February 28, 2005

All fall down

In addition to last week's spate of horrific events, another high school friend close to Nell and me has stage 3 breast cancer and faces additional surgery next week. Two other friends have herniated disks; one has a bad hip; and another walks only with a cane. My back feels best when I am prone, and my sister-in-law is recovering from a hysterectomy.

All in all, reports on the health front (save for my mother, who is stronger and in better shape than anyone I know) are not pretty. Welcome to middle age. The line for minor tranquilizers is to the left; narcotics to the right.

It's enough to make me take up smoking again. This afternoon, I could think of nothing more satisfying than to have a cigarette. So I did.

I took one from the half-emply pack that I stored in the freezer the day I had my last cigarette, in mid-October 2002. October 14, 2002 was the day I received Serena's e-mail announcing that she had undergone cancer surgery and would have her baby delivered early, by C-section, so that her chemo could commence.

Smoking may not have been the most constructive activity I could have undertaken this afternoon; however, short of making love, it was the most comforting. (Later in the day, still shaking, frightened, and unnerved, I asked an old friend to visit, and we had a great time in bed. Sex took his and my minds away from real life for a greatly needed interval.)

I react, however belatedly, to illness with self-destructive behavior, to death with life-affirming sex.

I think, I hope, I can start to pick myself up again.


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