Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Astronomer


Have you told your family yet?

No. We still don’t really like each other. Dying isn’t going to fix it. Any reconciliation at this point would be fiction.

Come on, your mom loves you.

Not really. She loves her son, but not the person who actually is her son. It’s more duty than anything. Some sort of blind biological allegiance.

Your father?

I’m not a television. He says he’s proud of me, but he’s not so sure for what. He just knows I don’t live in his basement or continually fuck up like his daughters; that’s good enough for his pride.

God, you’re such an ass.

Look, I know it might sound harsh, but I’m not saying it out of spite. They’re good people. They worked hard and kept me financially sound for the most part. But there’s no intimacy. Never has been. We don’t get each other. Four walls hold a roof up, but that doesn’t mean they enjoy one another's company. They’re just bound by the hand of some architect they’ll never know.

I think you’ve drank too much.

Possibly. Something about wine and cancer – makes me contemplative.

You’ve always been a contemplative little shit. That pompous head of yours always buried halfway up your ass.

I’m not pompous you silly bitch. I just loathe small talk. Ideas are pretty. I like pretty things. When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, but knew I didn’t have the physical constitution for it. Books became my salvation. They let me travel to the stars and see those pretty things. I just never stopped wanting that.

I thought you read books hiding under the table to get away from all that fighting you told me about.

Why do think I wanted to be an astronaut? Nobody could hit me with a belt or tell me I was an accident in space.

So, you do hate your parents?

No, I hate the parts of the world that turned them into that. It’s dirty business on this rock. They’re just people, broken, like the rest of us.

We’re not broken, Tommy. We’re just messy. People aren’t pretty little things. That’s why you need to pull that big, beautiful head of yours out of your ass before it's too late. Of course you like pretty things, we live in an ugly, base world. Things rot.

That’s certainly true; the second part anyway. I mean, look at me.

Look at you what?

I’m officially rotting. I know everyone is in that morose, adolescent we’re dying since birth kind of talk, but I’m on the accelerated plan now. I can feel my lymph nodes curdling like week-old cottage cheese. My neck is pretty much stuffed with pus, bile, and shit.

That’s lovely.

Hey, you said it was messy. I’m just embracing my muck. 

When’s the chemo start?

Thursday after next.

The day after the Leonids?

Yes, ma’am. You still coming with me to watch the sky burn?

I wouldn’t miss it for the world.