me later how your eyes lifted heavenwards a few moments before, and you smiled. Whatever that means.


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