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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

You want cream in that?

So Love said: "do what you have to do.”

Said, “do you have to?”

Said, “I never thought it was going to be like this.”

Said, “I feel like you’re going to a place I can’t go.”

Said, “I’m losing you, bit by bit.”

Said: “when are we having lunch?”

I asked: so, um, am I weird now?

Love said: “Yes, you are weird.”

Said, “but you were always weird.”

Said, “this is a little weirder.”

Said: “but, honey, lots of things are weird.”

Love said: “will we still be able to make love?”

Said, “does this make me a lesbian now?”

Said, “you shaved your legs?”

Said, “.... your arms too?”

Said: “this is getting a little hard to think about.”

Love said: “You know, if you got some awful disease, like Parkinson’s or something, I’d be -- I’d take care of you. You know?”

Ah. I have the awful disease. Ah. We’re invoking that clause, then. But that’s fair. We said it was a condition. We accepted that there is a course of treatment generally prescribed. We have heard that not to pursue the treatment is sometimes fatal. Love understands all that, but get this: it’s still hard for Love. This treatment kills the beloved, and sends home this other person, sometimes familiar -- still cracking the same stupid jokes -- but alien, permanently so.

What it’s like: leprosy, elephantiasis.

What it’s like: cancer.

Cerebral palsy.

What it’s like.

It’s the burn unit.

It’s watching your child drown.

I reached out to give Love a hug. Love said: “not today, OK?”

Right to the solar plexus, that was.

I sat in the bath, leaning against the cold porcelain, weeping. I looked down, through a blur, at my breasts. They’re not going anywhere.

Love said, “god, don’t treat everything as a tragedy.”

Said: “who would I drink coffee with in the mornings?”

Love said: “So, you want cream in that?”

Beloved with her poppies

-- risa b


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