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As I Lay Dying 1480  35

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As I Lay Dying
« on: January 26, 2018, 02:43:20 PM »
        The flat, elongated beeps from one of the machines irritated me as I began to writhe my feeble corpse once more, trying to adjust to a position that would lessen the pain. My erratic heartrate's repetitive internal throb drove into me the pressing need for a smoke, that I'd been kept from for 4 and a half days now. I tried to scratch a hard-to-reach itch on my left side near the incision, but couldn't quell that urge as the reach was sending searing pain through my entire left side. I gave up and laid back down. Oxygen. I felt like I needed oxygen, like I couldn't breathe. I imagined a cigarette between my lips, and started to inhale at the thought, only to be hit with a sudden urge to throw up. I hurriedly reached for the tray on the stand beside the bed, but my shaky hand fumbled it, and it clattered to the floor. I tried to retch so it didn't get on me or the bed, but trying to hang my head over the edge caused that red-hot flame of agony to tear at my left side again, and I ended up covered in it. As I was recovering, I noticed someone vanish from the doorway to the room that hadn't been there the last time I looked. The movement seemed to be that of a person caught in the act, and my eye only just caught the movement, but could recall no details of who it might have been.

   I looked around for something to clean up the mess with, and seeing no alternative, started using the clean parts of the bed sheet to wipe up some of the mess before pressing the call button.

   The minute and a half before a new nurse entered the room seemed a lot longer. She looked to me to be about about 50 years younger than myself. Her long, dark brown hair was pulled back into a tidy ponytail, with a few loose long bangs framing her narrow hygienically attractive face. She wore pale blue feminine scrubs that encased her slender figure as she wiped me and then the floor. She methodically washed her hands in the sink against the wall. By the time she checked the IV and my temperature and blood pressure, I cursed myself as I felt the rush of blood. I looked away.

   I heard a low, concerned,“Hmmm” as she read the blood pressure reading. I glanced at her and she gave me a forced, polite smile that did the opposite of reassure me. She pressed her lips together and recorded something on my chart. She approached and wrapped an elastic around my arm and smoothly slid a needle into the crook of my arm. She missed the vein, and pulled it out and tried again. Her delicate, narrow but longish fingers felt along my bumpy, wrinkled skin and pushed the veins around gently, searching. She tried a few more times and I started to wince a bit with each fresh poke in the same previously gouged area.

“Got it,” she said softly at last. I watched the vial filling for a moment, then looked away.

She left.

   She returned with a stretcher, fresh bedding, and another nurse, an older, rounder woman with curly, graying ginger hair pinned back tightly at the front and deeply etched frown lines giving her a harsh appearance.

   Together, they lifted me onto the stretcher, changed the bedsheets and my hospital gown in silence, then set me back on the bed, and wheeled away the stretcher and the dirty laundry.

   I caught a glimpse in the hallway of a senior woman with white hair wrapped up in a bun staring intently into the room. She caught me looking back, appeared uncomfortable, perhaps lost, but didn't look away. There was something familiar about her but I had no clue who she was or what she was doing standing in the middle of the hospital hallway staring into my room. It was her, I realized, that had caught me puking and darted away earlier.

   I started coughing. I wanted a smoke, and badly. I looked to the doorway again, and she was still there. She had moved closer to the door, but not quite in the doorway yet. And she was still staring at me. I figured she was demented or confused, but the look in her eyes said otherwise.

I narrowed my eyes and my forehead scrunched unconsciously and I tried to place her.

She took a step back to make space for Dr. Carson to enter my room, carrying my chart. She moved out of sight.

He stopped at the foot of the bed and launched into a lot of medical jargon that I was too nauseated to pay attention to, but one little detail caught my attention.

“...92% of those with Stage 4 kidney cancer will not be alive in 5 years time...”

I also remembered hearing a few other tidbits.

“...kidney cells not responding to chemo, but we've exhausted all alternatives...out of options...”

“...the upcoming weeks will be rough...it was in the bone last time and you only have the one leg...”

“...quit smoking...”

And then he was gone. Quit smoking, I thought, yeah, fuck that. Lil late for me.

   I looked down at my leg. I reached my left hand to touch partway down my leg, below my left knee where they'd removed it two years earlier, but just that simple reach couldn't be made without excruciating pain in my left side where they'd operated to remove part of my kidney and the tumor engulfing it.

I felt nauseated, but it was more than that. Everything ached. I stared at the clock on the wall, without noticing the numbers.

I rubbed the top of my head, and thought back to when I had hair. I pondered the doctor's words. I felt a painful hunger but no appetite. I felt like throwing up. I needed a smoke. I started trying to scoot over to numb the pain that seemed to emanate from just about everywhere.

