The thing about small towns is, you never really get to have any secrets. No matter how sneaky you are, no matter how stealthy, no matter how careful, people always find out. The walls have ears and the sidewalks talk, and all of that, I guess.
In my younger day/drinking days, I had quite the theory about this phenomenon. My theory was that because the town is so small, the people relate on an entirely different level than they would if they lived in a big city. Kind of like a collective consciousness, but concentrated. Almost like sharing brain waves.
I was kind of an idiot back then, but thereís something that still haunts me about that theory. Because it really does seem impossible to keep a secret here.
Lately, Iíve been thinking a lot about that old theory of mine. And itís not seeming as silly as it once did. Because Iíve been keeping a secret.
Most of the secrets around here involve either drugs or sex. Mine isnít nearly that exciting. A few years ago, it was discovered that one of the members of our city council had been sneaking out of town in order to undergo preparations for a sex change operation. It caused quite the stir, and it kept the gossip well full to runniní over for a long time.
Iíve been sneaking off to the doctor, too, but not for anything as adventurous as a sex change.
Iíve got a brain tumor. Itís killing me.
And the reason I can keep my secret, according to my old theory, is that since my brain's all fucked up, it isn't communicating with the other brains in town. I know it sounds crazy, but so does the idea of a brain tumor in the first place, right?
Lifeís really weird, you know? I went in for a physical. Doc Matheson is a good guy, a good doctor, and a good friend. Iíve been going to him all my life. He checked me out, told me I was fine, and asked if everything was going okay.
I told him about some headaches I had been having. ďProbably your eyes,Ē he told me. ďWhat youíre describing sounds like your eyes are having problems focusing together, which probably means corrective lenses.Ē
Thereís no eye doctor in Twilight, so I decided to go to Ft. Worth and get my eyes checked out.
ďWhile youíre over there, you want to take a couple of tests, check out your head? Just as a precaution?Ē
I almost didnít do it. He was convinced it was my eyes, and I was convinced, too. Better safe than sorry, though. ďAh, what the hellóIíve got insurance.Ē
He laughed and filled out some paperwork, and scheduled me an appointment.
I got all kinds of shit done to me, and when the lady at the desk asked if I wanted the results mailed to my doctor or did I want to come back in, I told her I would be back inóI figured I would have to be back in town to pick up my glasses, anyways, and Doc Matheson could do without the extra work.
I got my eyes checked out, and they said everything was fine, which meant no glasses. When I called, the lady at the desk said that no, I couldnít change the way my files were released over the phone. I could come back in, though. I was already half way home, so I figured that would defeat the purpose, and decided I would maybe get some birthday present shopping done when I came back for the results.
I did get some shopping done, too. In fact, after I got my results, I even got my Christmas shopping done that day. Turns out, I wouldnít have any time to do it later.
Hereís a list of words that you generally donít want to hear together: brain tumor, inoperable, malignant. Less than six months to live.
He told me we could try chemo, but that it wouldnít do any good. He told me that I would be fine for another month or two, but that it would get worse, and it would get worse fast. He told me that I would start hearing things, start tasting things, maybe. He told me I would start losing time. He told me that I would start losing motor skills and then I would start losingÖwell, pretty much everything that makes you a functional human being.
What it amounted to was that I would be a drooling, babbling mess that couldnít communicate, feed myself, or even really be myself.
Terrifying stuff. He asked if I wanted to try to the chemo. I told him no, I didnít see the point of spending the last of my days going through a painful procedure that wouldnít even help. He asked if I wanted him to transfer my records to my doctor, and I told him no, I wouldnít be needing the services of Doc Matheson anymore.
Iíve been going back every couple of weeks, and because Iím sort of a chump, I always spend the entire trip over there thinking that maybe this time heíll tell me that itís stopped growing, that itís actually shrinking, that their machinery was on the blink and nobody realized it, that they got my test results mixed up with someone elseís. I always spend the entire hour and a half hoping that when I show up, heís going to tell me that Iíll live.
He never does.
The headaches are the worst. A while back, they got so bad that he started prescribing me pain medicine. The good shit. The bad part is, when you live in a small town, you canít be walking around stoned out of your mind on pain killers, and you canít suddenly become a recluse when youíre usually out and about. My social butterfly past comes back to bite me in the ass.
I take enough to keep my from being completely miserable, and Iíve had to take more sick days this year than ever beforeóIíve been blaming it on a kidney infection, but Iím pretty sure that my boss thinks that I have a girlfriend from out of town. Which is fine, because heís always hoping that Iíll fall in love with some nice girl and settle down. Plus, I would rather have rumors floating around that Iím taking frequent sick days and trips out of town to see a girl than that Iím dying of a brain tumor.
Iíve heard that some people think itís a secret boyfriend that Iím sneaking away to meet. Better than people finding out that Iím dying.
I donít know why, but I find it embarrassing to die. I know that everyone does it, but everyone shits, too, and I donít run around doing that in public.
I donít want to die.
I donít want to die.
I donít want to die.