I let things die. When I do not see a clear path forward or fear humiliation in a possible defeat, I come to a standstill. It is the only way of coping I have ever perfected.
Almost every single familial relationship I ever had has disintegrated into nothing. Many of the most important ones, before I turned the age of eighteen. I refused to show my weakness. It is not that I am above forgiveness, it is that I am above fighting for something I think I might lose anyways.
If I think I might be a couple minutes late to class, I do not show up. If I might not get the job, I do not apply. If I am not going to be able to get the physique I want, I just binge eat and think about achieving something else.
I am letting you die. I feel the panic coming on, that I imagine most people feel during these situations. Just as quickly, I feel it being shut off by a malignant resignation. I feel myself calming down. The crisis is not averted, but it is suppressed. I am unable to do anything other than go back to thinking about politics. You are unable to do anything either. Right before the resignation set in, I noticed how sunken in your eyes are.
If you look back over your life, I think you will find I was there for you, for most of it. You always threw up a lot. I cleaned it up, I put you on specialized diets. I did everything I thought I should or could. You were strong and resilient then. I saw a path to victory.
A few years ago, not long after Stella died, you began losing weight. You were constantly hungry. I feared you had cancer and were doomed to die just like Stella did. I was a bit slow to act. I knew how it ended for Stella. The resignation was already coming over me. Somehow, I fought it enough, and we got you in to see the doctor. It was not cancer. You just had a thyroid problem. We put you on medication.
You responded wonderfully. You were the fat guy again that you had always been. It was great. Then when it was time to refill your medication, that was pricey, but still doable, they wanted to run the exact same tests over again. So we did. Your levels came back fine, we got some more medicine. Then they wanted to do it again. I knew it was going to end up being more money than I could afford. I finissed them, got them to give you refills without the tests. They would only go along with that for so long. If I would not pay for you to get more tests, you would not get your medicine.
So you went without, until I was able to find a nonprofit to take you to. They were much less expensive, but still not cheap. The tests added up, especially when I was not getting many hours at work. There were gaps here and there. Nothing major.
Then you started losing weight again. We upped your dose. Your new doctor gave gave you a long supply. The last month or two, you had been losing weight. I knew we would probably have to up your dose again when we checked your blood.
T you ran out, and I did not have money to have your blood checked. So you went off your medication, and you continued to lose weight. I knew this was a problem, but in the past when you were off for a week or two, it was not that big of a deal. I did not worry about it. I put the fact that you were off of medication out of my mind because there was nothing I could do about it.
I did briefly entertain going to the doctor and saying that I had no money and needed to get your levels checked. I could appeal to her and our personal relationship. I could convince her that I would pay her back if she provided the services upfront.
I thought this might work, but I also knew it might not. So I decided just to wait for a more sure thing. I would get money soon and then we could pay for all of your tests and get you taken care of. Until then, there was no point in worrying.
Please understand, I knew this was all wrong. I am just telling you how I rationalized it. I do not want you to believe any of this, because I did not entirely believe any of this. I was letting you die.
Once we got you tested and the results came back the doctor called, frantic. “His levels are through the roof!”
“Well he has been off of the meds for about two weeks. I did not have money for his medication, but even before that he was losing weight again. I got him in as soon as I could.”
“Patrick, never do that again. I will be so mad if you do. I would have given you medication and done the tests and you could have paid me whenever you got the money.”
I told her I understood and in the future I would do that. I told her that other than you losing weight, you seemed to be doing well.
Here is where I really fooled myself. For a brief moment, I thought you were doing fine. Somehow I convinced myself that another crisis had been averted. I got you your drugs just in the nick of time, and I would be able to smooth this one out and pretend like nothing ever happened, just like I always have before.
Once I started getting your medicine into you, you just started throwing up more. I do not think you have eaten in a couple days. You throw up so much. You are tripping now, when you try to walk.
I thought about texting the doctor right now. Letting her know you are not doing well. Then I thought “what can she do now?” So I will call first thing in the morning.
I am scared she is going to realize that you are in worse shape than I let on before. I am thinking of explaining to her, that I did not realize what bad shape you were in. I thought you were just losing weight. I did not realize you would stop eating, even when food is offered to you. I did not see how sunken in your eyes are.
I am rubbing your bony body, yelling at myself. I have let you die, and I am thinking more about what the doctor will think of me.
You. I have been in love with you for a long time now. You are so beautiful. You are just a cat, and Merrick, you are so much more than that.
You are a strong, pissy creature. You never take shit from anyone. Now though, you are so much weaker than that.
When I was little, I wished for a fucked up world. I wanted enemies I could battle and overcome, just like I thought members of my family did.
Only in adulthood have I wanted a more perfect world, one that we do not have to fix. I think people want a perfect world, when they lose faith in the characters of this story to battle the imperfections.
I am imperfect. I have holes and voids in me. I know how to spin narratives in which I make others think I have made progress. I forget to let them know that I let you die.
I so sorry. I love you so much. I do not know if you are in pain or if you are scared. I do not know if rubbing you hurts you. I do not know what the fuck I am doing.