And there she was again, staring.

The eyes. I had this feeling I'd seen them before.

She took a step toward the doorway and appeared to be waiting.

“Yo,” I called out.

For the first time, she broke into a tentative smile.

“Hi,” she said.

The voice. It couldn't be. That would be insane. It was creakier and thinner, but I knew that voice.

I was flabbergasted.

“What are you doing here!?” I said, sounding as shocked as I felt.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 03:33:28 PM »
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 08:42:40 PM »
She didn't answer right away, but took slow steps towards me until she was right beside the bed.

She took a deep breath. Then another. And then looked at me directly.

“I...” she said, seeming to struggle for breath, then paused.

“Lived...” she got out shakily, and her chin started to quiver, “for this.”

I was the one staring now.

“Telling myself I'd see your face again one day was how I made it through. I still...love you every bit as much as...I loved you back then.”

She looked at me for for a moment of suspended silence.

I was stunned speechless.

“I know,” she whispered, her eyes full of tears that hadn't yet fallen, ”you don't...remember me. That's okay. But you...were it...for me,” her voice cracked as she fought to make words.

 She started to turn to leave, and made it almost out the door, at a staggering pace for a person of our age.

I started, but gathered my wits enough to call her name.

She stopped. She turned to face me again. Her mouth partially opened and then partially closed rapidly and her eyes lit up.

“You heard me. Get back here.”


“You!” My voice came out strained. “I thought I'd never see you again!”

She stared at me like I was a trillion dollars, and an unfettered smile started making its way to her face and seemed to get stuck there.

I blurted out, “So I'm dying.”

She nodded slowly.

“I know.”

“How!?” I demanded, incredulous.

“I mean, we're all dying. We were already dying when we were 28 and 32. It's just more obvious now.”

“Always the smartass, aren't you.”

She laughed.

I noticed that I suddenly didn't feel sick anymore. I was sitting up, although concentrating on it made me notice the burning pain in my side again, but it didn't feel as painful now. I could barely notice it at all.

“What do you have?” she asked.


“Well, I told you to quit smoking,” she said in that simultaneously serious and unserious way of hers with an impudent mouth pursed in a semi-smile.

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” I grinned.

She was smiling enormously now.

“You,” she said, still smiling, “have no idea how badly I've missed you all this time.”

“You would be wrong on that one,” I answered.

“How would you know?” she said, her face suddenly looking more sullen.

“I lied.”


“When I told you...I was over you. I was just as fucked up as you were. I just didn't want to take what you had away from you.”

She didn't say anything for a little while. She looked into my face and then looked at the ground.

“Are you...like...with anyone now?” she asked.


“I'm...yeah...I'm also...” she trailed off.

“Also? Also?” I pressed.

“Okay, this is a little weird,” she laughed, and looked at the ground again.

“What's weird?”

“This...like...whole thing!” she struggled to get the words out.

“You mean you stalking me AGAIN, 40 years later? Couldn't get enough of me?”

She giggled.

“Well, I can just let you die alone, too,” she said with a smile.

“No, that's okay! Death by stalker beats death by cancer any day!”

There was a pause.

Then she asked, “Do you still have...the thing I made you?”

“Which “thing”? That's pretty vague, ya know!”

“Well, like, the thing I mailed you?”

“It's in a box somewhere. So yeah.”

“I would have kept everything, I mean not that there really was an everything, I mean not really much of anything, but it was everything to me, like I mean, I...” she trailed off.

Then she asked, “Did you ever try the mustard?”

“You came all the way over here after all this time to ask me if I tried mustard.”

She laughed again, then seemed to wait for an answer.

“I threw it out. Never tried it.”

She seemed to be staring off at nothing now.

There was silence for awhile, then she said, “Well, it was really neat to see you again. Sorry, I didn't...well, um, good luck with everything!”

Then she started towards the door again.

“Where the fuck are you going?”

“I...uhm...” was as far as she got.

“I like my fucking French's fucking normal yellow mustard. Dammit, woman.”

“But...it's gross compared to my favorite mustard, like, I don't get why you would spend your entire life eating bad mustard. I think it's just as likely you're dying to inferior mustard as smoking.”

I laughed.

It turned into a cough. I kept coughing.

She came closer and started gently patting my back. I started hoping I didn't still have any of the vomit smell on me as I continued to cough, feeling very short of breath.

“Wow, you really are dying,” she said, sounding almost disturbingly happy about it.

The cough became a laugh again.

