Dating : Not My Apple a Day

h2>Dating : Not My Apple a Day

Sarah de Noyo

I am happy that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I woke up coughing last night but not for very long, and not enough to make me sweat or give me a headache. It is the little things that keep you happy. Today I can feel and see the difference in the bags under my eyes after 9 hours of being in bed. I am an addict, hooked on a full night’s sleep.

This morning I’m in a hurry to get something nutrient dense that’ll keep me satiated and that I can take this pill with. Getting dressed, I put on Garrett’s t-shirt. A Day to Remember. Ha. It sure is. I miss him. I bury my face in this shirt and pretend it is ridiculous that this would make me feel close to him! But it does and I can feel that closeness so I shake my head and watch it flutter to the floor like a falling leaf in the autumn breeze. I don’t have time to miss him. It scares me how potent it still is after all this time. Day 6, pill 11, this is for the sound of his laugh. The hunched over make-it-stop laughter of late nights in the hospital that we didn’t have. The jokes you didn’t hear. The bad news we didn’t have the chance to make light of.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how badly I wish he could have tried this drug. If I could take one thing into the land of the dead it would be this little pack of pills. Darling, here’s a weeks worth of space in your chest where your breath always should have been. Darling, it’s time for you to know what it feels like to sleep through the night. Darling, I wish I could take you back with me.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the screaming kids at work who just got shots. The ones belting out “I’m scare-he-hared” in pitches almost out of our range of hearing. Everyone hates these screaming kids. Shhhh, it’s okay, but they won’t calm down. The ice cream doesn’t help. And I want to tell them it is all over. That they will only rarely have to experience the pain they claim is just a pinch. My mom said for a while I was scared and then one day I wasn’t anymore because it was just my life.

And how much harder it is to motivate your kid with a new stuffed animal every time they get a shot when they’re getting shots all the damn time. How we ran out of space. How I filled a large moving box with them and covered it with a blanket and fit them into all the spaces of my room. How long it took me to get rid of their gentle faces and loving inanimate arms. How I didn’t really have a chance to form an attachment to these animals because I was getting new ones so frequently. And it’s amazing, me, who manages to romanticize a new customer every 3 days, not forming an attachment. Maybe this’ll help demonstrate the sheer quantity of the rapid-fire medical experiments that took place on my body. And not once did I ever think the goal was to make me better. No mistaking the hail Mary’s for any sort of remedy. I knew, without being told, that this wasn’t my apple a day and I knew that there would never be any keeping the doctor away. I think my mom musta given up telling me it would make be better. Or maybe I never got it in my head from the beginning that having your health was the default. And is it, anyway? Why do we think that? Isn’t it ridiculous that people who have it whisk it away? Smoking and staying up late and paying no regard to the check engine light that’s been on since they first learned of the arsenal of man-made remedies made for their specific, emotional kind of hurt? It’s like being gifted with the chance to solve any of the worlds problems and repairing the chip on your windshield with that instead of with your paycheck. Do something better with your privilege, with those lungs. Please, dear god, if there is one thing I leave behind in this world I want it to be my wanting to survive.

And to the crying kids. It really is all over, for a long time. You will be bribed with only a handful of striped pencils and new stuffed animals. Few enough for them to mean something to you. And you will get older and go to prom and your best friend will survive long enough for you to grow apart in a simple, conventional way. And I don’t want to spoil it but I am so happy that you are here now and that getting a shot is this difficult for you, because it means you have a good life. I hope it keeps being so good that getting a shot remains a crisis and an occasion for ice cream.

There is something spiritual about picking your favorite cluster of grapes and putting them in one bag. Today I have the energy to go to the grocery store after work and making it to the car doesn’t warrant an “I did it.” This is one of the small, new parts to being a person that I am just getting to know. (Re: the little things)

I just took another and got a big glass of water to go to bed with. Day 6, pill 12. The parts of being seventeen that died before their hearts even started beating. The miscarried parts of being young and alive. High school dances. Today is for the high school dances we didn’t attend because we had bigger fish to fry, or IVs in our arms, or pains in our chests.

Earlier, I gave the cats flea medicine and then shut all the windows because people are setting off the kind of fireworks that BOOM instead of sizzle and it’s scaring them. I turn on my oil diffuser and my lamp, and crawl into bed with my book. I can feel my heart in my chest, a strange side effect of the drug, and I am so tired these past few days.

The sound of cat licking his paws comforts me. And I look over as he presses his face into the bed under him and I think, I am so lucky. I wouldn’t change this for the world. The warm fluffy white darling who sleeps next to my head every night. And looking out into the blackness of the living room, knowing Lobo is sprawled out somewhere, at peace. I am wantless. This is it. These boys. This book. Breathing okay. An early bed time. Clean sheets. I say this often, but it is the little things. I am in love. I am hungry for more. For a forever of this.

Day seven, pill 13. This is for the times we wondered if it was worth it.

I left late to work. Therapy was tough and I didn’t have time to shower. Made a ten minute pit stop. Gas and air in my tire with the slow leak. It’s getting faster, I think. So let’s call it a fast leak. Thought about how to frame my shitty neighbor for puncturing my tire, but I don’t think I have tobecause it actually is his fault. So I’m 15 minutes behind schedule but I arrive only one minute late because traffic is light. Even when things are going poorly they’re still going better than I could have asked for. And on the way I open a can of worms with Marceline and I remember the sea-foam green canyon I drove four hours to to meet that young professional and how funny of a time for me that was. Single and free for the first time in 6 years. Meeting men in the desert, and, not understanding that I had all sorts of strange and valuable characteristics. Was I fun? I think. Was it cool of me to meet someone I’ve been on one date with and camp in the middle of nowhere? Maybe. Enough for him to want to see me in his 2 days of visiting a year later. Should I have been kidnapped by now? Probably.

While my default has always been to think I’m not desirable, nothing could rationally confirm that insecurity like the situations I’ve put myself in and the fact that no one has tried to abduct me. I’m fun right? I’m a nice girl?

It’s not that I want to be abducted. It’s that I want someone to want to abduct me. These clearly aren’t your run of the mill daddy-issues. This is something much more complex and deeper.

I texted someone I dated for a long time. Going on four years. We haven’t talked for five years. It was with him that I learned what a responsibility it was to be sick and in someone’s life. It was with him I learned that there was nobody to be angry at for what I was going through. I tell him we made it. This is what we were waiting for. It is not a cure but it’s closer than I ever thought we’d come. I tell him I’ve slept, for real. I thank him for his patience, his love, without using those words. I am not accepting my prize and thanking the little people. We all won here. I tell him I am scared to call something a miracle, but this is something close to it. I say thank you thank you. There will never be the right words for this kind of gratitude.

He responds and I begin to shake. He says I did it. I should be proud. And holy fuck it took them long enough. I remember falling in love for the first time and being petrified that I would leave the way Garrett did. Scared to do that to someone. Scared that only one of us had a future. It ate me alive, didn’t it?

I have a moment of knowing. The first of its kind. I open mouth sob. No sound is coming out, I grip my own arms wrapped around my body. I cry because I never thought I would be here. I cry because I maybe, have a future. I cry because I’ve never had good news free of caution signs. I cry because maybe for the first time, I can start making plans.

Day 7, pill 14, this one’s for the plans we didn’t make, the smiles we tried to fake, and the pills we’d yet to take.

Read also  Dating : Thanks, Rebecca.

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