fear. anxiety. thanatophobia.
I’m struggling today. That much I know it’s true. The room is spinning. My heart has entered another realm. And I cannot sense the world around me. The due date is approaching fast and rather dramatically. The concept of a ticking bomb exploding. I mean, the metaphor is traumatizing. There are so many things to say and do and yet I am here sitting at my desk being swallowed into the black hole. The Dr. Who’s theme song playing in the background, well at least in my mind, as I travel through space. Unlike Dr. Who’s opening sequence, I travel through darkness. No bright lights or swirls to guide me through.
But enough about the picture I’m trying to portray. The sun has dimmed a little due to the overcast forecast. For once the weather mate told the truth. Chance of showers at seventy percent. The soft drizzle begins to drum on the glass. What a miserable day? The humidity doesn’t help. But that is not my concern, not at all. The bruise on my right foot will be the end of me. My expiry date. That thought has been boggling my mind all morning. The devastation of a painful death. The thought championing my demise. Hence, my struggle. The momentum of a sick mind never ends. At times the meds alleviate the symptoms, other times there is no response whatsoever. As if knocking on a door no one answers.
“It’s a race, I tell ya,” Cedric says on a cue passing by my door.
Indeed it is a race but I have no clue what he’s talking about and I do not inquire as he disappears to his room.
Every crackle and strain sends me into an anxiety fit. Is this my doom, I ask. But the bruise on my right foot is much concerning and I refuse to take my eyes off of it. What if staring at it keeps me alive? With that preoccupation, I miss Cedric reappearing at my door. “Knock. Knock,” he mouths as he knocks on the door frame. Like the sound of knocking wasn’t enough, he needed to echo it. “So, what do you think?” He holds out paper with two indistinctive scribbles. “The mascot or the reptile?”
“Huh?” I finally utter with the little strength and interest that I have left. As much as I am worried about the end of my life, the depression hasn’t waivered. So carrying vastly about my well-being and giving little shit about everything else, has made me numb to the feelings and existence of others. Yes. Maybe it’s an oxymoron.
Although neither scribbles resemble a mascot or a reptile, I reply, “The reptile,” and I am back examining the bruise. Has it grown since seconds ago?
Thinking that my answer would have sufficed Cedric and the need for interaction, he asks mournfully looking at me. “What’s with the getup?”
“What getup?” I ask.
“The tie and the suit?”
“Oh,” and I look down at my grotesque purple tie, the one my mother gave me for some interview that I have never attended. “My impending death,” I answer.
“Isn’t it a bit too early?” He jokes. “Stuck on the socks, I see,” he points to my bare feet and pats my shoulder. “What’s the matter, Kenny?” He knows me too well and hovers until I answer.
“Yeah, I got one, too,” and he lifts the bottom of his shirt to his chest. The fist-sized bruise all on display on his side.
“I told you. Sports are dangerous. You can get hurt. Internal bleeding.”
“Harmless roughhousing. Let’s see yours.”
I lift my foot and rest it on the chair in front of us. The pea-size of it lacks comparison to Cedric’s bruise, but still, it can be malignant.
He crouches beside the chair and taps by big toe gently. “Any pain?” He asks.
“Hmm,” and with that, he gets up. “Should we find matching socks? Maybe purple?”
“To match my hideous tie?”
“Well, it’s better than the white.” For a moment, he stays on that thought before moving to ask again, “How about sandals?”
“The sandals,” I nod but my anxiety has engulfed me and as soon as I rise, I faint a little. The erratic spin of thoughts spin the room as well, but Cedric stands like a post holding me up as I lifelessly drag my feet into the first sandal, then the other. The crutch that he has become supporting through the rages of alarm and I am the broken leg.
He doesn’t hurry me; rather smiles. The smile that tells me it’s alright, that I’ll be alright.
“Let’s take a walk,” I echo what the doctor has prescribed. A moment to let time pass, to distract my thoughts, to move and take account of my limbs and breaths. The walk seems to do the trick.
But the bruise lingers on, living in my mind as if something that has come in with the night.
© Jacob Greb — 2021
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