The morning mid-June when the sky is a pink smear and your veins itch, but for once you feel clear. The twenty minute airbus trip to the Centers for Psychotherapy and Wellness for a session with your therapist. Positively and negatively charged ions of emotion, he coos. We can only influence what’s before us, in the now. The night you sneak into the Satsekura building, wander the corporate gardens, and Jamie steals a rose for you, a real one. You fuck on a holographic beach in the Caribbean. The mornings alone with your thirteen pills with breakfast. The afternoon watching instructional videos on your cerebral feed, when you buy a vase and fill it with water, scout a vacant spot on the roof. The Friday once a month at the Okoyo clinic. For four hours you lounge in the orange recliner, read celebrity gossip while praxolidone drips into your bloodstream. The weekend following the Friday once a month when you vomit in the toilet after every meal. The quiet fleeing days. The times when the headaches and nausea lift and you’re clear again, or close enough. The sun in your skyward eyes, the petals of Jamie’s rose so real between your fingers, when you think, This is how it’s supposed to feel. The days when the sun is a bleak light. Snow fills your bootprints so fast you are lost. The moment you discover your airbus card must have fallen out of your pocket sometime during a trip inner city. You ride on the back of Jamie’s zephyr and freeze, almost spin out on the way to the clinic for blood work. The afternoon in April when anaplastic and glioma enter your vocabulary, and everybody wants to discuss treatment plans. The starless night when you don’t care anymore, and don’t want to be found, and Jamie traces the map of your veins with petal softness. The night you revisit that is never the night of your relapse but the night the contours of your bodies disintegrated, and your minds colored into each other’s like bleeds of ink; when he felt the reach of your illness and you felt his compassion unfold. The August day when you get lazy hiding your skinjacks and a co-worker reports you. The August day when you quit, decide to share Jamie’s Leavenworth flat, and take your relationship to “the next level”. The week before Christmas when so much is wrong. Jamie’s gift is to lock himself in the bathroom and threaten suicide all night. New Year’s when you’re drug crazy, heartbroken, and hide from the sun all afternoon because the high is too high, burns too bad. You dig up the veins in your open forearm with fingers as red as your once stolen rose. The long wasted days at a different clinic where the beds take more than they give and the clocks are all conspirators. Random calls to the operator because there’s nothing else to do and you hate this fucking place. The Monday afternoons when you videochat with your therapist, and life is again reduced to positively and negatively charged ions of emotion. Our pasts are marked by wounds, he coos, but it’s our eyes that need the bandages removed. When you pick at your own bandages the nurses gently scold you. You do it anyway, where the bloodstains are darkest, searching for more roses. The days when the doctors are suckers and your intelligence embarrasses them all, but they still won’t discharge you. The mornings, afternoons, and evenings when Jamie visits, and looks hollow. Something about the room, the flowery disinfectant smell, the timid green walls, makes him reminisce. One of these days he’s gonna bust you out of here. Hide away on that fake beach in the fake Caribbean, he jokes; Get well on our own terms. Steal something real, you think. The times Jamie goes to leave and lingers too long at the door. The times he apologizes and you don’t ask why, and he doesn’t look back, and show his face.
More of Jon Mcgill‘s stories can be found at Fiction 365 and Journal of Microliterature. Sometimes he blogs at his website, http://mylifewithlorazee.wordpress.com/.