Monday, 23 August 2010

twenty one

That can't be right though.

Can it?

Cancer doesn't just happen. It doesn't just attack the people who've worked hard at being valuable to society all of their lives.
It doesn't happen to me.
Imagine waking up and for that first blink of your eyes, everything's normal...the most that's troubling you is that the only coffee you can get at work tastes bitter and stale. In the next blink you're gagged on that bitter and stale sensation as you remember because you can't just un-know it. It's there, lodged on your mind.

I'm sick. But that's not right. It's Not Fair.
It's Not Fucking fair.

Cancer lurks in cigarettes and endless glasses of beer not in years of doing your best, not in working as hard as you can to try and gain some kind of recognition; not in me. This was never supposed to happen.

Hepatocellular carcinoma. Cancer of the liver. It's a malignant tumour. If they don't perform surgery sooner rather than later it'll spread, well it's already begun to spread. The surgery's serious and even then there's a chance it could come back. This was never supposed to happen.

What am I to tell people? I couldn't stand their sympathetic smiles...I don't want any of that. I want to be better.

I need somebody to talk to. There's only one person.

"Will? What on Earth are you calling me for at this ungodly hour?"
"...."I didn't think this far ahead.
"Will? Helloooo?"
"Caitlyn. Can you come over?"
" What? It's gone two in the morning, has some-"
"Caitlyn, please, can you come over?"
"Okay, of course I can. Just wait there."
"See you."

Oh God.


I chuck off the PJ's I'ved just clambered into and swig down the last of the hot chocolate in my mug. I don the jeans I wore earlier today and tugged on a hoodie which would probably thank me if I gave it a wash. This is my, 'leave me alone, I'm tired' look. Very Vogue right now...
This had better be worth it.
That sounds awful, Will sounded...different on the phone, I hope everything's alright. It will be, of course it will, what am I worrying about? This is silly.
I tug out the plaits on m hair and scrape it all back into a pony tail. Now, where's my handbag? I need chewing gum, and car keys-those could help. Think, where did you last leave it, eh? errmm...under the night gown slung over the left top bed post. Bingo.
Okay, I reckon I'm ready to go.
Hang could come in handy, now couldn't they?, I've never been very decisive but this is not a good time to sit and consider the pros and cons of trainers versus pumps. In the end, I tug on one of each, that's alright isn't it? It's a risk in fashion progression but maybe I can pull it off and start a new trend, they'll call me, 'Caitlyn: Emporess of Glam.' Yeah.
Doubtful niggles about that prophecy leap to my head when I walk past the mirror on the way out. It's too late to change now.

I hate driving at night anyway but there's fog tonight. All I can see is the car lights bouncing back off the fog; there's about ten foot of vision ahead of me. I'm gonna have to take the corners really slowly.
Was he number 53 or 35? Feck.
Wait, there's his car...lucky bugger, it's gorgeous.

I clamber from the car and once again have doubts about my might have been okay if the soles had been the same height but now I had that wobbly walk of a drunk. As I walked toward Will's front door I remembered that the car needed locking, I teetered back to the car, locked it, checked it, and checked it once-just in case and went back to the front door. It opened immediately, he must have been watchinf me through a window, I hate it when he does that.

"Christ, Will, you look terrible."
"Thanks, so do you."
"Sorry, you probably have a point but you didn't really give me a lot of time."
"Just come in."
He turns away from me, leaving the door at an angle and I follow him in, closing the door behind me.

His voice is thick and gravelly as though he's been crying, his eyes are dark-he hasn't been sleeping.
"Caitlyn, I'm ill."
"What like a cold? Don't worry, I'll help you get better."
"'s..look, I'm really ill and I don't know what to-"

His voice breaks off, a crackle as he turns away and catches his breah, I know it must be bad. He down on his sofa, elbows on knees, head in hand and I know it must be really bad when I spot a tear lost in the fabric of his trousers.

"Hey, what's happened, Will?" I walk to him and perch on the arm of the sofa, I pull him close to me, he rests his head on my chest.
"I can head you heart beat, you know."
He sounds so little.

