This cough is going to take the life of me I think to myself. The auto buzzes along nonchalantly up the road to drop me of at the emergency entrance. After the usual probing by the doctors at the causality, I usher myself to radiology to get an X-ray done. I approach the counter, but the receptionist is busy managing calls and pointing the attendants to various ward transfers which need to be done. I cough. A tiny speck of blood lands on the counter. I apologise immediately, all the while searching my pockets for the handkerchief I had hurriedly stuffed in when I was sitting in the auto. She looks at me in utter disgust, I apologise again and inform her I've come for an X-ray. She signals to the radiographer to take me into the X-ray room. My shirt comes off, my hands folded in a cold embrace with the stand and like a priest at a matrimonial I'm asked to take a deep breath and hold it in. I'll try I say to the man, but he retires behind a shield and leaves me to follow the instruction should I wish to. I inhale. My lungs haven't been very faithful, but then again neither have I. I still remember the first cigarette offered to me in high school. The complicated procedure to do it like the Marlboro man. Another cough comes, the former speck has now become a splat. I should be worried, but the radiographer screams at me to hold it in. I'm zapped by the beam, and I return to the doctor. It's grim I'm afraid the news I'm about to receive. He looks confused as to what needs to be said to me. Why don't you get a CT done? I utter something about not having the money and I return home, all the while looking at the X-ray. A black and white portrait of me, as I really am. And with me, is a parasite feeding of me. A big white circle of death. This cough is going to get the best of me.