wish i had my own ipad

"It's Done"

It was supposed to be a good night.

My wife Angela was out of town with her friends and I had the house all to myself. I picked up a corny action flick from Redbox, grabbed some takeout, and headed home.

About halfway through the movie I grabbed my new iPad. My wife and I bought matching ones a week earlier as an anniversary gift. Neither one of us really had the chance to upload any new Apps, so I figured it was the perfect time to start wasting away the hours playing some mindless games.

As I turned on the iPad, I noticed an App I had never seen before smack dab in the middle of my front page. It was some countdown App. I opened it and the only thing listed was an event called, “It’s Done.” Next to the name was the countdown clock, which had just hit an hour and 20 minutes.

A thousand different thoughts ran through my head at that precise moment.

How did I get this App? How was the event added? What would happen in a little over an hour?

I’d like to say I was cool, calm, and collected about something that to most people would be quite trivial. But I was an absolute wreck. I already deal with severe anxiety. So this mystery had me climbing the walls.

I thought about calling my wife, but what would I tell her? I mean, I didn’t really know what I even thought. Was my iPad threatening me? Was it some warning from beyond the grave?

As the countdown clock got closer and closer to zero, I got more and more anxious. I eventually ended up going downstairs to our master bedroom, shutting the door behind me, and laying in bed.

As I lay there, I had the iPad propped up on the pillow. Like a tried and true nutcase, I just stared at it. Watched it click down as if it was the New Year’s Eve ball drop.

Then, at exactly five minutes, I heard a loud bang from somewhere in the back of the house. Now, I should point out, I’m anything but brave. So, as any sissy would, I leapt up over the bed, knelt down on the floor, and listened. There was another bang. Then another. Then glass shattering.

In the dark, I reached for my phone, only to realize I had left it upstairs on the coffee table.

Footsteps, heavy footsteps. I could hear them making their way up the stairs. I listened intently as the footsteps made their way to our loft. I then heard them turn back around and head towards the stairs.

I knew then, that it was now or never. I did have a gun. One that I had only shot once in my life. It’s not a manly gun, by any means. Something probably even a woman would be embarrassed to have found in her purse. But anything was better than nothing at this point.

I grabbed the gun from my dresser drawer. As I did, I could hear the heavy footsteps making their way down the hall towards our room. I stood up, my legs shaking wildly.

The door opened. A large silhouette appeared. What happened next is a blur for me. All I can remember is the gun going off. A loud bang. The silhouette lurching backwards. And then silence.

Honestly, I can’t tell you how much time went by before I finally found the nerve to investigate. As I neared the door, I turned on the bedroom light. On the floor was a large man. His neck and arms covered in tattoos. In his right hand was a handgun…far larger than what I had. In his left hand was a phone.

He wasn’t dead. Not yet. The movies make it seem so quick and easy. Bad guy gets shot. Goes down for the count. That’s it. But in real life, death is slow and horrifying. The bullet had punctured his neck. The man made a series of loud gurgling noises as he choked on his own blood. I probably looked heartless as I stood over him, watching him die. But to be honest, I was frozen with fear and anxiety.

After a few minutes, the gurgling stopped, his eyes rolled into the back of his head…and he was gone.

I knelt down beside him. Fear of what had just happened was now replaced by fear of what would come. Would I get arrested? Would I be found guilty of murder? Would I go to jail?

Then his phone started to ring.

I honestly don’t know what compelled me to pick it up. But I did.

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t. But ultimately, I’m glad I did.

“Hello?” came a familiar voice on the other end. “Is it over? Did you kill him?”

I knew the voice. I knew the voice better than I knew my own. And knowing that voice…knowing what it meant to me…what it had meant to me…took the air out of my lungs.

“Hello? Hey, it’s Angela. Are you there? Listen…I left my iPad there. I accidentally took his. Grab it for me before you leave.”

Cancer

I thought of how I would write this. How I would say this to soften the harshness. How not to sugarcoat… no; but how not to be scary, not to be alarmist. But there is no way to say it in any other way. In the past two weeks I’ve been diagnosed with multiple uterine and ovarian tumors. The words tumors and cysts are being used. Not interchangeably but to describe two types of growths that are taking over my body. “Rogue cells” the doctor said and he wasn’t trying to be funny but it made me laugh with the X-Men connotation. Today I had more tests done. Tomorrow there will be more. Biopsies and further invasive procedures. Treatment options are being discussed. Surgeries, laparoscopies, lasers, medications, post procedural follow ups. Expectations. They cannot tell right now. At least they managed to stop the bleeding which was killing me. I was fading away in a constant stream of blood that led me to pass out. That’s how it all began.

I think of my father who died of cancer at age 49. That’s a few years away for me, not even ten. I was exposed to asbestos since the day I was born till I was well into my 20s. The asbestos killed my father. Since then, I have always known it’s a real possibility that I will have to face myself one day. That day might as well be now.

Never been much of a fighter. Not for things that others take for granted at least. Had what many would describe as “a tough life”. No way to say this nicely: fucked up life full of shit and pain and grief, deprivation and sadness. We overcame. My brother and I. He went on to be very successful at what he does. I went on to build what I always wanted: a home. I own nothing. I have a few possessions that are best described as house plants and pets. A few clothes, a few photographies, some good memories, great food, the company of the kindest partner one would wish for and a computer (and an iPad). If I was to die today, I would leave nothing to anyone and I am fine with that. I lived, I spoke, I wrote, said a few things that might or might not be remembered but I never wanted to own things to begin with. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that I even discussed that if the expectancy is bad I would get rid of my clothes while I am still here so that nobody has to deal with the pain of doing it when I am gone. I’ve seen what that did to my mother how it consumed her and I wouldn’t put anyone through that if I can avoid it. Leave a small footprint in stuff. Try to leave a bigger one in ideas.

I don’t know if I will be writing much in the next few weeks. I dread the internet right now. I know there might be people who take solace in wishing cancer kills me. This happens every time someone who is visible goes through misfortune. I expect I will not be an exception. I do know now that I do not want to write about every step of my treatment or procedures. That might change in the next few days or weeks but right now I want to reflect and think and endure. Like so much of my life has been about endurance and this will be no different. Clenched teeth, swallowed tears and snot and moving on. My body is trying to kill me and I am going to do my best not to let it. In the meantime, I’ll be around when I can, trying my best not to think too much.