Cooking for one

“No. I don’t feel so hot today.”

“Are you dying?”

“Yeah. Probably.”

She makes excellent food. Everything is delicious. I can’t; food sucks—a side effect of my medicine.

It’s like I eat and immediately throw up. I’ve never been an impulsive vomiter. I could now paint the wall across my apartment with food made with love. It’s the lightheadedness of running too hard mixed with my insides exploding. I know it’s a side effect. If this works, I’ll be okay in a few months. If it doesn’t, I don’t have to wait to see if it works; I’ll be dead.

I tell her I have to cook for myself not to hurt her feelings. I’m starving. I’m so starving, but I know I’ll throw it up in five minutes and hurt her feelings more. Why can’t she be like my other friends that don’t care unless it’s about them? I hold onto something because I feel wobbly. It feels like an earthquake. I don’t know what’s better—not having more strokes or having all these near strokes. The chest pain then, nothing. The vomiting. Disorientation. I was feeling great. Then, my heart rate went through the roof just standing up.

I am not scared to die. I say that as I pop some more medication in my mouth and dry swallow. The life-saving seems to be stuck just after my tonsils. I feel it seething and grabbing every bit of saliva—a life-saving abscess. Dying would happen just like this. I forget to take my pill. Then, slight pain and nothing. I have so much work, but it would look like I meant to do it. I pack my medications with my Larabars and identifications. It is Phoenix; if I died, I’d be picked clean. Somebody might call the police, and they’d scatter. So. I left some info in my shoe. Some in my pocket. Some are in my backpack. I don’t know why I’m so worried about being never returned. I just, never been this dependent on anyone.

Not even my friend that wants to cook food for me. To make many meals that I could reheat until I’m feeling better. Only. My diagnosis is not the flu. I have a 47% chance I’ll die of this in a year. It drops to 32% in five years. Then, hours if I don’t take my pill. That stupid pill that’s stuck in my throat while I’m sitting here watching my heart rate move faster and faster on my Garmin watch. The fancy one tells you everything a triathlete would need to know in a few seconds. The one that was first to know about my heart. I do similar routes, and after finishing one day.

“Recovery in 4 hours.”
“Recovery in 14 hours.”
“Recovery in 42 hours.”
“Recovery in 53 hours.”

I was like, what the Hell is going on with my heart? Then, I jumped in the shower and just stood there, and I swear I couldn’t feel a thing. The water. The smell of my fancy soap. The heat of the water soothes a sore body after a great workout. I just was there and was not there at that moment. Oh. Is this feeling a stroke? I’m—like dominos. Everything is falling. Let me call an Uber. I’ll make it to Emergency cheaper. In my neighborhood, probably faster.

I touch her nose.

“Anam cara.”

I’ve never pretended to be anyone I’m not—. So I have few regrets. Some people live with every feeling and let it beat them. Take apart every judgement or exaggerated pain and try to make it somehow grander. That’s what we are, aren’t we? Victims? I don’t know how to be a victim. I’ve always stood on my two feet, and I suppose I’ll die there too. It’s hard to breathe on cold nights. It’s hard to do lots of things without a heart. There was that Marvel character I’d mention that has no heart and billions. It worked out for him and that pretty redhead. I’d mention him, but Disney would sue. I’d hate to spend my last six months in court. That would not be a cool way to die.

Night.