As I was writhing around in bed waiting for the vomit to come, I started negotiating with the powers that be about my future. God tends to be mum about these things, and I can hardly blame him what with my constant snubbing. But the Devil’s been too goddamned busy to take my calls, lately, so I decided to bring my grievances before the inside of the toilet bowl. It’s as good an altar as any, especially these days.
Me: So, how many years is this really buying me?
(The dry heaves begin, and then subside)
Me: It better not be five. Five years is shit. Five years is like why did I bother finding the tumor at all?
(More dry heaving)
Me: I don’t need 50 years. Fifty years would put me at, I don’t know, 85? Does anyone have a calculator? I don’t have a lot of confidence in what this country is going to look like when I’m 85. Will there still be farms? What about jobs of any kind? I can’t still be turning tricks at that age. My heart won’t be in it. And we all know that retirement is out of the question.
(Dry heaves turn to wet)
Me: What about 30 years? Does 2039 sound like a good year for wine? I mean, I know this conversation is moot because I could be struck by lightening at any time, no discussion. And then there are all those crazy Boston drivers out there, myself included. Not to mention how accident-prone I am on solid ground. Okay, so forget 30. Not going to happen.
(Vomiting. More vomiting.)
Me: Fifteen. I’ve definitely earned 15 with the throwing up alone, and that was before chemo. In 15 years, the kids will be through high school. Or they better be. They’ll be off to college and they’ll still probably need me but at least they’ll pretend they don’t. I won’t settle for less than 15, so don’t be an asshole.
(Vomit, etc., etc.)
Me: Make it 20.
After studying the pattern of the chunks in the vomit, trying to read my fortune like so many tea leaves, I gave up. No way to know. No point in trying.