“You still look sexy,” she whispered.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 09:47:23 AM »
thats why i got vapes
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 10:24:33 AM »
I started having symptoms and had to leave work early and go to the clinic on Thursday. I have the flu 😖 it felt like I was dying to but starting to feel a little better. Exactly a month before that on Christmas Eve I was the same way for about 3-4 days, I wonder if I caught both A/B because they said it is possible.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 10:33:48 AM »
I started having symptoms and had to leave work early and go to the clinic on Thursday. I have the flu 😖 it felt like I was dying to but starting to feel a little better. Exactlya month before that on Christmas Eve I was the same way for about 3-4 days, I wonder if I caught both A/B because they said it is possible.

Yeah I got a really bad case about 6 months ago, it was truely aweful. Worst I've ever had, and I hardly ever get sick.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2018, 11:10:22 AM »
I was reading 108 deaths from it so far this year.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2018, 09:02:01 PM »
At once I felt a rush throughout my body, most notedly below my abdomen.

“You gonna straddle me in my hospital bed as I lay dying?”

She laughed.

When her eyes returned to my face, she looked flushed and was biting her lip, looking decidedly like an eternally aged schoolgirl.

She burst into a quiet nervous chuckle and looked at the floor.

I derived much entertainment from watching her get all flustered.

“You look like you're thinking about it...and enjoying it,” I pressed, somewhat trying to hold back a grin but failing.

“You!” she exclaimed, with mock incredulity.

“What!? You started it.”

“So...” she started, “it's been mild for this time of year. Almost feels like spring is here early!”

“Surrrre, change the topic!”

She looked like she was trying to come up with some retort but failing.

“I still can't believe you're really here!” I exclaimed. “This is crazy!”

She nodded slowly with raised eyebrows and a scrunched mouth. “Oh, I am crazy. Definitely crazy. But you did it to me! You have only yourself to blame, you recalcitrant lying heart-stealer!”

The shock of the situation was starting to set in and I needed a cigarette. I inhaled deeply, then audibly released the air.

I covered my face with my hands and rubbed my cheeks and forehead forcefully while shaking my head.

I looked up.

She was still there. She really was here.

I suddenly wanted to hold her. I wanted a lot of things, but a stab of pain from my left side reminded me that I was now restricted by the reality of my condition. I imagined standing up and taking a step towards her and wrapping my arms around her, but I could barely move at the moment and I'd more or less given up my walking days with the leg.

I tried to hide my chagrin and tried to hide that everything hurt, then tried to remember the last thing she'd said.

Her face softened and expressed concern.

“Are you okay?” she asked. “You...it looks like you're uncomfortable,” she said.

“It's just a bit sore from surgery,” I answered noncommittally, nodding toward the incision on my left side.

“So they...removed...” she started. It was a question.

“A baseball-sized tumor and part of my left kidney,” I responded. “They had to remove my leg a couple years ago.”

“Can I...see? Your feet. Or foot. Whatever you have left. Sorry, that sounds weird,” and she laughed again.

I pulled the blanket up to reveal a solitary bare foot at the end of the bed.

She walked over to it and ran a finger very lightly along the side of it. It tickled and I jerked my foot, causing my side to screech in pain again, and I flinched visibly.

“Sorry,” she whispered, and set both hands more firmly on my foot and started softly stroking it in a way that felt really nice. Then she bent down and kissed my toes.

I instantly felt liquid fire coursing throughout my entire body. My pulse started picking up.

She stood up and a wisp of hair got caught sideways over her face as she straightened. She tucked it behind her ear and looked a bit pink.

She looked at me biting her lip while smiling. I tried to keep breathing normally.

She came over to me from the end of the bed and put her arms around me. She smelled faintly like lemon and vanilla, which reminded me of cake. I put my arms around her and inhaled her sweet scent, starting to wonder if perchance I might be dreaming.

   Then she moved back a bit and looked at my face, and slowly reached her hands halfway toward my face, then paused mid-air.

“May I?” she whispered.

I gave a tiny nod.

She cradled my face gingerly with her weathered hands and with a feather-light touch ran her fingers down my face.

A sudden flash from decades before came to mind.

We were much younger then. She was leaning back against the door of my truck, her long hair framing her smiling face as she stared at me intently.

“So you should kiss me,” she'd grinned.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 10:33:47 AM »
“I can't do that and you know why.”

“You mean I can't pass it off as fantasy?”

“You absolutely cannot. I'm standing right here in front of you.”

“Then you should not kiss me,” she'd said with this coy and expectant look that made me want to not only kiss her senseless, but also make her as totally and completely mine as humanly possible.

