# # Cancer, Gluttony, & Old Friends in a Suitcase

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Cancer, Gluttony, & Old Friends in a Suitcase


this blog began as a section on my site called “Infinite Diarrhea” which I took down very shortly after starting it because … people were reading it. This, in turn, was causing problems in my already failing marriage …


A couple of days ago, we visited my father and stepmother, the latter whom is recovering from a 6 week session of radiation and chemotherapy for tonsil cancer, which had spread to her lymph node – a cure that left her swollen, excessively burnt about the face and chest, and damn-near dead. She is still hooked up to a feeding tube and looks like a shadow of her former self but the sparkle is back in her eyes and she no longer smells like a corpse.

While visiting them, we had dinner – my Dad’s to-die-for burritos – and for dessert they served up a luscious chocolate and carmel cheesecake, all the while my Step-Mom sat there smiling, watching us eat with a tube hanging out of her gut that ran up to a bag of what amounts to baby formula for adults.

Now, due to her thumb injury, Sharon is not supposed to eat anything that gets her heart rate up; no caffeine, nicotine, etc. This includes chocolate, which, like so many women, is practically Sharon’s lifeblood.

She accepted a piece of the cheesecake, eating dutifully and delicately around the chocolate layer, savoring every bite.

When it was time to go home, Dad insisted we take home the remaining two-thirds of the cheesecake, which we did after some cursory demurement.

The next night, after dinner, I went to work on my homework while Sharon and Mel watched a DVD. I heard them get dessert at one point and imagined myself sinking into a piece after completing my studies.

I finished around a half-an-hour after the girls had finished their movie and was dismayed to see that my daughter and wife had gone to bed without even saying good night to me. Certainly I was engrossed in my work but I had traded a few asides with them both during the movie and afterwards as they went upstairs -yet no one thought of saying good night to ol’ Dad.

Passing through the kitchen, I noted the gutted remnants of the cheesecake container with nary a sticky crumb in sight. Not only had they gone to bed without telling me, they’d not left me even a thin sliver of the dessert!

Of course, saying “they” in the case of the dessert is a bit unfair. I already knew this before I asked but, the next morning, Mel told me that she’d only had one medium-sized piece of cheesecake for dessert the night before; her mom had eaten the rest. “Did she eat the whole rest of the cheesecake while you guys finished the movie?!?” I asked, incredulous. “No, Dad. All that was left by the time I saw it was two pieces worth.”

Sharon had eaten the rest of it – almost half a cheesecake, including the chocolate – during the preceding day!

The very next evening, when I arrived home from work, Sharon was in the bathroom, complaining of diarrhea.

“I’m sick!” she called through the door, “I don’t know why? I hope it’s not a bug!”

In the trashcan there was a large, empty package of strawberry wafer cookies, cookies that had not even been in our larder that morning . .

— — —

I finally got into the garage today, where the bulk of our belongings are stacked or piled haphazardly in boxes and bags, and organized it a bit, pulling many items into the appropriate rooms of the house for unloading.

One box contained a suitcase I’ve not opened in . . . 10 years?

I opened it tonight and it was full of old friends – letters from people dated 1989 that I’ve not read since that date. Names like Liz Jones and Bill Spaulding. I read a few then closed up the suitcase for future perusal.

Part of me was filled with the urge to track down some of these folks but for most of the names, this would prove quite difficult, I am sure.

For one thing, women have a tendency to get married and lose the last names they had in their youth, for another, none of the names likely remaining extant are particularly uncommon.

Besides, 6 years ago I did make the effort to track some old friends and coworkers down and, with few exceptions (Hi, Kevin!) it proved not only fruitless but depressing.

The people we all once were are no more – we grow, we change. That person I knew is gone – dead for all intents and purposes. Certainly some shred of them remains, some vestigial bit of pulp but, for the most part: pfffffft.

That being said, I sure as hell would like to track down Liz Jones.

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