Friday, December 30, 2005

One Word: Eleven (Pi of Pie)

I've been reading Zhoen for a while now, having noticed her thoughtful comments on Dale's blog, and each time that I read a post I think to myself "You ought to tell the world about this."

Zhoen wrote a novel last month, and is posting it in segments. Here's a moment from the most recent episode: having woken early in the wintry darkness, our unnamed heroine sits before her Christmas tree and talks to Death.
"I'm very fond of this holiday. Even my father used to be on his best behaviour this day. So many people around, I suppose. Used to decorate the tree, a real one for many years. Got an artificial, plastic, one when the cost got ridiculous. But my brother and I put it together and decorated that, which was fun in its own way."


"Not much, but it holds all my ornaments. And I think it is pretty. Well, it is festive."

The skeletal figure of her imagination tilts his head at her, 'his' eyes infinite blue.


"Yes. Do you remember the woman I took care of, dying of esophageal cancer? And miserable, in pain, unable to eat, as ugly a way to die as I can imagine. On the last day she spoke, she looked into my eyes so anxious, so worried for her, and said 'It's not that bad.' I figured she was looking you in the face, and despite what her life was like, YOU were not that bad. How could I not believe her, when she took breath on her last day to give me the message not to be afraid? I'm not ready to leave my life, but I'm not afraid of you. I know if I am suffering that much, you are my comfort and my friend. I will not court you out of season, but when you come, I will not fear or hate you."

That paragraph brought a tear to my eye and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Zhoen, thank you for writing.


Blogger zhoen said...

The woman dying was quite real. I treasure her words, and shared them in this envelope story.

Thank you for your kind words.

December 31, 2005 at 1:03:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

I was quite sure that she was real. You know far too much about medicine, and your descriptions are too casually vivid, for it to be invention (given that you are not (yet) a famous novelist).

Re kind words: you earned them :-)

December 31, 2005 at 4:27:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Wow. This was very moving. Thank you for posting it and introducing us to Zhoen.

December 31, 2005 at 6:14:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Anonymous Bill said...

Hello, I'm a "One Word" reader though I have fallen behind with the novel. Christmas tress are rather macabre. I put sugar in our tree's water crudely to imitate its own blood and so prolong its morbid hanging on. I even saw it open further up its trunk to freshly open its veins. Is this then why Zhoen's figure of Death haunts her tree? I certainly see the death of the human patient in the tree, though it lingers on (christlike) past its own death.

January 5, 2006 at 1:27:00 a.m. GMT+1  

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