“I should not kiss you,” I'd repeated, confused, since the words didn't match the look on her face.

“Yeah,” she'd said breathily, “like, um, come up close and go like, act like, as if you were about to...kiss me, but not...kiss me.” She was looking flushed. She looked down at the ground and bit her lip yet again, then glanced back up at me.

I'd walked up to her, placed my hands on the truck door with her head in between and glared at her.

“Do you know what you're asking of me?” I'd half-growled. Our bodies were nearly touching. Mine most definitely wanted to be.

She'd looked up at my face with wide eyes.

My name emerged from her lips as a helpless whimper.

“You,” I groaned.

“You,” I repeated, fighting the urge to put my hands all over her.

“I love you. I love you so much I...you made me completely crazy...and your face...I don't want to live without seeing your face, hearing your voice, getting to talk to you, be with you...it's you! It's always gonna be you,” she said as tears started running down her face.

I wiped her tears with my thumbs and kissed her forehead and hugged her close to me.

She held me with her head against my chest and her hands started stroking my back and I started hoping she couldn't tell how much I was enjoying her being that close. She kissed my cheek and backed up so our faces were inches apart.

I could feel her breath. I could see her inviting pink mouth right in front of me. I had a flash of ravaging her in the back of my truck or on the grass behind the gas station. I forced myself to step away from her.

“You should go,” I said darkly. “You have a long drive ahead of you.”

“I don't want to go,” she said in a weakly defiant murmur.

“You need to go or you...things could get really out of hand really fast.”

“What do you mean?” she asked in a little voice.

“Don't play innocent with me. You know.”

She was quiet for awhile, until she softly stated, “I wouldn't mind dying a bit right now. 'Cause I got to see you. Still can't think of a better way to go than in your arms!”

“No! You gotta live!” I said adamantly.

“What kind of life is a life without you when I feel this way about you?”

“You'll get over it. You just gotta get over it.”

“I'll never get over it.”

“You gotta forget about me.”

“I could never forget you. There's no one like you in the entire world.”

“Awww, making me feel special.”

“It's the truth. You are special. I'll love you as long as I live...you told me that before too, ya know.”

I said nothing in reply for awhile.

Eventually, in a strained whisper, I said, “You should go.”

She gave me a betrayed look, then looked away.

I noticed someone I recognized in a small group of young people who were walking by on their way to the gas station.

“Hey Derek!” I called.

“Wow, you know a lot of people around here!” she observed. “Do you know all those people?”

“I just know Derek. I don't recognize the others.”

She looked at me skeptically.

“You're...you're lying! Why are you lying?”

I wasn't expecting this. But I could say the same for a lot of the things that came out of this girl's mouth.

“I'm not lying,” I said, sure that I was telling the truth.

“Why...why would you lie about that?” she sounded bewildered. Was she crazy? Was she messing with me?

She definitely had a quirky side, bordering occasionally on kooky, but this seemed to come from nowhere.

I looked at my phone and realized the time. I really had to leave.

“I have to get going. It's late. You too.”

“Okay,” she said, and started walking backwards while staring at me intently. She started heading toward the gas station.

“You're going the wrong way!” I called.

“Gotta go to the bathroom,” she called back as she continued walking away.

“Bye!” I called.

“Bye!” she returned with a small wave, before disappearing behind the corner.

It surprised me, the vividness of this ancient memory, and it surprised me even more that this same woman was here now four decades later, both of us nearly unrecognizable in our drapery of agedness, but both still internally fully ourselves. I was trying to take it all in, but it seemed rather inconceivable.

She was running her fingers along my face and gazing at me from behind a face that had lived a lifetime apart from me and bore the marks of the passing of time. Her steady gaze was brazenly adoring. Her fingers skimmed from my cheek to my mouth. She whispered my name again. I just stared in disbelief at this woman who seemed to think being around me was paradise.

I was feeling heat spreading throughout my body. I knew parts of my body were calling out in pain, but I barely noticed them now. My pulse began to climb.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2018, 03:55:06 PM »
One of the machines started sounding an alarm.

She stood up quickly and looked worried.

Shortly afterward, the ginger-haired nurse entered briskly and came to silence and inspect the monitors.

She put on the blood pressure cuff on my upper left arm and wrote down the reading on my chart.

“Visiting in this wing is for immediate family only unless you have successfully applied for a special permission tag, but all visitors are required to sign in at the desk,” the nurse stated matter-of-factly, seeming displeased to find someone in my room.

“She's family,” I said quickly.

“Sir, we have a policy. We require sign-in and ID checks. We have no one signed in to visit this room today.”

