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FICTION / Dr. Oblivion Awaits / Mason Binkley

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“Your oatmeal’s rotting, babe. Are you going to eat it?” But she already knows the answer. She knows I can’t eat anything, not now, not like this.

I shrug my shoulders and sigh, then gaze down upon this cold heap of oatmeal with raisins scattered on top. The raisins resemble lymph nodes in one’s neck—perhaps my neck—swollen from an infection or a tumor. Truth be told, it’s probably the worst kind of tumor, the kind that grows rapidly and laughs at you in your sleep, both hastening and celebrating your demise.

“I really don’t want to see the doctor today,” says a meek, unstable voice, a voice that sounds exactly like my own. Meanwhile, a silver spoon hangs suspended in the air just above the bowl, this spoon connected to these trembling fingers of mine.  

“It’s a routine doctor’s appointment,” she says. “It’s not a death sentence, right?”

I wonder, Why would she ask that unless she believes there’s a chance the doctor will discover symptoms of a terminal condition? Just consider the possibilities! Cancer, liver disease, heart disease, cancer, a flesh-eating bacteria, cancer. The ways in which one can die stress the limits of imagination.

Lulu stares up at me and whimpers. Precious Yorkshire, worthy of great envy. She cannot look into the future, as I do now, and glimpse its malicious secrets.

“I haven’t seen the doctor in two years,” the voice says again, making me flinch. “I’m worried about what the doctor will find.” The spoon falls into the bowl. The heap of oatmeal looks bloated and sickly. The malignant cells in the raisins have undoubtedly metastasized.

She sighs and shakes her head, rolls her eyes. “You’ll be okay,” she says, “but call me afterwards.” She kisses me on the cheek. “Maybe get some anti-anxiety meds, too,” she says, walking out the door.

I wonder, What kind of consolation is that? If she truly believes I’ll be okay, why would she need me to call her afterwards to reassure her of this?

But I have no urge to wonder, to decipher her doublespeak. I have already made up my mind, and so I cancel my appointment with Dr. Oblivion. “Would you like to reschedule?” the receptionist asks, and I hang up.

I call in sick to work, then take off my shoes and lie on the couch with Lulu and watch the fan spin. I love this fan, my medicine, how the blades rotate so consistently and predictably in the same direction, at the same speed. If only I could spin around and around in childlike abandonment with no worries or thoughts of the future, if only I could do that, I'd be cured.