We are about to get very personal. If that sounds a bit icky to you because I don’t normally do that, wait a day and I will have written something new and impersonal.
So mere hours after last week’s happy post and bold assertion that I am living a relatively problem free life, the man for whom I have silently cared very deeply for the last three years, has a seizure and a stroke and it turns out he has a couple of brain tumors.
Awful. Unfair. Fucked up.
In a case of spectacularly bad timing I had promised myself the morning before I heard the news, that I would finally tell him how I felt… so either I could move forward with him or – more likely – move on without him. Obviously I didn’t say anything… he had other things on his mind, tumors to be precise.
Anyway, I’ve been to see him every night for the last week, and his is far from a hopeless case. He’s young, he’s strong, there are good treatment options, and he has the most incredible group of friends by his side 24 hours a day. I am astutely aware that he does not need my company. I am not one of his inner circle, I’m not even the outer circle, I’m more in the bubble groups that you can vaguely see from the outer circle. So my going to visit him every day is a selfish act, one which might appear odd to him. I go because I can’t stay away, and all this love I have for him is allowed to come out purely because he has brain tumors.
But that’s not the end of my selfishness, it goes way beyond that, read on.
Tonight, there’s a big group of people hanging out at his house to watch of all things, The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon (honestly, not as bad as it could have been, I’ve seen far worse). He (my unrequited love, not Mr. Damon) casually mentions that a girl he likes is coming round… and the clenching pain in my chest is like the ice cracking on the frozen pond before young Sally and her new ice skates fall into the freezing dark waters below.
His opinion is that I will like her. Well fanfuckingtastic, that makes everything better.
She arrives, and they immediately disappear behind closed doors together for a considerable amount of time. The little pond ice crack has now been replaced by massive glaciers breaking apart forming destructive titanic icebergs careering around my emotional well-being.
Yep, I am the asshole who is jealous of the woman who brings happiness to the guy with a brain tumor. I am that shitty person right now.
I make an excuse, go outside and debate the merits of just leaving right there and then…but I am perversely looking forward to seeing The Great Wall. And a hasty departure would just look strange. Instead I go to the liquor store to buy myself a beer to help myself get through the film.
It was a plan that was working pretty well until the happy couple come and bloody well sit next to me on the floor, all shimmying up one another’s personal space, their feet millimeters away from mine. At this point I became the uber shitty person who hates both of them: the woman whose only crime is to make the man with the brain tumor happy; and the man with the brain tumor whose only crime is to not date me.
Fairly soon after I find an excuse to sit at the back of the room and shoot toys arrows at the screen. BECAUSE I CAN, OK! JUST BECAUSE I AM SUPREMELY CHILDISH, AND I CAN.
The film ends, my little heart is a bunch of broken spiky popsicles floating around in slush. Everyone else leaves so quickly that I am one of the last people there, which normally I would cherish but right now makes me want to vomit. I burble cheerfully about emailing if I don’t see him soon, and sprint out the door without hugging him – the first time I’ve done that in two years – because my torso feels like I’m lying face down on a bed of spears, and my throat seems to be trying to escape through my eardrums.
Then I sit in the car and cry.
Then I told myself that I could have 24 hours to wallow and cry (16 left to go) and then I have to go back to being unabashedly loving for the forsee-able future, because when you’ve been giving all your affection to a man with brain tumors – no matter if he doesn’t need it – to suddenly withdraw it, is a selfish asshole move.
So yeah… I’ve given myself a 24 hour reprieve on being a decent human being. After that I will give an Oscar winning performance.