Degeneracy takes on many forms. My whole life I’ve seen it creeping into all the nooks and crannies of the world. Social justice rising to be the only ideology, its only opposition memes posted anonymously on online forums. People with morals so sick and twisted they hate themselves for a stupid list of things: having “unliberal” thoughts, having “sinful” thoughts (which are actually very much alike “unliberal” thoughts,) being descendants of white oppressors, being white, male or both…
People hate themselves, and I hate people. After today, there won’t be a single person I will be able to talk to. Because you see, degeneracy takes on many forms. One of them is stage four kidney cancer, which my rock got as a gift last christmas. We were still celebrating my practically unopposed reelection when she learned the news. It slowly grew during this past year until it was beyond the point where she can survive.
So here I am, at 4 am in the morning, wondering about degeneracy and how we’ve come to this point. My rock is sedated on the bed. She’s ok now, but she had an episode a while back. I doubt she’ll live much longer. “Hey, I’m not dead yet,” she whispers from her deathbed. I smile at her and hold her hand. “Do you regret—” I start, but she interrupts me. “Don’t. Don’t go there. It won’t lead you to a good place. Remember what she always said.” Oh yes, “A predator’s heart knows no remorse.”
I smile. She’s right, of course. “Still, what if we had left when they were accusing her of the insurance fraud scheme?” “Huh,” she exclaims before coughing hard, “… for all your wisdom you don’t get it chief. She was a wolf, just like you. You can’t expect a wolf to sit down and graze like a fat, purple-haired sheep, can you?” I shake my head, smiling. “Sure, she would have lived longer. But it would have consumed you both knowing you were so close only to surrender.”
“But I don’t want it,” I say. “Then resign,” she says, almost laughing at me. “Now, you know I can’t do that. I can’t throw away what I’ve worked my whole life for. What she worked her whole life for—” I break down in cries and soon she accompanies me. I really can’t believe she’s going to leave me alone in this world. She’s got the good end of the bargain, finally resting in peace after a successful career. It’s us who stay behind that suffer the death of the ones we love.
“You’ve reached the stars, and I’m glad I could help you do it. I don’t—” she stops to cough, “… I don’t mind this cancer thing so much because of that. You can’t see it now, but you will be remembered for a long time to come. This new world that I’ve heard you b-word and complain about, you shaped it this way. At least people will think you did.” I open my mouth to tell her I would trade my legacy, my power and my life for one more hour with her and my friend from school, but I decide not to. I simply smile and keep holding her hand.
Then I stare at her for a while. I can tell she’s in pain, closing hard her eyes trying to bear it. A few minutes later another episode starts. She’s in deep pain, but only for a short time. The nurses and doctors quickly say the words I had been fearing to hear for the last week she’s been in critical condition: “she’s gone.”