The Worst of Me

BY SHAUN LAFOUNTAIN

November 28th. I have to be honest; I’ve never written a diary before. I’m writing one because I’m not sure how much longer I have to live. Three days ago I was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, a condition that will kill me within the next six months. All I can hope for is for someone to find my journal and hear my story. I hope my life from here on in will inspire and uplift because life shouldn’t be taken for granted, and those that are living will hopefully find a new appreciation for all the precious moments they have left.

November 29th. The snow’s moving in and the days are getting shorter. I’m alone again in my room with only my binders filled with baseball cards to keep me company, gazing out my bedroom window at the dark clouds as they sail by. In the corner of my room is my baseball bat and my black leather baseball glove. They reminded me how much I missed playing baseball. I went to the doctor’s office today for a checkup. On the drive back home I had another panic attack: tunneled vision, throat clenched shut, heart beating out of control like a bomb ready to explode. Knowing I’ll die within six months is the most terrifying experience anyone could have to deal with. The panic attacks feel more like heart attacks each time I suffer one and I take comfort in my baseball cards and sports memorabilia. I could have been a great baseball player you know if it’d hadn’t been for this fucking brain tumor.

December 9th. The last journal entry I wrote was ten days ago and I feel it’s necessary to write another one. My parents are going nuts, probably because of the fact that I’m going to die in the upcoming year. My mother is in complete denial of my condition. “You don’t have a brain tumor!” she said. “You’re not going to die!” She was walking away while crying hysterically. I love my mother. I really do, but I keep trying to tell her how denial is more than just a river in Egypt. I walked over to the corner of my room and slipped my baseball glove on, reminding myself of the glory days of high school sports, and how I earned myself a full scholarship, all expenses paid. I put my glove down, pick up my bat, and swing it through the empty air of my bedroom, reliving the home run and how it won us 1st place. I miss playing so much.

December 31st. The snow is so deep it’s taller than my little cousin; he comes over to visit while I stay in my room. Christmas sucked, but I’m getting in really great shape now: 175 lbs. down from 210 lbs.! I can run for miles, complete one hundred sit ups, and finish hundreds of push-ups in the course of the day! I’m enjoying the taste of coffee so much now that I drink pot after pot with hardly any milk or sugar. I remember my hair being thicker and my teeth being whiter. Whatever. Doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Mom’s bringing me and hopefully I’ll hear some good news!

January 1st. “YOU DON’T HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR!” She kept yelling this at me with tears streaming down her face, but the more she yelled at me the angrier I was getting. I had to leave the house. She kept yelling about some knee injury I was suffering with as the reason for the doctor’s appointments. What the fuck? Does she think I’m fucking stupid or something? Mom, I have a fucking brain tumor and not a knee injury, and I hope that one day you’ll realize how much you’ll miss your son when he’s dead and gone. Mom: your son is passing away quickly in front of your very eyes and you’re too dumb to fucking realize you’re minimizing the situation because of your inability to cope. I’ll miss you when I’m gone.

January 2nd. I walked all over town last night and didn’t return home until 4 o’clock in the morning. My knee hurt but I kept on walking, drinking coffee all the while. I’m not sure what was happening to me; the tumor could’ve been playing tricks on my brain or something because I know I saw myself standing in the back alleyway of Main St. and 6th St. with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in years. I’m certain half these people are dead. I was there, wearing my leather studded jacket with sunglasses propped up on top of my head like I’d been wearing them earlier in the day, looking like a real rebel without a clue. We passed a joint and laughed about something I couldn’t quite hear. The pot tasted good, but I don’t remember ever smoking pot before, but there I was, laughing like a raving lunatic while ripping into some dank hydroponics. The “me” outside of this rebel group drank coffee and walked home through the bitter cold, confused and shocked at the sight of a rebel doppelganger. “That wasn’t me,” I said under my breath.

January 10th. My knee is killing me. I put ice pack after ice pack on it but all I keep thinking of is how this brain tumor is giving me a pounding headache and I know I have around five more months to live so a slight knee injury isn’t going to take away the pain of knowing I’m about to fucking die. “Fucking baseball,” I said to myself. Mom walked into my room and reminded me about how the knee let go on me one day during baseball practice, costing me the chance to continue a possible baseball career. My hair is getting thinner and it feels like my teeth are falling out, and I don’t want to hear her lies. I remind her about my headache and put the three ice packs to my head. “I could have been a professional player you know,” I say to her. Mom asks me if I want to go with her to McDonald’s; I go with her, order a combo meal #4 and see myself working behind the cash register. I looked much younger than I am right now.

February 16th. My parents have contacted a special program they’d like to see me put into. I kept losing more weight and getting in better shape, the best shape of my life. Girls were finally noticing me. I saw the way they’d whisper over to their friends. But I didn’t want to go into any program and my knee was always fucking killing me so much that it’d taken away from the fact that I suffered from a serious brain tumor! I pushed the dresser in front of my bedroom door and made it nearly impossible for anyone to get in after me. I picked up my baseball bat and smashed everything in sight: the window, the bed, my desk, and all my baseball cards. Clumps of my hair were flying everywhere. The police were there before I even had the chance to grab a glass shard and end it right there. I was going to kill myself and all I kept saying to them was, “Let me go or I’ll fucking kill you.” I just wanted to be a baseball player, always had for my entire life.