There is a wall behind that keeps on pushing me forward. Even if I stand still, it pushes me, and in front of me I see an edge which promises oblivion.
Every word I utter is hopelessly splashed on the moving wall. I cannot stop it, and neither can you.
The first thing I lost when the wall started pushing me and shoving me towards that edge was my sense of smell. I did not realize how much a nose can be vital and imperative to my daily life. But soon life held up a whole new meaning for me. I’m not a dog, how much of life could change if I lose my nose?
Speaking from daily routine, I lost my appetite almost immediately. What I could not smell, I could not eat, and when I forced myself to eat, I found no pleasure at all. The wall gave me its first push and woke me to my ephemeral nature of my existence and my experiences. My girl, that sweet little girl who I love so much, suffered so haplessly because of my damaged, slowly dsyfunctioning brain. No smell of hers I could ever praise, and no smell of mine I could ever sense. No fine smell of spices or other cookery I could enjoy, and consequently I could not please her. I missed her cigarette fuming hair, the odour of her body as we devoured each other like two maniacs in a Leopold von Sacher-Masoch novel. My failing nose disappointed her and marked our home with a sensory bleakness so alien to us, yet so daunting in its unwanted presence.
It seems the more the wall advanced and progresses, the more I regress. Towards that edge that promises a truth I do not want to know I am forced to go, but aren’t we all heading towards the truth beyond the horizon, which we first only slightly graze with the deaths of a mother, a second mother? A father? An aunt? The truth comes when the real finally becomes banal and superfluous to the extent that we do not miss it anymore; the truth is shown only when we are so familiarized with the real that we see it but do not regard or recognize it. But in such an analysis of truth lies my misery. My sickness forces me to miss what should not be missed. This is the only reason it is called a sickness: it incurs unwanted feelings of deep nostalgia.
I thought it would stop at the sense of smell, but soon, my damaged brain effaced my sense of taste. What little appetite I had left was squandered. In front of me lay a plate-full of penne pasta soaked in tomato sauce. Small chunks of cooked tomato were visible between the pasta fragments, luscious and delicious. A thin layer of cheese melted on top. I took a first bite and could barely stand its uninviting tastelessness. I added salt but to no effect. I added more salt, and yet the pasta tasted of utter drabness. I added ketchup, but still, the taste remained the same, so I tasted the ketchup on its own, and the taste remained the same, the taste of stale nothingness. The sudden realization made me vomit, and the vomit tasted the same. When a moment in life comes when vomit and ketchup taste the same, then something is definitely wrong with your body. Doctors conducted tests; doctors analyzed tests; doctors told, professionally and seriously told me the ill-fated news, and on that night, the home which protected two loving people—my sweet little girl and I— became the ill-fated house of Usher. My wanton presence haunted the house, and she suffered with me, loyal to my state of mind.
I passed restaurants daily, saw the bakery vitrines almost every morning, but I could not smell nothing of what I saw. I tried desperately to remember the smell and the taste of cheesecakes, of layers of chocolate over layers of chocolate topped with vanilla icing; I tried to savour taste and smell through memory, it worked only faintly, but when I took a bite, it all gave way to nothingness. Soon, my memory offered me nothing to savour, none of the food, none of my little girl’s skin, nothing I could enjoy, even retrospectively.
Anosmia. Ageusia. These words the doctors said. But the most important words were: tumour and brain. Cancer. No chance of surgery. Radio – or Chemotherapy. They told me to be prepared for anything, and in line with my previous symptoms they said: be prepared for hypoesthesia, or loss of sense of touch, loss of hot and cold. They told my sweet loving girl to always keep a good watch for me, always keep me eating as required; always keep me warm enough; always keep me in a safe state. They wanted her to be more and less of a mother. They wanted my lover to become my mother. I rejected chemotherapy.
I was morose and melancholic. I had no reason to fight anymore; the push of the wall was too strong for me or anyone to attempt to stop it. My verdict was: Sick For Life. It pushes me. It shoves me to a place I do not want to be. Unrelenting, unforgiving, inexorable.
I Am Cancer.
I stopped eating; no love of mine could convince me to do that again.
I started vomiting air so powerfully, without any prior warning from that old friend, nausea. While vomiting I became air hungry; I suffocated on the emptiness within me.
I became frail and weak. The wall was sweeping me towards the edge like a particle of dust on the road to awe, a speck of dust without will, without force, without life. The house of Usher became empty, that sweet loving girl of mine left me, but it was I who left her, to talk of “truth.” That storm of death camping within the house made it an unbearable place to be in. I cheated on the now-odourless, now-tasteless little girl with my sickness. Sick until Death. Sickness married me.
The wall is pushing me over the edge now and I’m not trying to hold on because I see the truth, and the real does not exist anymore.
In that final moment I have, I think: I lost all to gain an unsatisfactory truth and an awful awe.