“And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but its sinking,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death…”
-Pink Floyd (Dark side of the moon: Time)
I am not afraid of certainties. I underwent surgery for the first time at age 12, second time was seven months ago. Both emergencies were life threatening. First time, I had a nice little sum of stones as big as a fingernail in my gallbladder, this made me stay up at nights; with a swollen stomach tight as a drum I rolled back and forth in the bathtub were I could, for some reason, relax. Maybe it was the white color… My father never missed a chance of making jokes so he delicately explained to me that what was living in my stomach was a xenomorph, the little thing that jumps out of people’s chests in “Alien”, and that it was a nice experience to know me. I did not know what bothered me more, having my own dad joking about my eminent death or that I would not live long enough to sucker-punch him. The pains kept going for another couple of years until we discovered the little residents in my body.
A day before my operation, I had my friends and family visit me on my deathbed. They brought flowers soaked with tears and hugged me as if this was the last time they would see of me. I did not cry, I did not feel sad, all I could think of is that this simply sucks. Last time that my beloved folks would see me outside a casket and all they do is cry. But damn it I lived a happy life! I went to Paris, I dated the best girl of my school, my friend gave me a playboy magazine for my birthday, I rode a camel! And still, I was surrounded by grief and misery, except from my dad. He kept telling me that the doctors had found the xenomorph but did not tell me so I could stay calm during surgery. This time, I laughed. And why the hell not? If I were to go I would go smiling.
So, last October I was admitted on the emergency operations in Scripps. This time, my appendix was about to bust and the pain I was feeling was excruciating. Just.fucking.horrible. While I was in the waiting room, I texted Heather, my girlfriend, who was on her way to the hospital. I knew about my surgery for about five hours before I told her. She was still in school and I did not want her to faint in class, if she were to faint she would faint in the hospital, with me. Somewhere in between our texts which looked more like bunch of emojis crying with hearts, I joked about my death… She was not pleased. Just like my friends and family three years ago, she was standing in front of me still as a statue, her eyes pinned on mine and with a melancholic expression of fear on her face. She later confessed that watching me on that bed thinking of the possibility of me being gone was the closer she has ever gotten to becoming depressed.
I was pretty high from all the sedatives they injected on me so I just kept laughing uncontrollably and motioned her to come and give me a kiss. She only gave me her cold hand and looked away trying to hide her tears while I kept laughing like a jackass. After my operation was over, the only thing that got me sad was that the abs that had started forming from my intense exercise I had been doing for three months, were now a round, swollen surface of stiches. Not to mention that my hairy stomach was shaved in half, leaving it look like a near deforested mountain. Those were things to get sad about, I could care less about my death. Because in the end of the day, I got in the car, looked back at the hospital and gave it my nice, tall middle finger. I have never felt more alive being so close to death.
I was never much of a vivid character before my first operation, I was the kid that only loved dinosaurs and old music. But then things took a little turn…. All the songs and movies finally make sense; the poems, the songs, the fears, the hopes and even Shakespeare! So if I had to choose one thing that made me learn everything I really needed to know in life, I learned from death. Asides from myself, I am not that familiar with actual death. I had a cat that died, along with some goldfish. My mom’s parents both died when I was two or three and my dads are still living (knock on wood). I had a couple of family friends and relatives die, I knew all of them in person. When I hear about their passings I just stop. I try to remember how they looked like, perhaps what their last words were and then some good conversation we had and a few laughs we threw. Then I smile and keep on going with my business. And why not? Because frankly, sadness is one big waste of time.
Death is a certainty. It does not mean that the time we are alive is unimportant, it means that it is of the most importance. All the courage drawn by others to live from the fear of death, I draw from the acceptance of death and the love to live. If death created time so it could kill the things it would grow, then I will grow until death takes my time away. And I will grow, in time, taking advantage of everything I can, laugh with every joke no matter how crude, learn from every failure, take any considerable risk and finally leave behind something immortal. Because my point of life is not to live forever, my wish is to create something that will. And hopefully I’ll do that, I might as well become the second Socrates mentioned in the History books. Until then I won’t be thinking of death much, I’m just wasting my time fearing the inevitable while I could be doing something considerably more fun. Hopefully it won’t land me to another hospital.