Adventures With Cancer, Part 2


I have cancer. I don’t think I’ll be coming back to the office today.

The receiver is heavy in my hand, lands with a dull thud in its metal cradle.

I consider staying in the phone booth. Consider opening the accordion door and sitting down on the hot sidewalk in front of Gray’s Papaya. Both seem viable choices to make at the moment. To just remain before.

Somehow I am in a car. My hand remembers the weight of the phone. I could still be in the muffled booth if I just close my eyes.

My not yet husband drives us uptown to an address that is embossed in black letters on a white business card balanced neatly on his knee.

We are making small talk. I speak in the voice of one who is carrying around a bomb protected by an eggshell.

The hallway is quiet, airless.

I am thinking about the group of people I saw the week before when I was running along Riverside Drive. How they were huddled together watching a man poised at the top of an apartment building’s ledge. The only sound was from one bird calling, calling. All those people dressed to go to work, in suits, pantyhose, heels. Just standing there, looking up, not saying anything.

With my index finger I draw and redraw the line on my palm that captures the meat of my thumb in a half-moon. My soon to be husband is speaking to a receptionist.

Soon I am sitting in a small white room, in a chair with a tiny table attached. It seems to be a school desk but has no place to store a pencil or small pink eraser.

What kind of cancer do I have?

The nurse has a thick rubber band around my arm.

Make a fist.

The jab of the needle is a relief.

I don’t know. The doctor isn’t here today.

She lines up vials of dark red blood each with a different colored stopper.

Come back on Monday. 

It is my soon to be husband’s birthday.

You can go.

It is six weeks before our wedding.

Read PART 3 here