I glanced at her and could see she was looking down, trying to hide a smile from the nurse's frosty glare.

“I'm going to need to check your ID, ma'am,” the nurse said to her.

She started going through her purse. She paused, seeming to think momentarily. She then resumed digging through her bag.

Eventually she mumbled slowly in a feigned senile manner, “I don't seem to be finding it in here.”

“I'm sorry, but you'll need to leave this area,” the nurse said in a snooty, triumphant tone that indicated an utter and total lack of repentance of any kind. “Is there someone here we can call to help you find your way back where you belong? What's your name?”

“Rose...Dawson,” she said, sounding so much like a demented granny that I almost believed she was. “The necklace is in my pocket!” she croaked, sounding earnestly non compos mentis.

“Stay right there!” the nurse commanded. “I'm gonna call security to help you out.”

The nurse hurried out into the corridor.

“Rose,” after a brief snicker, gave me an extended gaze filled with traces of a lifetime of longing, with a heartfelt partial smile that seemed to be pulled in equal parts toward extreme joy and extreme sadness. She went to the doorway and peeked out and looked in both directions. She waited briefly, then walked out the door.

The raw ache of everything in my body that was expiring or out of order promptly returned.

The nurse returned after about a minute, escorted by a  member of their security personnel.

They both looked at me.

“Where did the lady go who was just here?”

“I thought she was with you!” I said. “Did you lose her? Better hurry, she might fall down the stairs or down an elevator shaft!”

   After the nurse and guard exited, I resigned myself to a night of staring at the hospital walls in discomfort, interspersed with brief periods of sleep that seemed every night to get interrupted by a nurse checking me out, a monitor beeping, or waves of pain coursing through my body while undergoing the remaining days meted out to me before my heart would stop and my life would be finalized as complete.

   I was surprised to see her return to my room shortly after the nurse and guard left.

“What are you doing!? You can get in trouble!” I urged.

She laughed. “What are they gonna do? Jail me?”

She gave me a sassy smile and returned to my side.

“So,” she started, “do I get to hear about your life?”

“What would you like to know?”

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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 06:23:11 AM »
“Everything is too broad! Ask questions. That's a bit easier.”

“Uh. Okay. Um.” she laughed again. “Well, I don't wanna ask about your leg, 'cause maybe it was traumatic or something. I don't wanna ask about your...current situation, you know, dying and everything, 'cause that might be depressing or something. I don't want to ask you about past relationships, 'cause who knows where I'd hit a raw nerve. And...I don't wanna ask about your kids, 'cause like, same reason I guess. But I guess I wanna know about all of that...but I'm fine just talking about nothing too. As long as I'm talking with you!”

“My leg. Yeah. That was a bitch. I wanted to keep it of course but when you have to lose your life or your leg, the leg goes. Took awhile to get used to. I got a prosthetic and hated it. Then I got a wheelchair and advanced to a motorized scooter.”

She was starting to giggle uncontrollably.


“Sorry!” she kept laughing. “I'm sorry.”

She tried to straighten her face and suppress the hysterics, but was losing out.

“So, where's your scooter now?” she hadn't fully bridled her out-of-control laughter.

“What the fuck is so funny!” I said, starting to feel like laughing myself, for no reason in particular other than contagion.

“Just, I was just picturing you leveling up your character when you're like, 'I advanced to a scooter!'” she giggled before bursting into all out hysterical laughter once again.

“My scooter is at my house,” I said flatly, once again wondering if this woman might be crazy but I followed up with an idiot grin in spite of it.

“So, when do you get to go home?” she asked.

“Well, the thing is, my kidney function is so fucking low that they aren't sure I'll ever leave. It's lookin' like I'm about to die here. Could be in a month or a week, no one knows.”

“What about a transplant?” she asked.

“It's a two to six year wait list. I'm on the list, but most likely won't last long enough to get one.”

“Where's your chart?”

“Are you a doctor now?”

“Maybe!” she shot back.

She looked around and located the clipboard with my name on it. She didn't even ask me, just started looking through my chart, flipping the pages. I realized I didn't even mind. She glanced up at me with a fiercely determined look on her face, then back down at the paperwork. She set the chart back.

“So I'd love to hear anything else about your life that you'd care to share!”

“Ask me a question.”

“Did you ever end up getting married?”

“Yeah. But she was a cheating bitch so that didn't last too long.”

She put her hand gently over mine, causing my arm to suddenly feel tingly. A vivacious stream of warmth was spreading like hot syrup throughout my body.

