I was 5 years old when I knew Kami. We were the same age. Our families where close friends and we did everything together. Looking back today, it's so easy to say we were best friends, just like our families. Kami and his family moved from Iran before we did and we all lost touch. My Father and his Father found each other about a year ago and rekindled their friendship as if no time had passed. I hadn't had the chance to see Kami yet when my Father gave me the bad news. It's true we don't know each other, and maybe he doesn't even remember me...but when I heard the news about Kami being ill, I took it to heart. I've been thinking about him for the past few weeks and it has effected every second of my life. I know he will be ok, but...
Someone else may deal with this by buying a bouquet of flowers and paying a visit...but me, I guess I have my own way. I mean no disrespect by this story. Nor is it my intention to cause more pain. This is me. This is me dealing with a tough situation by writing the nasty feelings that are floating around in my head as if thinking out-loud. I can only trust and hope that my family and friends and perhaps the world are open minded enough to maybe say it's ok to express my feelings with this bitter story. Perhaps...
Everyone deals with tough situations differently, and maybe that can be ok.
It turns out I'm going to die. No ones know when or how exactly.
I'm told "things", meaning my body parts, will eventually stop working. Well, that's life for you.
Let me start from the beginning, it was Friday night when I came home to find Mina watching Television. Mina and I have been living together for four years now, she's…how do you say…special. You know, as in she has these adorable qualities about her that make me laugh and miss her when she's not around. Anyways, I came home to find Mina watching TV…
"Hey you" she said, "how was your day?"
"Not bad, but my stomach is killing me, there's this sharp pain that comes and goes and I just can't get rid of it." I rubbed the spot where I was feeling the sharp pains..."what? why are you looking at me like that? I'm not dying!" I said in response to the weird look she was giving me. She stood up, "I think it's appendicitis, we have to go to the emergency room" I couldn't help but laugh "What? no. I probably didn't digest my lunch, come on it's nothing…" but she insisted "I've seen this before, you have to go to the hospital" and before I knew it I was in the hospital where strangers were poking at me…and that's how this whole thing began.
So, I'm going to die.
It turns out it wasn't appendicitis, it turns out I have cancer. Yep. Good old cancer. Of the prostate kind, that is. No telling how long I'll live, or if I'll live. It's funny. Death, I mean. Don't think I'm being bitter because I'm dying! No, I'm just telling it like it is. It's funny how you find out who really cares about you or what matters at all when it's time to die. You know it's as if death carries a sort of truth.
He was in his late 60's . The doctor who told me I was going to die. That's probably why I didn't question him. Old people know what they're talking about, at least that's what my Father always says. So hey, if this old man thinks I'm going to die, who am I to argue? Besides I couldn't understand half the stuff the man was saying, it was as if he was speaking a different language. But based on "the deer in the headlights" look frozen on my parents' face, I accepted the fact that I'm dying. Well, I accepted it at the time but it didn't really hit me until people began to treat me as if I was really dying.
I was told the cancer had spread and surgery was a must. "ASAP" they said…"well, I don't have much else to do right now" I thought…God look at me I'm sarcastic about my own death. I wonder how Dr. Holakooyi would diagnose that? "The man is crazy, but it's ok, he'll be dead soon" ??? hmmm yes perhaps that is how he'd diagnose me. Yes, perhaps he would talk about me at one of his lectures, he'd refer to me as the brave, yet crazy man who managed to maintain his sense of sarcasm right to his death bed. But all jokes aside, it did hit me. It hit me when they told me they had to remove my testicles. "Well that's nice. Just cut the damn thing off if you must…who cares at this point? If it keeps me breathing then take 'em…I'll gladly sacrifice my balls"
Deep down I wanted to cry. Not so much because of my soon to be gone body parts, but because of the pain everyone else around me was going through. I heard my mother sobbing something along the lines of "Oh dear God, he'll never have children…" Is she serious I thought? She's worried about me having children? Really? Does it matter? At this point should the thought of future off-springs who may carry the same wonderful gene that's put me here in the first place even come up? And that's why I wanted to cry. Doesn't anyone realize I may never watch a movie again? I may never get to blow my nose in the shower, or park my car in a "no parking" spot, that I may never listen to the radio or drink a cup of coffee, that I may never do laundry, watch a football game or who are we kidding, that I may never breathe again…now does it really matter if they cut off my balls and I loose the wonderful privilege of having children? I wanted to call my mother in the room and say "You had me, and where did that get you? You ended up with an almost dead son minus the balls!" But I couldn't do that to her, somehow I felt more sorry for everyone else than I did for myself. Maybe I felt sorry for them because deep down I thought they were stupid, yes stupid for thinking so highly of my sperm…I say "they" because my mother wasn't the only person placing such emphasis on the situation at hand, I actually had the pleasure of watching a gorgeous nurse strut her stuff into my room, carrying all kinds of papers and files and having the following conversation with me:
-"Sir," she began in a soft voice, "I regret…"
I'm not sure what happened, I just know I couldn't take her feeling sorry for me so I didn't let her say another word, I finished her sentence for her…"You regret what? The fact that I'm dying or the fact that your hospital will soon be the proud owner of my balls? Which is it that you regret, huh? Well damn it, don't just sit there and look at me, speak!"
