Surprise Visits

by Mary Gregorio

They show up with their pained and sympathetic faces when I least expect them; but, of course, that’s the nature of surprise visits, isn’t it. They need something from me, but they don’t know how to ask and so they carry the funereal bouquets and search for the non-existent vase in which to put them and when it doesn’t turn up, they abandon the package to a windowsill where the heat from the vent will toast the petals until, like me, they are limp and sagging. They want to know what it feels like to be dying, but they are fearful that if they ask the questions, they will somehow glimpse their own deaths. Crabby is what I feel, not spiritual or enlightened, but crabby, and pissed off, and my ass hurts from a month of being anchored to lambskin and foam with tubes snaking in and out everywhere. But I don’t tell them that I feel crabby and that my ass hurts because they’ve come such a long way, and they’ve interrupted their busy schedules, and they would be so disappointed. They don’t want my dying to be common and I have never wanted to disappoint them.


Mary Gregorio, author of Mental Health, is almost always a reader of 6S.