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An Open Wound 

Sometimes the reservoir goes bone dry

I don't see why adult diapers are such a downer for Daniel and Grant. Not that they wear them yet or anything, it's just they're always instructing me to shoot them the minute they get old enough that the need arises. "Should I shoot you dead?" I ask, "Or should I just shoot you in your worthless ass?" I seriously hate it when people ask me to shoot them, which happens often, oddly. "Just shoot me if I ever end up like that," another friend told me recently, indicating an overweight, overly made-up indigent woman whirring down Ponce de Leon on a motorized stool. Oh, fuck you, I wanted to say.

But I think Daniel and Grant are serious. They would really rather be dead than get so old they need adult diapers. I don't understand that, because a diaper seems so damn incidental. What's so horrible about it? You just strap it on and go, even better if you add a motorized chair. I think choosing suicide over ending up like these people is dishonoring diaper-clad geriatrics on motorized chairs everywhere. For all we know it's a blast running down all the young people on the sidewalk and not having to stop for bathroom breaks on top of it. Take the lady downtown, wedged between the armrests of her stool-scooter like a softened ball of wax, enough makeup on her face for a Kabuki performance, a wig big enough to capture bats and a massive plastic hibiscus behind her ear. She looked like she was having the time of her life. I love her, I thought.

But that's not to say I don't have fears about aging. Certain TV commercials make me want to brick myself up in my house and never come out. Take that one about the "wound-care" center. There's a whole, like, place for people to go because their scratches and stuff won't go away. Until then I had no idea that, at a certain age, your body sometimes decides to stop healing itself, and you can have a wound for years without even knowing exactly how it happened.

But I think Daniel and Grant are serious. They would really rather be dead than get so old they need adult diapers.

The thought just makes me shake like a heroin addict overdue for a fix. I think there should exist some universal fairness that guarantees your physical wounds to heal — the ones that don't kill you anyway — because we are already cursed by the mental ones that are open and always will be. For example, I tried to talk my friend Anna out of having dinner with her ex-boyfriend the other night, but she is only 25 and still believes in closure.

"God, don't go," I wailed over the phone, but she went anyway. Lary and I met her afterward to pick up the pieces, but she didn't seem all that broke apart, surprisingly. I think she is adjusting to the absence of closure. It had been a few months since her boyfriend's seemingly boundless affection turned off like a broken faucet. The stoppage was so sudden I gather it was hard for her to believe it required more than a simple repair job. Let's just fix the faucet, she must have thought. But it wasn't that simple. His reservoir was bone dry, it didn't matter where Anna planted the well. That's just how it happens sometimes and there's not much you can do about it.

Of course I also had a boyfriend who once pulled his love out from under me like a cruel parlor trick. He even moved me out of our apartment on Thanksgiving Day. It all seemed so sudden; one day he held me warmly in his heart and the next I was just hanging out there in the open cold. He said he wanted to stay friends, too, but I soon found out all that meant was he needed me to make him feel better about breaking my heart. Looking back I guess there were signs, like how he'd taken to waking me up in the middle of the night and making me drive him to the hospital because he thought his heart wasn't beating right. Evidently his heart was beating fine, it was the hardening of it that should have had him worried.

I ran into him a year later in a grocery store parking lot. He was dating someone who lived in my apartment building and, he told me, she didn't appreciate the looks I gave her in the elevator. It was a big building and I had no idea who she was — this is the truth — but there was no convincing him.

"You still love me," he said, which I found so poetic, not because it was true, but because there were so many moments prior to this during which that statement would have been true, but he picked this one. "I don't love you," I replied, aghast at both his proclamation and the truthfulness of my response. Yes, my reservoir was bone dry, but there was no convincing him.

So I didn't try. I left, letting him keep his grip on the misguided comfort I guess people get out of believing the hearts they break will never really heal, and that there'll always be an openness there ready to welcome them back.

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