“You don't have to say that,” she said softly. “I know you feel. So she hurt you. I'm really sorry to hear that. It sounds like you didn't get the life you wanted, either.”

“And what did you want that you didn't get?”

She looked me in the eye for a moment of silence, before answering.


“Why me?”

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Her voice was full of emotion as she unhurriedly conveyed her heart to me.

“Well, it sure wasn't 'cause you checked off my boxes. I mean, most of everything about you was a big red disqualifying X in what I'd have wanted in a man. But it was you anyway. What words could ever recreate the magic that made my heart yours? I fell in love with you and I never stopped loving you or missing you. The time we had together, just talking and laughing...it was the happiest I ever was in my life. And then you broke my heart. It just about destroyed me. I tried everything I could to make it stop, and every once in awhile I believed I was moving past it, but it always came back. On my darkest days, it was your name my heart would cry. There were a lot of times I hated you 'cause it hurt so bad that you didn't care. And that you threw me away like I was nothing and never looked back. After everything you said to me. That I believed. But...I don't blame you. Not for what happened and not for what didn't happen. I acknowledge that it was my fault. I'm the one that...I had to live with the decisions I made. But it was hell. Even when I looked okay, which was most of the time, I was dying inside. It was the memories of you that kept me going, and the thought that I'd see you again before I died.”

“I didn't not care,” I said. “There was just nothing that could be done.”

“Did you ever...think about me? I mean, I know there were a lot of girls before me, and probably a lot after me.”

I nodded. “I tried not to. But I thought about you.”

“Was I...was it...the things you told me...” she seemed perturbed as she struggled to say what she was trying to say. She stopped and went quiet for awhile.

“Do you ever think about the power of words?” she queried. “That when I think about it, I fell in love with your words. That it was your words that held me prisoner for a lifetime? I'm sure your sexy voice and face made it all the worse, though!”

“Words are just air. People say shit all the time.”

“So if I asked you to think back over your life and remember words that people said to you that were either beautiful words or harsh, unkind words, you'd come up completely empty-handed?”

I thought about this for a moment.

Images of arguments from half a lifetime ago flashed through my mind, where hastily spewed nasty things had been said. Images of being held postcoitally amid saccharine platitudes were mixed with these. Images from childhood, from school, from work all took their turn, yielding memories in both categories.

“But you choose to let them affect you or not. You don't have to define yourself by other people's opinions,” I rebutted.

“I know. Millions of times I asked myself why what you thought or didn't think of me made any difference. Willing it away didn't really help. I wanted you to be happy but I also, probably selfishly, wanted you to keep on wanting and loving me like you once did. Were you...happy?”

“Not really. Life sucks. Work sucks. People are shitty.”

She looked crestfallen after she took that in.

“I'm really sorry,” she said sadly. “There must have been good things, though!”

“My kids. My grandkids. Though I never got to see them as much as I wanted.”

“Have they been here to visit you? Since the operation?”

“My son's wife is bringing the kids tomorrow.”

“How old are they?”

“I dunno, like high school and college age.”

“How many? Girls or boys?”

“One of each for them. My daughter has two boys and a girl.”

“I have pictures of my grandkids on my phone if you wanna see,” she told me.

“Sure. Let's see if they turned out as cute as you!”

She dug through her purse and pulled out her phone and showed me some pictures of cute little kids while telling me their names and ages and sharing little stories about them. A lot of the details didn't really register, but I was mesmerized by her animated face and the joy on her face as she talked about her family.

Eventually she showed me some pictures of dogs. There was a picture of a rust-colored hound-looking dog laying on a leather couch.

“That's Vincent.”

A picture of a little fuzzy brown mutt came up. “Zane.”

Then there was a picture of the red dog with a Lassie-looking dog running through shallow water at a lake shore. “That's Diaz. With Vincent.”

“How the fuck many dogs do you have?!”

She laughed. “Only three!”

“Interesting names,” I stated.

“Uh huh,” she smiled at me and then returned her hand to softly clasp my left hand.

“I have a few pictures,” I said as I reached for my phone. I growled in pain as the reach sent stabs of torture though my left side.

“Let me grab that,” she volunteered.

She let go of my hand, and it suddenly felt cold and empty. She walked around to the other side of the bed and picked up my phone carefully and passed it to me.


She sat beside me on the other side of the bed.

I flipped through my picture gallery until I found what I was looking for.

She looked at a nice-looking teenage boy in a Steelers winter hat.

“That's Colton, my daughter's son.”

I swiped to another picture.

“There's Brandon, Colton's little brother.”

I changed the picture.

“There's Cara, their sister.”

“The boys remind me so much of how you used to look!”

