The Shadow Box
from the play by Michael Cristofer
(Mark's lover is dying of cancer, but Brian's ex-wife doesn't seem to care or even acknowledge it.)
Mark: We are dying here, lady. That's what it's about. Brian looks at me and I can see it in his eyes. One stone slab smack in the face, the rug is coming out from under, the light is going out. You can do the pills and the syringes and the "let's play games" with the cotton swabs and x-rays, but it's not going to change it. You can wipe up the mucous and the blood and the piss and the excrement, you can burn the sheets and boil his clothes, but it's still there. You can smell it on him. It soaks into your hands when you touch him. It gets into your blood. It's stuck inside him, filling up inside his head, inside his skin, inside his mouth. You can taste it on him, you can swallow it and feel it inside your belly like a sewer. You wake up at night and you shake and you spit. You try to vomit it out of you. But you can't. It doesn't go away. It stays inside you. Inside every words, every touch, every move, every day, every night, it lies down with you and get in between you. It's sick and putrid and soft and rotten and it is killing me.
And some of us have to watch it. Some of us have to live with it and clean up after it. I mean, you can waltz in and out of here like a fucking Christmas tree if you want, but some of us are staying. Some of us are here for the duration. And it is not easy.