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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 14 page 08


In spite of a sudden bout of dizziness, Mona leaned forward, and continued to speak her mind.

“We don’t have to worry about starting new relationships and watching them fall apart. For those of us who have children, I feel for you, I do, and while I know the biggest fear is not being able to watch them grow up, at least you don't have to worry about watching them fuck up!”

“Mona,” the therapist said, “I think you’ve said enough.”

“That’s something else we don’t have to worry about,” Mona said, “following rules. What can anybody do to us? Hit us? Yell at us? Arrest us? Good luck living with yourself punishing somebody with a cue ball for a head and poison for blood. All we have to say is cancer, and boom! — instant pity, instant forgiveness for whatever the hell we choose to do at that moment.”

The therapist opened her mouth.

“Mona —”

“Cancer,” Mona declared.

“Mona, this is serious, you can’t say —”

Cancer,” Mona interrupted again, this time following up the dread word with a mischievous giggle.

“Sure it’s only for a limited amount of time,” Mona said, "but great things are never meant to last for a long time anyway, that's what makes them great. So I guess the real question isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, about how we deal, or cope, or transition toward death, but what we want to do until it comes. What we want to say. What we want to feel. And I don’t know about any of you, but I’ll be damned if I spend that time whining about how much my blood and bones hurt, or convincing myself it’s best to just lay in bed, stay quiet, and wait to die. I want to spend that time doing all of the things that people over the course of their entire lifetimes would never think about doing, or saying, or feeling. Things they wouldn’t dare consider because they’re too worried about the consequences — something none of us here have to worry about.”

“Encouraging words,” one of the weakest looking patients said, “but considering some of our conditions, what do you suggest we actually do with this gift of finite time? Look at us; I can barely make it to the bathroom without having to stop and rest.”

“I can’t pour a cup of coffee without feeling like I’m going to pass out,” another patient said.

Mona looked at each patient and considered their grievances, their arguments against her point. They were valid, every single one.