by David Lohrey
Surgery is scheduled. I got the green light.They’ll slice me open next Friday.He says it will be dangerous.I could die. The main worrywill be post-op blood clots.One of those and I’d be a goner.Are you ready? Ready? Ready for what?Ready for surgery? Ready for death?The doctor enters, holds my hand, and asks if I’d like a little somethingto relieve the pain. I’ll be dead in a few hours.Are you ready to go?What an absurdity to say you’rein your prime. You’re not in goodshape, even if you can hit the ball.The Golden Years are over. Whenher mother died at 93, Andreatook steps to sue the hospital. She thoughther mother was good for another ten.By ninety, it’s time. You take a privateberth on the Silver Liner. Hang up the Do Not Disturb sign and lie back.Just don’t do it before reading Tolstoy.Be sure to listen to Mahler. Catch a play on the London’s West End and be sureto have a pastrami at Langer’s.There’s an endless list of thingsto do, and you mustn’t get off at the wrong station. You’ll be on the Express. If you could turn back the clock,where would you stop? At ten? Or when you were at your most sexually potent? Would you like to play short-stop one last time or would youprefer to see the Grand Canyon? Somewould like the chance to say hi to a loved-one. One last chance to be disappointed.Sondheim sees our joy mixed with sadness.He even remembers to include a little desperation.You’re in your tux and feel like crying. That sounds just about right. If only you could pee againwithout wincing. How delightful to review your declensions. How about re-watching all your favorites, beginning with Bertolucci? And, wouldn’t it be grand to pat someone’s ass one last time, and be thanked for it?The surgeon drops by my room for a visit.He eases himself on to the floor so we can speak eye to eye; I realize he’s a realhuman being. What a relief. We chat and hebrings me up to date. We review my options, and he explains the risks. I rest my handon his knee and have a realization.He will be my last friend.