I go looking for evidence of our partnership that’s not tied to a memory of me sleeping on two chairs pushed together next to his hospital bedside.
My Gmail is a priceless hoard of us making plans, telling inside jokes, calling each other “snoodle” and “bubbies.” I type his name into the search field and enter a world of the unscripted dialogue that filled our 9-to-5 existence. In hundreds of chats automatically saved to my account, we express our love for each other readily and naturally in our own private speech.
He barely remembered specifics the next day, but I still get a lump in my throat when I think about it.
We had this conversation three days after we returned home: In December 2008, Clark called my mother to apologize for the fact that I wasn’t going to be home to spend Christmas Day with them.
Did he always know he was going to die, or did he think there was a chance?
Did he believe me when I told him stories of the people whose tumors had shrunk to nothing, seemingly by magic?
These accounts weren’t just spamming him, they were sending somewhat explicit messages in an attempt to entice him to join a private webcam chat with a 22- or 23-year-old woman, depending on which of the six porn bots he engaged with. If you’re unfamiliar, Play Station Network (PSN) and Xbox Live (XBL) both have messaging platforms that allow users to interact with one another.
Without even thinking about it, I’d roll my jeans halfway up my calves and get into the bathtub to pull him up.
I shaved his face and gave him his painkillers at perfectly timed intervals. Now my breath quickens when the answer to a clue in my crossword, “Body fluid buildup,” is “edema,” the condition in Clark’s left leg that caused it to swell and dwarf his right.
Clark: figure I’ll notice there first Me: you never know Clark: when are you leaving? Clark: k i love you Me: i will get gatorades and ensures. The treatment has a slim chance of success but it’s one of the only regimens approved specifically for melanoma by the FDA.
Patients are typically bedridden with dizzying flulike symptoms and are uncharacteristically irritable or moody. He had a high fever and soiled the bed again and again during his second IL-2 treatment.