“I’m dying,” said I.
“I know. How far would you go?” said she. “How far would you go to be free?”
“Free of the thing that is killing me? Cut it out! Carve and slice, burn and dice, poison it until it disappears. I surrender to the physician’s knife and knowledge. In short: do whatever it takes. Come what may, I want to live.”
“But how? How would you live? Gouge out an eye? Cut off a limb? Less a piece, what becomes of the whole?”
“Missing a piece? Or missing peace? What peace is there when my pieces won’t play fair? What good is a whole body if the body is dead? Give me instead a hole in the body, if the body with the hole is healthier than the body whole. Alive to death at last, I will thunder death to that which might steal this life before its time.”
“Which life?” she replied. “Do you really trust the Physician? To cut out anger? Or burn out hate? To answer and empty your ravenous envy and greed? To release you from bitterness, that wasting disease that numbs all the hearts senses? Would you part with your eye if that eye is now dark?”
“Is it though? Dark it may be, I can still see … or … think I can see. Is that not the real world before me? Filled with beauty and empty of meaning? Vanity, vanity!” I cry. And yet I yearn for another day. What of that? “You may be right.” I said. “If I have wrapped myself in dark light and comforted my bitter heart with enabling platitudes, then death is not at the door. It is inside already and I cannot see it. Will I trust the Physician?”
“Better a hole in the body than a dead body whole,” she said again.