Monday, June 13, 2011

Conversations Ignored By God

This was an exercise from my creative writing class back in 2007. We had to describe an actual conversation, and the people involved. It was this week that my friend Simon lost his battle with the insidious cancer. This was our last conversation, and I wrote it all down in one stream of memory. It was burnt into my mind as deeply as the friendship and amiration I felt for this wonderful man.
I had forgotten it, but my online writing group is doing virtually the same exercise this week, and so I looked back through my files to find it. I think it deserves it's place here, for Simon is someone who should never be forgotten. At times when I stuff up or swear too much (which he hated), I here his voice and see his sardonic grin as he chastises with our running joke, "You're terrible Muriel."

“It’s back.” Veiled azure blue eyes hold startled hazel gaze. I blank. What on earth do I say? Brain freeze moment, ice cracking heart breaking. Abruptly sit.
“Fuck, how bad?”
“Bad, very aggressive”
“But they said they had it all!”
“Yeah, it’s a shock.”
I am numb. Disbelief and betrayal overwhelm. Fight to regain composure, be sensible. Supportive. “Options?”
“IF I deny treatment I might see Christmas” Less than six months? WHAT on earth DO I say? Fingers curl, uncurl, curl, uncurl. His and mine. Mine on his. He may not need contact, I do. Agitation stayed, for an instant. Time stands still. Fingers release. Movement constantly, twitchingly returns.
“Are you going to have treatment? ” Push the point.
“They want me to take Evistan to try and stem the tumours’ growth. I haven’t decided yet.” I must not cry.
“Is that more chemo?”
“Yeah. No studies on results available for this cancer type though.”
Look directly at him, stop glancing away. “Cutting edge again huh?” Grimace grates superficially.
“Not quite what I had in mind for a challenge” Frown flashes.
“I hope not!” Worry surfaces.
“Just don’t know if I can face it all again.” Fear flickers.
“Only you can make that decision Simon. I guess you have to weigh up the consequences. The pain, the quality of life as well as quantity.” State the bloody obvious, you patronising fool.
“It might buy me a couple more years with the kids.” Eyes dart. He seeks to sight the two blonde innocents. I fight back tears. Struggle, win.
“If they say two years that means at least five if it’s you Simon. You are Super Simon. You always beat the odds!” Please God, let it be true again. Attempt confidence bolster. “Damn it Simon, just look at what you have overcome in the past!”
“Yeah, right. I don’t feel super. Sure as hell don’t feel strong.” Scars from earlier battles etch deep. Handsome dash has now been superseded by weary tolerance. Bleached countenance replaces sun-bleached hair. Clothes swamp a scarecrow frame. Frailty prevails.
“How are you feeling now?” Gazes meet.
“Like crap Muriel” Glimmer of old Simon. Glimpse of past repartees, normal life. Lips tilt in semblance of shared smile. Memories. Legs cross, uncross. Discomfort emanates from every pore. Pain shadows gaunt features. I try not to notice. Not to let him notice me notice.
Eyes search across the warmth. Stare deepens as he finds the tall, cool blonde observing, guarding. Ever watchful, signal seeking. Ready to launch escape plan when deemed essential.
“She doesn’t deserve this.”
“Neither do you.”
“God, I am so tired.”
“No-one would blame you if you decided against it.”
“Oh.” Silence.
He straightens, smiles, rallies, “How are the boys going at school?” Subject closed. For now. Forever.
Our last conversation. Simon no longer super. They lied. It’s not Christmas yet. Its not even near Christmas. God has cancelled Christmas, Simon is gone. I don’t believe there is a God anymore.


Teni said...

That's so beautiful and poignant... I'm in tears, wishing I could remember the very last conversation I had with some special people.

InkPaperPen said...

Just letting you know that I have read this post. I need to stop back later and comment when I have some peace and quiet - so that I can think about what I want to say. Be back later. Gill xo

InkPaperPen said...

First of all, sorry for your loss, it is a very very sad situation. In regards to your writing, well, this is another powerful piece from you, and anther very emotive, personal piece. I think the short sentences you have used in between the dialogue reflect the "uncomfortableness" of such a conversation. And also show us what you are thinking. And how it differs from what you are saying. You say you wrote this from a memory? I'm interested as to how long after the conversation you wrote it down? Gill xo

Madmother said...

It was only a matter of weeks. My husband hates my memory. I can quote word for word conversations we have had in the past (very handy in arguments) or recall phone numbers I have only called once or twice months before.

Boy 1 is the same (was great for cramming for uni exams, only had to read something once or twice and could retain it). Has faded a little with age, but not too much.

Madmother said...

He died in early August. I was really angry because it was so damn short of even the worst prediction, and because I did not take a photo this night in July, when my child and he snuggled together. Off to write a post on my general blog, the doors of a fading memory are opening.