The look on her face told me I was screaming. I was taking it out on her. Damn. Now what? Shit. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to yell at you."
-"It's quite alright sir. I understand your situation. It's just that there are some forms you must sign and I must speak with you about some of the options available to you before you are prepped for surgery"
"Yeah ok. Wait, options? What? You mean there's different ways of cutting off my balls?" Once again, I didn't let her answer "I don't really care, you know, just cut them off"
-"Sir" It almost sounded like she was pleading with me...
"Sorry, you were saying" and she stepped up next to my bed and along with the wonderful smell of her perfume handed me some papers… and as I thought about how this may be the last time I ever smell perfume… she broke me out of my trance.
-"So the first set of papers basically explain that you understand the procedure and that the hospital is not liable in any way."
I signed it and handed it to her. She smiled at me, she smiled as if she was thinking the same thing that I was thinking, "I'm going to die, what difference does it make if I die under the knife or over it?"
She handed me another piece of paper "This is to inform you that you can have your sperm frozen and stored here at the hospital for future use."
WHAT? I thought. Has everyone completely lost their minds? Do people know something I don't know about children? Is there some phenomenon I've failed to realize? Who gives a shit about kids and frozen sperm right now. I'm dying!!!
But she continued "The procedure will be done while you're under anesthesia"
"That's great, otherwise it would hurt like a bitch" I said.
-She stopped and looked at me. It was as if she didn't know whether she could laugh or not…I smiled, she smiled. One of those very uncomfortable, forced smiles and continued "there's a one time fee of $15,000 for the procedure, and if you opt to store your goods here then there's a $1200 monthly storage fee."
"My GOODS? Is that what we're calling it now? and $1200 a month to keep my sperm in some ice box?"
"I must remind you sir that if you chose to opt out of this there's no going back. I suggest you take some time and think about this, I can come back in an hour..."
"Yeah, well I'm going to concentrate on staying alive for right now, you know, figure out how to sit without my balls before I worry about freezing my future children. OK? is that clear?" I snapped, I couldn't help it. Idiots, I'm dying and they're worried about the next generation of cancer carrying walking genes. I signed the papers without reading any of it. I didn't care.
I didn't get to see Mina during any of this, everything happened so fast and the poor girl probably got lost between my family and their sobs…I would see her after my surgery. "No worries at all" that's what the Doctor had said. He said "This is a routine procedure", you know as if there are men lined up getting their balls cut off daily…
I managed to make it. Ahh don't get your hopes up I don't mean I managed to make it through the cancer, I mean I managed to make it through the knife that took away my manhood. Yep, they cut them off. They did find a lot more of the cancer every where else, but I'm told they can only cut things off one at a time, so I'm not cancer free yet.
Once I came to, all I could think about was seeing Mina and telling her I'd be thinking about her while I crossed the tunnel to the other side…Still groggy, I could make out a conversation,
"Well if he stays at my house then what's going to happen to Kitty? you know Kitty doesn't like anyone, she gets all agitated when strangers come over"
"It's a cat Mohammad, I think your son is a little bit more important than that stupid cat…"
And as they went on, I couldn't help but panic and wonder… why did I need to go somewhere? what happened to Mina? to our home? how silly that my death is interrupting my parents' life and poor Kitty...
"How are you son?" I guess my Father noticed I was awake…
"Well Dad, I'm as good as any ball-less man on his death bed, how are you?"
He forced a smile "I'm glad to see you're doing well"
"Where's Mina? tell her to come in, I want to see her before I die"
His brows drew together "Don't talk like that, you need to stay positive"
"Sorry dad, I'm just kidding, I just really want to see her, you know"
He looked down. I could tell something wasn't right. "What's wrong Dad?" when he looked up I saw the tears, "she, hum, she said she moved out, she said she didn't have the ability to take care of you and that, well, she wasn't about to waste her life with someone who could never give her any children"
I laughed. I laughed to make my Dad feel a little better. Maybe I laughed to make myself feel a little better. I don't really know. All I could think at that moment was "DAMN IT, I should've frozen my sperm!"
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