“What are you saying! You said I was still sexy!” I interjected.

She turned to face me with a tender smile.

“You are. You absolutely are.”

She set her phone on the stand. Then she took mine and put it there too.

She started running her hand up my arm, over my shoulder, up my neck.

I started feeling the rush again.

She cuddled up next to me with her arm around me. Her body next to me was having all kinds of effects on my body, including some disturbance of the catheter line.

She lay next to me quietly. I put my arm around her.

Why does it feel so natural to have someone I havn't seen in half a lifetime laying in my bed with me? I realized I could really go for a shower, only I had to wait until a nurse could take me. My bedmate didn't seem to mind. I'd more or less given up on life and had been just waiting to sink into oblivion any day now, but now I suddenly had motivation to live. I didn't feel like I was dying anymore. I thought about making my way on my own to a shower. I could use my arms and leg to get myself into a wheelchair and wheel myself to a shower room. I'd have to be careful about getting the bandaging around the incision wet. The thought of doing anything besides waiting around for death had seemed impossible this morning.

I started wondering how long she would be around. Images of her in a white dress started playing in my mind. I got around to imagining that white dress coming off. I glanced down at her as she lay next to me with her arm around me, looking entirely content and at peace. I wanted to kiss the top of her head, but I couldn't quite reach, so I ran my hand over her hair instead.

She made a happy “Mmmm” sound, and nestled her head in closer to me.

Another round of pain shot in every direction from my left side and I jerked involuntarily.

“What is it?”

I gestured toward the incision.

“Don't they have you on any pain meds?”

I shrugged. “I think so...they said to press this button to up the dose.” I showed her a little device attached to cords within my reach. “But I've damn near broke the thing off and it doesn't seem to do shit.”

She got up and went over to my chart again.

“It says you're on hydromorphone.” She set the chart down and walked over to the machine attached to the button I'd indicated.

“It's not empty,” she observed. She looked down along the tube. “Ahh, I see. There's a kink in the tube. Do you...want me to unkink it for you?”

“Yes, ma'am,” I said.

She straightened the tubing.

“You'll probably feel more nauseous but less painful after a little bit,” she said. “You might even get a massive dose if you've been pressing the button a ton. Do you want me to get a nurse?”

“No! I like the nurse I have now better!”

She giggled. I patted the bed next to me and gestured an invitation with my head.

She returned to the spot beside me that was still a bit warm from her body heat, and got comfortable next to me with her head against my shoulder again.

How long we lay like that, I wasn't sure, but it was amazing. She'd been silent for awhile and I thought she may have fallen asleep.

I heard footsteps approaching my room door.

I started nudging her shoulder with my hand. “Someone's coming! You probably don't want them to find you here!”

She opened her eyes. She got up quickly and hid behind the curtain that encloses the bed, which was currently all pushed out of the way and over toward the wall.

“I can see your feet!” I whispered loudly.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 11:00:52 AM »

She emerged from behind the curtain and looked around for a better hiding spot.

She started moving toward the bathroom, but the same cranky nurse from earlier entered, and found her standing in my room...again.

“You - you can't be here!” the nurse fumed at her.

 She became the fretful lost and confused granny again. “Jack hasn't had his oatmeal today!” she squawked.

She continued very slowly to the nurse and ignored the irate nurse's attempts to cut her off.

“Darlin', could you fetch me a cuppa tea. And a crumpet. I don't like the edges all burnt so be a dear and make sure you don't overtoast it. And turn the heat up a tad, it's chilly in here.”

The nurse appeared livid. “Excuse me!” she barked. “I'm not – I'm getting security!”

The nurse rushed out.

The pretend senile granny let out a little titter and rushed to my bedside again.

She pulled out a little paper from her purse and wrote down her number on it and put it in my hand.

“I'm gonna go for a bit but I'll be back after a few hours,” she whispered. “What are you gonna do while I'm gone? You can watch TV, right?”

“Nah, not wasting money on that shit.”

She gave me a little headshake that expressed disapproval, but was still smiling. She glanced at the door, then back at me. “See you soon!” she whispered.

 She picked up my hand that was attached to the IV and kissed the skin beside the taping and went to the doorway, looked out for a moment, then disappeared.

Soon after, I heard the incensed nurse's voice approaching from the hallway with a security guard. I pretended to be asleep.

“She was right here a second ago!” the nurse raged. “She's completely unauthorized! No sign-in, no ID, not in her right mind! You have to find her and remove her immediately! It's a violation!”

The security guard took a look in the bathroom. After a brief failed search of my room, they exited.

