Under My Skin
Best to get it over with now. I type: I had the thought today.
I click send.
For a few seconds, I watch the screen, waiting for her to reply. I can’t expect Dr. Shaw to be right there to answer me. She’s probably in session with someone.
A group of students pass by, chattering and laughing, light at bubbles. They halt at the curb to wait for the light to change. They’re all wearing NYU sweatshirts and carrying messenger bags or laptops with silkscreen logos about “being green” and “tolerant of diversity.” Adventurers embarking on the quest known as Life. What it must be like to have a whole lifetime to look forward to, no dead end staring back at you.
My mobile buzzes.
It’s Dr. Shaw. Tell me the exact thought and context.
I had a flutter. After, I saw Mum and Dad. Their backs were turned to me and I thought: They’d be happier without me. They’ll be fine after I’m dead. I click send and try to ignore the gnawing pit in my stomach. My message seems dramatic now that I’ve sent it off for her to scrutinize. It was better left unsaid.
A bubble with three dots surfaces at the bottom of my screen. She’s typing right now. I suck in a dry, exhaust laden breath.
She replies: What evidence do you have that they’ll be happy?
That was simple. They were laughing.
Your death will be devastating to them.
My heart twinges a bit. Will be? Does she somehow know I won’t make it until I find a donor? Maybe the surgeon told her I’m not a candidate. I blink and re-read her statement. No, I’m over-reacting. She’s just countering my argument with logic. It’s her style to challenge me with the opposite idea so I’ll find the reality somewhere between. Still, I’m not ready to admit she’s right. Mum and Dad don’t need me dragging them down. I text, Yes, but they’ll be alright.
Of course they will. Life goes on.
Dr. Shaw is unrelenting in her approach. So different from Mum who tries to comfort me with delusional happy thoughts.
Right. And I’m such a burden on them now.
Whatever you think they’re sacrificing is nothing compared to how much you mean to them.
I’m tired of waiting for my heart to stop.
Do you want it to stop? You won’t suffer anymore.