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.
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?”
-- risa b