Apathy in C Minor

Oct 3, 2016 by

I remember the exact moment I stopped caring whether I lived or died. I was among the slot machines, all perfectly tuned to C minor, and their elderly occupants smoking my first cigarette. This wasn’t like the suicidal revenge seeking 13-year-old who actually tried, this felt more like apathy than anger and indifference than sadness.

My exact thought was, “If I die of lung cancer, so be it.”

This was life-altering for me. As a little girl I’d ripped up my own fathers cigarettes in protest, complained loudly and passionately outside of dingy bars as my friends pulled out Marlboros and Newports. I’d always cared about myself, about others. I didn’t want to see anyone get hurt.

But who really gives a fuck.

If my life is meant to end after a long and painful process of chemo and surgeries and trying to get those little balls to go to the top of that plastic thing via my lung capacity than bring it on. Needles don’t really scare me, bring on the IVs. Neither does surgery, nor anesthesia, I’m ready.

Old people love slots machines, especially old ladies. They come in fanny packs stuffed with twenties read to be squandered and sweatshirts that show their love of cats or grandchildren or Jesus. White hair like a little cotton ball, which bounces with ecstasy on the odd chance they win, but mostly remains stationary as one twenty dollar bill at a time slithers clumsily into the slot.

Spin, spin, spin: loser. Spin, spin, spin: loser again. I watch them as I puff away, letting the smoke and tar fill my lungs, feeling the pollutants settle in. Spin, spin, spin: winner! She turns and sees me watching from behind her, she excitedly shouts, “I won! I won $300!” Lights go off and loud music plays as it spits out an anticlimactic ticket that she can go anticlimactically cash in at a makeshift ATM.

I’m not afraid to die and for the first time, I’m not afraid to live.

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