I am beset with a cloud of sighs.

posted Jun 29, 2016, 4:41 PM by Scot Casey   [ updated Jun 29, 2016, 4:42 PM by Scot Casey ]
Saw a kid at the lake the other day. Walking past me. Cut-offs, no shirt, jaunty stride, king of the road, not a care in the world. 

I'm holding a book of Shakespeare's Sonnets, glancing at it occasionally, memorizing, a lumbering bear soaked to the bone with experience and guilt. 

Kid looks back for a quick glance: checks out the book, my inward gaze, smirks at me like: Sucker! Reading a book while you're out at the lake! Loser. I'll never be THAT guy! Skips off towards the pier next to a boat launch like as happy as a dog chasing birds just to make them fly. His whole life in front of him, still we behind the ears with newness and innocence. 

Suddenly I remember when most of the world was new, bright, shining, as pink as young girl's tongue. Used to go to a YMCA day camp out at Lake Dallas. I remembered the first time I ever ran down a pier and jumped straight into the water, not checking timidly with a toe for temperature or looking for rocks, just fucking jumping for joy. 

At the same camp, there was a little carnival before the one night we got to sleep out there. A kissing booth. Some of the older girls and a couple of junior counselors. I was maybe 12. Darla was cut-offs and t-shirt and a tan and about 16. I walked up the booth and puckered my lips for a kiss like Alfalfa and she grabbed my face and kissed me and slipped her tongue into my mouth like a surprise. She tasted like nothing i'd ever experienced before: the taste of summer and sweet sex and bubble gum and lakewater and blue skies and starlite above a campfire. All my buddies saw it and for the rest of the night, I was a young god, running like a buck through the woods, climbing trees like Tarzan, absolutely golden and immaculate and full of youthful happy hope. 

All of this in a flash of the kid's smirk and skipping away...

This morning I was at the Nuclear Cardiology lab at the hospital. Sharp pains in my heart led me there after seeing a doctor last week. They hooked me up to an IV and injected me with a radioactive isotope, Technetium (Tc Atomic Number 43, half-life = 6.1 hours). The first of two radioactive injections. Then they sent me to the waiting room for my heart to fill with radioactive joy. I mentally recited sonnets 49 through 70. 

They return and I am led to a plastic room that no one wants to remain in for very long and told to lay down on one of those plastic tables while a plastic tube full of metal orbited around me. The nurse showed me what looked like a hurricane coming through the static on a dead TV channel and said: that's your heart. 

I closed my eyes and worked on sonnets 71 through 90. 

Then I was taken to a treadmill and given drugs to artificially speed-up my heart while I stared at post card of tropical beaches and a kitten in a santa hat. I told the nurse I found the kitten in the santa hat to be profoundly disturbing. She asked why. I said it was hard to articulate: something about a calculated cuteness mixed with an inhuman morality. No laughter. The speed of the treadmill seemed to increase. 

Afterwards, I was told not to cross the border. They have radioactive sensors that I would trigger. Not going into Canada, returning back to the US. The US does not allow radioactive people to enter into the country. Good to know. 

Next, I was fitted with a Holter harness, a portable EKG for 48 hours. I'm supposed to write down any pains in my Heart Log. So far, this is what I have:

Heart Log: 1:02 pm. Cannot remember the third quatrain of Sonnet 56. Slight pain.

Heart Log: 1:30 pm. Co-worker texts teddy bear emoji. Highly nauseated. 

Heart Log: 2:01 pm. Notice old woman eyeing my portable EKG with admiration. I've got street cred with the aged and infirm. Moment of euphoria

Heart Log: 2:30 pm. There's an old man starting at me from the other side of the mirror. Vertigo. Have to turn away and lie down. 

Heart Log: 2:45 pm. I dare to eat a peach. The world around me whimpers. I am beset with a cloud of sighs. 

Heart Log: 4:32 pm. Deep aching pain of nostalgia as I wonder how that young boy full of hope as he leaps into water over his head ends up as an old man reciting tired sonnets as he walks in circles... never leaving the dry land