When you think you are going to die it is a funny feeling. Not funny “ha ha”. When you think you are going to die, you are not really thinking at all. It is more of a shiver, a chattering of teeth. You forget who you are. They could ask you your name and you wouldn’t be able to answer. They could say a name, any name, and you would nod, and accept it, and think that it was yours.
And when you think you are going to die your body no longer matters. The gown could be undone, it could be on the floor, and parts of your body could be bare under the lights, the fur of you poised, like an animal, and you don’t have any thoughts about it. It just is.
The pain is the only thing. The pain swells and grows and makes you it’s bitch. It tells you how it is, how it’s going to be from now on. And by then, you can’t even nod that you know, you can’t even accept it. There’s nothing real of you left. You’re not even a whimper.
Even when the drugs kick in, the pain still hovers up close, breathing hot on your face, letting you know it’s not really gone, that it will be around for a while yet. It kicks back in the chair with it’s boots on the bed, reads the paper, winks at you.
You think you’ve managed to lose it in the corridors, and you get in the car and yell Drive! Drive! But you get home and it is like in that film where Juliette Lewis sucks Robert De Niro’s thumb: The pain has held on to the underneath of the car and travelled with you all the way. And now it’s letting itself in with your spare key. It is breathing heavy at the bottom of the stairs.