A Character Sketch: A Double Dose of Comatose and the Cancer that Wouldn’t Quit

You are standing on your second story porch overlooking the adjacent Hebrew cemetery thinking about the Oneiroi and surrounding lineage, as the sun climbs up the arc of the sky welcoming the morning, looking towards the day, and leaving you with the question of not if, but when will you fall today.

You are overly active and a procrastinating over achiever and during ice breakers, your fun fact is ironic because no one would think that someone with that kind of energy would be a Narcoleptic, or in other words, a sleepy mess of slumped over shakes that comes on randomly and inconvienently. In the “getting to know you” circle, one girl says she can quote every line from “Finding Nemo” and another reveals he’s double jointed in his elbows. Smiling, you say, “I have Narcolepsy.” It’s a breakthrough because you used to avoid even the word Narcolepsy but now, you say it because it’s ironic, but more because you’re scared if you fall down in the meeting, people won’t know what to do or what’s happening. They laugh; you laugh. You thank the cosmos for good humor.

It was a Wednesday evening right before your radio show when you heard the voice mail from Dr. Drummond with the final diagnosis. And you called your mother and father and best friend to no avail. And then finally, you decided to call her. Liz. You call her and for the first time in months, her vaguely familiar voice says “hello?”

Your worried she’s┬ámad for seeing your name on the caller I.D. but you continue anyway. You tell her and she listens and ten minutes later you exhale for what seems like the first time in the whole conversation. And she cries a little for having called you crazy and lazy for so many years. (It’s very, very quiet but mostly, it’s a calm, slow sob). She is in remission from her second bout of cancer and she’s been through the doctor’s and the diagnoses’ and the hospitals, and that creeping feeling of being alone even when you’ve got so much love and support your heart can hardly hold it. The next two hours of phone conversation feel like you might be sisters again, but you’re still cautious because her synthroid hormones make her irritable and the last time she saw you was when you were wearing your birthday crown on August 11th 2010 while everything and everyone seemed to break into tiny pieces on the back patio while your friends threw you a party by the pool and you missed it to stay with the pieces of your mom, dad and older sister.

You talk about your shared and separate hardships and you regret the years you’ve both wasted on bitterness, though a stretch and pull (it’s a gnawing feeling) clings every now and then to the silent gaps when you are just happy to hear her breathe through the receiver. And you both talk about how you’re worried about your younger siblings, Graham and Sarah, because they have no problems to speak of to make them wise like us, and now, Mom and Dad are financially stable and so Graham and Sarah seem spoiled and we complain that they don’t read enough. And then, she says “Who are we kidding. Graham is smarter than both of us combined and Sarah has so much life and creativity she can’t contain her enthusiasm for even a second. They’re not sick. They’re not sad. They’re going to be fine. We’re the messed up ones.” She laughs; you laugh. You thank the cosmos for good humor (yet again). If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, and today you fell again, almost off the second story porch. And when you woke up hanging just inside the rail, you wondered if the Oneiroi and his lineage would just give a bit of mercy today, just long enough to make it to class and maybe get a cup of coffee to feed into the Narcoleptic’s grand illusion of thinking caffeine might help give a little push.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.