I watched the bare lighbulb untit its light stung my eyes. If this was going to be the last thing I was going to see then I wanted to make sure that it was really etched into my memory.

“It’s time,” my doctor said in a calm and serious voice. I didn’t even nod in reply, just closed my eyes and saw the ghost of that lighbulb. It faded slowly. I thought about all the things that I’d seen that day. Curtains. Sunshine. People I didn’t know. An x-ray that looked like an alien. A shaking head from a doctor. A tear of my own falling on my jeans.

“Is it really that serious?” I asked the doctor a few hours earlier. “Yes,” he replied and explained more, “We need to get you on that table as quick as possible.”

I sat immobilised in his office. Sure there were tears. Mostly there was a vague sense of numbness that made me a piece of driftwood on a river approaching rapids. I knew what was coming. I also knew that whatever was coming, I could only ride it.

I’m sure somewhere someone told me that I’m the master of my own destiny. What a stupid thing to say. A teacher once told me that we don’t need to be anxious about exams or something. She said that we don’t need to worry because everything’s going to be alright. Why did no one ever tell me that sometimes things will not be alright? All I have are coffee cup sayings to console me. I have nothing.

And as a I sat with my eyes closed, the mask over my face pumping gas that would make me sleep, I think I realised for the first time that I really, truly, am not in control of anything.


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