12.05.2008

"I have brought news, and I have brought literature."

Rob--

I really, really miss you today.

Let's start in the middle of this, because I've been having the most terrible sense of deja-vu and I can't get you out of my head, even after our text-message-tet-a-tet last night, and I miss you because I just got home and I can barely type because it is 39 degrees outside. 39.

I remember the window in your hospital room at Mt. Sinai, and I remember looking out of it and thinking "I am never going to forget this view as long as I live", but here I am some five years later not remembering it at all save that I'm sure there were palm trees and lights and maybe you could see the water. What I do remember is the night your morphine drip stopped working and nobody would believe you, and even after you finally fell asleep behind your little curtain with your fingers entwined in mine over your heart and sweat dripping down your forehead that I just kept pushing that fucking button in vain every five minutes hoping I was giving you that much sweeter of dreams. I think I've written about that night before, me hiding in your little room from all the nurses far past visiting hours, you gulping for air, and all of your stitches from your surgery earlier that day.

Yeah, so like I said, Chase's lung collapsed, and I joked about it to him on the way to the hospital all like: "Omigod, you can't breathe right? Maybe you have a bubble in your lung...no wait...maybe your lung collapsed! That happened to my friend Rob once, and they had to jam a fuckin' tube through his ribcage--it was fuckin' knarly!"

Yeah. True story. I said that to him not two hours before his diagnosis.

And so today, instead of telling him that he is likely facing the same lengthy hospital stay you had and the exact same surgery, I went to the bookstore and bought him a mini library of Vonnegut and Kerouac and Burroughs and Miranda July, and when I placed them on his little tray I said "You're going to love Miranda July" and without so much as a single beat skipped he said "so you're saying I'm going to love Miranda?" and then I was left with nothing else to say.

And after I said I Love You I stared into his blank blue eyes as the silence just got longer and longer, and all I could think in my head was how badly I wanted to explain why--why it had to be now, because just like you did, he could die on the fucking table, but he might not be as lucky to be brought back to life some ten minutes later.

No, instead, I kiss him sweetly and tell him he's gonna be fine because you were, but I can see him glancing at the stack of books and newspapers I bought for him and I can tell that he knows that I know that he might be there for a while.

The VA, like Sinai, is a maze of hallways that I'm beginning to be able to navigate without getting lost. I don't like knowing that I know my way around, and I hope for his sake that Christmas will come and he will be with me in his own bed, not waiting until eleven until I show up with a copy of Holidays On Ice, a can of cranberry sauce, and some carefully wrapped t-shirts and flair and music with tags that bear a hand-written heart and an M. I told him of your birthday spent in the hospital, joking about how I had gotten you a sewing machine and only brought the manual because you wouldn't have even been able to pick it up to unwrap it because it was so heavy. He asked me how long you had been in the hospital by the time your birthday came around. I didn't really answer.

He hasn't asked me about Christmes yet and I fear it happening.

But not as much as I fear losing him before that.

Happy Hannukah, Rob. I'm so glad you came back to us.

I miss you and love you.

xoxo
--M

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