Scars cover him. A small cut marks the site of his appendectomy. A long, long gash marks the site of his kidney transplant. Two twin scars mark his two back surgeries. On his chest he has what he claims is a scar from when he got shot, but it’s really where the surgeons put in a central line to keep him alive.
Nico’s scarred body bears witness to a fact that is difficult for me to grapple with–the person I love has significant health issues and will likely die far sooner than anyone should.
I try to be the person who just drinks in the joy. We’ve got each other for however long, so I might as well enjoy that however long, right?
But sometimes I can’t stop myself from thinking about it. I have this internal struggle: there’s a part of me who so forcefully wants to take care of him and another who wants to respect him by letting him take care of himself. The forceful caretaker is the stronger of the two, of course, and I find myself wanting to force sublingual b12 tablets on him to boost his suppressed immune system and make him exercise with me and cook him healthy, vitamin-packed foods. I’m pretty amazing at mothering, and I know I’d take great care of him, and possibly extend his life by years.
But then I realize that I don’t want to be his mother. He already has one of those. If I hovered and nutured all the time, we’d grow to resent each other–he’d resent my hovering, and I’d resent him resenting my hovering.
He has determined how he wants to live his life, however much of it is left. He wants to enjoy it.
So I will enjoy it with him. I’ll eat pizza and drink beers with him while we play Guitar Hero. The only exercise we’ll do together is have lots of great sex.
I will enjoy it with him. But it won’t ever stop me about wondering and worrying about the future, how sick he might get, how soon he might leave me.