Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Essays from the Deep

" don't think about it at all,
just keep your head low,
and don't think about it all ..
.. soldier on, soldier on
keep your heart close to the ground."

- Temper Trap 'Soldier On'

Yesterday, after a really, REALLY hard weekend, two birds flew right underneath the wheels of my car. I was driving down the main street of town .. there was no time to stop, just - bammo. I searched my rear view mirror as I drove off, willing them to be ok. I had killed one. I'm a bird killer. There is no meaning to be made of it. Sometimes, things happen in life that make no sense at all. Ever.


My two boys have been sick for days. Tired and cranky and sick and naughty. I have had no reprieve at all, as Dave has been away. It's been hard. I kept having flashbacks, to when Dave was down in hospital getting surgery and his first dose of chemo. Rocco was a newborn. My husbands cancer was a boa constrictor and swallowed my baby whole ... it spat out a tricky two-year old to me, only recently. What?


Tomorrow is a cancer check-up, down at the Big Hospital. I'm sure it will be fine. I'm sure it will be fucked. One of those statements is true. Dave scoffs, whenever I ask him what he thinks. It's hard to believe he ever had cancer at all. The only proof, it seems, is the huge vertical scar on his tummy, when they opened him up to see how far it had spread. Oh, cancer, you spanish dancer. You tried to hide but we found you, peekaboo!


Do you know what the biggest symptom of cancer is? Flu-like symptoms. Of course, our boys have been unwell, so it makes sense that Dave being sick lately is that he just caught something from them.


These past two years, I have often thought of the cancer ward. It was just horrible - and not because it was a cancer ward. Because it was right next to a big dumping ground for all of the garbage in the hospital. Because it stank. Because it had contaminated water when Dave was in there ... because it was dark and depressing and there was no light at all. One night, a guy walked in to Dave's room and took a piss in the hand basin. Dave feebly told him to fuck off and called the nurse, who got the cleaners to come and disinfect it straight away because piss is radioactive during chemotherapy. Another night, the Buddhist nun had a fit in her bed next to Dave's. He saved her life by pressing the buzzer - but she was so ill. I'd be surprised if she was still alive today. Her friends used to come in and sit around her bed, praying and chanting. Dave found it soothing.

The absolute worst thing about the cancer ward, was the artwork. I remember holding everything together, carrying Rocco in the sling, walking through it all .... but it was the artwork that made me despondent, want to slit my wrists. I'd always told myself that if Dave stayed any longer in that ward, I'd take down some of our art and hang it on his wall.

I still want to. I'll go with Dave to his appointment tomorrow, just to be annoying supportive .... and I will tell him my plan to take new artwork down to his old stomping ground. Something with some light in it, for goodness sake. He'll probably tell me to go for it - he always does.

Imagine if I didn't even ask the hospital, if I just waltzed in with beautifully coloured canvasses under my arm ... and swapped it over with all the bad art. (Bad art! Naughty!)

I think I will.


Obviously, on a deep level, my concerns regarding my husbands health have been triggered lately, which is why I can't catch a breath or a wave or a break. I know that he will be given the all-clear tomorrow. He always does.

And yet .... I keep thinking of that poor little confused birdie, standing next to its mate on the road, wondering why he won't get up and fly away.
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