The Resentment of Suffering Well

Mya was huddled in her hospital gown, no longer listening to the doctor. The stabbing pains and the nausea had been all too familiar, but the headaches and strange thoughts, the dizziness and the periodic blur in her eyesight—like a sudden heavy fog swathing everything around her—that was all new. As soon as the doctor said it, she could feel it—it was the murderer that had stalked her since she was fourteen. She had escaped it once, but escape wasn’t actually escape, was it? It had never stopped hunting her. It was always there, on the corner, in the alley, peering into the mist—like the Ripper, stalking her across yards and byways, from her stomach to her head. 

Mya acknowledged the doctor’s words mechanically. Barely listening, she heard something about two surgeries, rounds of radiation therapy and six months of chemotherapy, followed by check-ins every three months.

“Do you understand what I’m explaining?” He asked.

“I understand,” Mya said robotically. She understood cruelty.

She was in a haze of pain and medication, of complications and consequences. She had had tests conducted a while back when she first started to feel ill—not just nauseous, but the stabbing pain in her gut. She would throw up when she wanted to feel better, but the stabbing pain continued. If anything, it became worse. Then the dizziness. It let her hope for the flu. But it was as she feared, the demon of her own flesh, possessing her in increments—and this time, there would be no exorcism. Surgery? Radiation and chemotherapy? Watching and waiting for it to return and to spread again, year after year? Just like the first time: but even more years wasted in between, trying to fix what time was destroying. No. No, no, no.   

It’s funny how time slips away, Mya thought. She believed it was a song title. But actually, it wasn’t funny at all—it was inane and devastatingly corporeal. She knew well; she had a disease of time gathering inside her like a swarm—like the miasma of smoke growing outside. It had already blackened her eyes once, twisted her organs, nearly suffocated her. Now it had invaded her skull like an earwig, burrowing into her brain. It was over. Just like that, it was over. One day soon, she and the swarm would be one. 

And yet, Mya did almost laugh. It was like slow suicide or an execution to have survived it once—and sure enough, she had been on the gallows everyday since, the rope burning her throat and a trapdoor beneath her feet. Well, it was open now. And underneath was a universe of the same empty time that was slowly killing her—the very meaning of nothingness that would laugh at her as she swings for another few months. It would be just one last infinite second of heaven and hell, all so she could savour one final thing: the resentment of suffering well.

The novel, Mya, is available from Amazon here.

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