I am mournful and despondent.
I am sorrowful.
Such words don’t seem to do my emotions justice but they will suffice.
I am exhausted with worry.
I am fatigued with concern.
I can’t sleep.
My best mate Berty has had another seizure and remains unconscious in a hospital. The hospital is far away in the state of Nevada.
In the US of A.
I thought I had prepared myself for this event as Berty had a brain tumour removed some months ago. It was a big shock to all of us and an even bigger shock to discover that the brain tumour was a manifestation of a melanoma.
The melanoma was a grade 4 one.
I didn’t even know that melanomas had grades but they do. There is a scale from one to four with one being the least severe.
Berty’s melanoma is an untreatable one and the ugly fucker of a thing decided to first attack his brain and grow itself a tumour.
A big one.
I of course rushed over to be my mate’s side.
How could I not?
When I arrived he had a bald head and a very big scar that scared me to look at it.
I made him wear a hat.
He was released from hospital a couple of days before I arrived and I spent a week and a half with him. His bravery and his humour and his personality were intact and I didn’t cry very much in Nevada.
I never shed a tear in front of Berty.
I tried to be strong.
In fact we laughed quite a lot.
We reminisced about our youth and the crazy things we used to get up. We talked deep into the night or until his medications rendered him into a deep sleep. Berty remembered a lot more things than I did. Most of our memories involved the beach and surfing and girls. They were our passions when we were kids and when we were young adults too.
They are our passions still.
We used to drive Berty’s battered EH Holden station wagon up and down the coastline of Australia seeking waves and adventure. We took risks and had a carefree and flippant approach to life.
We were footloose
We were fancy free.
Even back then we both shared a sense of belonging to the ocean and we felt a responsibility to preserve it and protect it. We respected the waves that we rode and we were simply joyful whenever we were in the water. It was a type of liberation that was absolute and I can even now taste the salt of the water on my lips and feel the sun on my back.
I can hear the wash of the waves as they swept up the sand.
I can remember our whoops of joy as we caught big waves.
It is a bitter sweet memory now though for it was in those times that the sun bit into Berty’s fair skin and that fucker of a melanoma took residence in my mate’s body.
It skulked and it lurked and it loitered and then it lunged.
I hate it more than I hate anything.
I despise that my mate is in pain and his once strong body is now frail and weak. I abhor that his once sharp mind and his zest for life has been blunted. I loathe checking the messages on my phone and opening the ones that I receive from Dana – Berty’s most beautiful and wonderful wife.
I am terrified.
I am petrified.
I am dazed and trembling and I am shaken and sad.
I feel hopelessly lost.