"Will..."my voice trembles in barely more than a whisper, "You're scaring me."
"I'm scaring you, I'm fucking scaring you?!" He tears my arms from around his shoulders with such force that I fall to the floor. He looks taken aback by what he's done but in the next minute he's standing and shouting,
"You're scared?! SCARED? You don't know what it is to be afraid, Caitlyn. I'm sick. I'm...I'm..."
He chokes over those words and crumples onto the carpet beside me.
"I'm terrified."
I crawl a little closer to him and take his hand in mine.
"I'm here for you Will. Whatever happens. In sickness and in health."
"You still want to marry me? Even with me like this?"
"Of course, I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Time, time, time. As gentle and harsh as the weather's change of heart. One moment a hug of a breeze, the next, it's a galing storm.
Ten years.
I'd spent ten of my years here starting from the bottom and building my way up. I just got a lucky break, a friend of a friend whose sister knew someone....
Someone to help.

They introduced me to Claude Numlauf, he could make any college drop out a massive success. So many sleepless nights had been devoted to trying to find success my own way. I wanted to make films. I did numerous media courses, I downloaded all of the software I could afford, I bought the best camcorder within my means and I never made it. Nobody wanted what I could offer. My servings of dreams, of inspiration, hope...nobody wanted it. They called my imagination unimaginative, the care and diligence I poured into seconds worth of frames; careless. Nobody wanted what I could offer.
Claude told me as much. He helped me though. He helped me.
I retrained, got a degree in law, found out how boring success could make a person. I guess it's just Karma, get everything you ever dreampt of, money, power, a new car, a big house...and then realise you have no friends.

No real ones anyway. I have 'work-friends' people who gossip about me behind my back and make digs about how tired I've been looking, washed-up. Men who shake my hand on the way through the door each morning, suits pressed, hair slicked. Women who smile seductively wanting a leg up...or over in the company. Yes, I'm surrounded by 'work friends'. The people who don't really have a clue about who I am.

Caitlyn's the only real friend I've ever had, the only person I could be completely honest with, completely myself with. She knew me inside out...I'm not sure I ever understood that expression really, it sounds almost grotesque if you think aobut it too hard. Caitlyn laughed at the way I thought things out like that.

So maybe that's why I didn't want a school reunion.

No, I wasn't lying to Caitlyn, I really am busy. I look to the alarm clock on my bedside table and it confirms the truth, it's 1am and I've only just clocked off really. Sure, the office closes at six but I need to drive an hour home, pick up dinner, go through all of the paperwork left over from the day. There's no time left for personal errands. I'm shattered and sleep evades me.

I can't take an reunion like that though. Hearing about everyone's wife and kids. Their loving families. How they wouldn't change a thing for all of the money in the world. I should have sorted out my own priorities before.

I spend so long, caring about what everyone thinks of me.

So. Much. Time.

Ha, I always imagined what I might be like as a forty year old, some ten years into the future. Would my hair be grey? Would there be wrinkles where once there was my face? I didn't know. I did always take time as a granted though. I thought that one day I'd be eighty and bald, and have a walking stick; I'd complain, 'things just aren't the same as they were in my day.'

Each birthday I've complained about everyone making such a fuss at the office, because, the truth is that I thought, 'what's the point, I have one every single year and will do forever.'
Except, a life isn't for forever, is it?
I took growing old as a certainty, not something I'd necessarily be looking forward to but no one had ever told me the alternative. Nobody had ever just said, 'Look, Will, there are two choices: Grow Old or Die Young.'

I just wish that someone could have told me that.

I'd spent years without a girlfriend to love and be loved by, without keeping in touch with my parents. Without staying in touch with Caitlyn like I'd promised I would. I really was trying more now but that's the problem with makes life unfair.

There it is again, Karma. The woman I love more than anyone or anything in the world, my best friend, has agreed to love me back until death do us part, but that won't be too long now, will it?

They told me it's cancer.

p.s a thanks from me for your patience and support. i think i can write this again now.