January 11, 2010 |
they've moved me into a closet. it has two sinks and a toilet and it's across the hall from the secret big bathroom. they still give me meals, but considering the contents i'm not sure that's any more generous than letting me starve. i've been told that it's advisable to wear my beanie and not leave the closet for long periods of time. i was sitting outside the offices of the doctors, across the hospital, looking through all the kids magazines, when one of the female doctors walked by and informed me that i was being moved into a closet. they need the room, she said. that's fine, but, uh, i don't understand? all the rooms are empty? she thought for a moment, then rephrased that i could no longer be a patient because it is no longer being paid for. the professor's claim that i can stay indefinitely no matter what is becoming more dubious as the days go on. they're trying to get rid of me, but they keep moving me into nicer rooms. first they said they needed my old room, which made sense because it was right near the nurses' station and i was healthy. they told me i was being moved to room 16, "with two other guys." the same room they moved us to last time, with wim and andreas. i was sure i had seen the room full earlier, so i assumed i was being put into position andreas, next to the bathroom. damn. i got my stuff together and prepared for awkward broken english hellos but when i got there the room was empty. i convinced the nurses the move the beds around so that i could be next to the window, in position barry. my old room, in my old spot, alone. now i'm in a larger three person room by myself. occasionally i want to put something on either of the two other beds, but i don't because i want to respect the wraiths of old friends. the desk where wim and i ate breakfast is a messy sprawl of chest x-rays, surgery dissertations, drawings, breathing trainers, my laptop, an otter. he gave me hours in that room, across multiple nights, coming into the room late at night, we would sit together and talk and he would draw and i would breathe. i kicked and screamed and begged and sobbed. he gave me the time to say everything, and i did. "i am not convinced. i will not do it." it's over. i'm free. there is nothing else. i was right to come back, and he did a great job. i only know how to fail at this. i only know how to give up on it and pick myself back up and get knocked down again. i didn't get knocked down this time. i wanted to. it's the only thing i know how to do. i gave up on using the trainers, on exercise. i only want to get cut open. i want to do it again. i want to do it over and over and over. this is what i'm good at. it was too easy this time. i want it to be harder. the other american has had major complications. he had to watch a doctor stick a tube inside of him and drain fluid from around his heart. he's still in a gown and hooked up to an IV. it's only his second surgery. why can't that be me? i would be so much better at it. he's had to have multiple enemas. i talked my way out of all of mine. i'm so good at this. now, i'm nothing. my chest is in one piece. i am nothing. there are sensations in my chest that i don't like. i want to cut them out of me. i don't want to take deep breaths into a plastic whistle and exercise. i want to risk death over and over to get rid of them. if i am dead, i don't have to feel my chest anymore. if i am dead, i am perfect. if i'm alive and not perfect, it is worth risking death again. either i will live and attain perfection or i will die and attain perfection. i don't want anything in between. i came back here exactly like i said i would. laying in bed last time, i knew i would be back. i didn't realize it would take so long or cost so much. i made it all the way to the same exact room in the same exact spot. it was there that i knew it would continue, and it was there that i knew it would end. i did it. now, i am nothing. i have lost the object of my dependence. when i breathe, my chest moves as one. i feel as much joy as i do sorrow. i reached the top of the monolith, and i don't want to come down. i don't want to leave. i want to stay here forever. there is a blizzard outside, but i am hot. i fight with everybody over the windows. i go outside, in front of the hospital, in shorts and short sleeves and open shoes, and all i can see is white. i want to feel this place, i want it to break me, but it doesn't. everybody walking in stares at me. i am freezing but at the same time i am hot. i can feel my body warmth outside of me; my fragile breastbone protects an inferno. i have had six major operations and three minor ones in less than five years. i am still standing, healthy, outside in the snow, with very little clothing, my arms and my legs and my hands and my feet all still work. i am shivering but i do not want to go inside. i want to stay out here as long as i can. i want to collapse from the cold, but i know i will not. no matter how long i stay, i will be standing. and if you don't see me out there, you might hear, from a closet somewhere in the hospital, the faint whistling of a breathing trainer, each day a little bit louder.
© barry reinschreiber