After they left the room, I looked at her number in my hand. I reached for my phone, ignored the pain of the reach, and grabbed my phone with an agonized growl.

I entered the numbers and sent a message. Heyya!

I held the unresponsive phone for a long while before setting it within easy reach on the bed beside me.

The pain all over seemed to be heavily subdued, but I was starting to feel nauseous again. I wanted a cigarette. The craving came suddenly and severely.

   I gotta start getting out of this bed! I tried to sit up, but my muscles hadn't been used much in long enough that it didn't seem to be working out too well. I grabbed the bed rails with my arms and pulled. It was a struggle but I finally managed to be sitting upright. The pain meds were clearly working now, since even moving this much didn't hurt nearly as much as it had earlier today.

   I looked at all the cords and machines I was attached to. I wanted to yank everything out and get out of this hospital. I looked down and attached to a hook near the foot of the bed, partially covered by the overhanging blanket, was a full bag of urine tinged with blood. I'm really falling apart. Wonder what it's like to die. I always used to think old people were somehow...different. Almost a different species. Now that it's me, I still feel like myself. And I don't like the thought of fucking dying. Now she's here and maybe, who knows. I imagined her in a white dress again, standing on a grassy, sunny riverbank, holding my hand. I pictured making love with her.

   Who am I kidding? I'll probably never get out of this hospital. What can a dying cancer-ridden cripple offer her anyway? “Gee, wanna change my diapers?” But she did come all this way...after all this time. She loves me. Isn't that enough? She loves who you used to be. She's in love with a memory. Or a fantasy. How well do we really even know each other? I don't remember her middle name or last name. I barely remember anything about her other than she's a little crazy, a lot sweet, and she gets me fucking rock hard. The whole thing is just crazy. If she comes back, I'll just ask her to leave. Last thing I need is some female watching me puke and feeling sorry for me. A vision of her smiling face danced through my mind and I felt pangs of its absence.

   I imagined her adoring face as I pleasured her body, wondering what she'd look like if that top and skirt came off. Wonder if her tits are as nice as they used to be.

My phone dinged. I picked it up. Hey! How's it going there?

Shitty. U?

Heh, aww, what's the matter?

This hot older lady got me all excited and then disappeared!

Wow, sounds like a perverted tease of a bitch!

Nah, she's ultra sweet. I just didn't want her to leave!

My, my, makin' me jealous, are we?

I hope so!

Let me guess. Is her name Rose Dawson?

Lol. That is in fact one of her aliases! How are you so well informed on all my visitors?

I've achieved expert stalker level by now, silly. Years of practice.

Lol. What r u up to?

Getting you something. And you better not be difficult about it either.

Let me guess! Is it disgusting mustard or even more disgusting coconut chips? Maybe a cucumber?

Lol. Thought you never tried the mustard? How would you know if it was disgusting?

Ok, hah, you got me. I did try it.

Do you ever like, not LIE?

On special occasions of every leap year. That's about it.

I still don't know if you're lying now or if you were lying earlier! And either way, it's a completely pointless lie!

Maybe I tried it since you last asked me. Did you think about that?

Yeah, I'm sure you sent someone to a distant land to fetch a jar for instantaneous same day delivery.

I feel like you shouldn't judge me based on what mustard I like!

Lol. K, obviously...okay, your new challenge for the day is to get through without lying for the few hours that are left of it.

And does the ban on lying apply to you as well, or me only?

Lol. When did I lie?

It would take longer than I have left to live to list them all.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2018, 03:44:06 PM »
truly frightening content read at your own peril:
then i took a poo on the floor and i started rolling on it. it felt so good. it felt like.. it felt like my dick was getting hard. I took a handful of poo and started stuffing it down my peehole. oh it stung and tickled inside of my dick at the same time. my nipples were starting to get erect. i took my left jiggly mamboob and put the hard nipple in my mouth and started biting. my nipple made a squeeky toy noise as i bit a small particle of my nipple off. blood started gushing. i was starting to get hungry from all this, so i went to the kitchen and took a big meaty sausage out of the fridge. i tied a string on the sausage and stuffed the sausage deep into my rectum for that extra spicyness and then pulled it out again. something felt wrong. the sausage was full of blood. i was bleeding from my asshole. as i fell to the ground i was able to grab a pen and paper from the table. as i lay dying i started to write the recipe for the spicy brown meat sausages. this information is too vital to go to the grave with me. fabio i love you.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2018, 06:21:54 PM »
^^I read the 1st line of Antti’s post an died laughing.
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Re: As I Lay Dying
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2018, 06:22:42 PM »
@mousEtopher gold mine.