The Weariness of Cancer

October 6, 2004

Hi, Kat:

You must still have been in your “stampede mode” when you wrote me this morning. Hence the “howdy” salutation!

Let me begin by saying that I am having a bad day…emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I am grateful I am able to tell you so freely. Thank you for that, but take that into consideration when you read the rest of my e-mail.

Wow, you really can get through a book quickly! “Lovely Bones” was a difficult read, but I found it interesting with the author’s perspective of death, living, the beyond, and those left behind. I have a different book for you when you return – “The Red Tent.” I think I told you about that one as well. It is totally different then the two you have recently read.

I don’t want you to feel pressured to tell me anything about the sexual incident, but I felt you opened the door by asking me to define the difference between harassment and molestation. I know you don’t ask any question for no reason. I knew there was something behind it, but I respect your comfortableness in sharing and will wait for you take the next step. But, don’t be surprised if I ask if you are ready because I know sometimes you need some “nudging.” ha ha.

As far as the weekend goes, you only need to bring yourself, a change of clothes, and an open mind. Boy, I bet I got you wondering even more now! Good…sometimes I like to leave you guessing.

I know that you wish I wouldn’t have seen the list, but I also feel so honored and privileged that you chose me to share it with. It helps me understand you a little more and it shows me why God brought us together. I will leave it up to you on what you want to do with the list from this point on. Just don’t lose faith in the process of healing that you are going through. Trust in God and our friendship. Those three things are strengths you can use as you move forward in your journey of healing.

I wish I could help you “unload” every night from stuff hat happens and you can start the next day fresh and new. I would like to do that with you when you get back from vacation, but again I leave it up to you. I do think that a lot of your current reactions to your parents and Alex is based not only on the current encounters, but a lot of stuff you have carried for a long time. That is why I think it is important for you to talk about it and process it. See the whole picture and not just the dark, ugly, bad part of it. If I can do that for you, great. I know how helpful it was for me to do that for myself.

You know me…I’m not always serious although this past week may not seem that way. Part of it, I believe, is my medication and the other part is just trying to get through the day. No, it wouldn’t be interesting to watch me get emotional. I usually do that in the privacy of my home, but it is getting harder to keep it in until I get home. The reason I tell you all this is because you interact with me so much on many levels that I felt you needed to know what may happen. You didn’t have the opportunity two years ago when I went through cancer (be grateful), but you will see me now.

Sometimes, it’s not a pretty sight and I try hard to protect you from that, but I also know I can’t. I don’t want you to get hurt because of some random comment or behavior I make. So promise me that if you see something out of character for me, call me on it. I care about you too much to not want to know if I have done something wrong or to hurt you. Please promise me that.

Well, enough of all that. So until I talk to you again via e-mail, IM, or the phone…have a good night or day (depending on when you read this). Know these things: God loves you, you are in my thoughts and prayers daily, and you matter.

Until later,

Greta


Serious, Funny, Either Way I’m Good.

October 6, 2004

Howdy, Greta!

First, don’t ever think you have to hide things from me. Just so you know, I can usually see it anyways. I just don’t say anything. I like to check every now and then that you’re okay. I know you’re a “big girl” and can handle it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t worry about you to some degree. I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t! So stop being stubborn. That’s my job.

I’m towards the end of “Lovely Bones.” Haven’t finished it yet. It’s very different. It’s difficult to read because of the harshness of what happened. But don’t worry about the book having a bad effect on me. It hasn’t.

I know that severe sexual harassment doesn’t quite categorize what happened to me and it doesn’t matter necessarily, but I didn’t and don’t know what else to call it. Not a big deal. At some point I’ll share my whole story with you. But it’s going to take a lot of strength on my part. I’ve never talked about it before. Alex knows some very basic things, but not everything. Just enough to get me by without having to answer questions or explain things. Some of it, I’ve never told him. I’ll do my best with you.

As far as getting away for a weekend, I don’t think Alex would mind at all, as long as it doesn’t cost much. He’s pretty good about stuff like that (I think). He’s fine with it as long as he knows what I’m doing and who I’m with and that I’m not getting drunk somewhere. Now you’ve got me curious.

Part of me wishes I could take that list back that I sent you. I feel immensely vulnerable and very exposed. It was hard to write it, yet it helped calm me down a bit because I got it on paper and out of my head. Writing things down helps me to let go…to let my mind stop thinking about it because I’ve recorded it and can go back to it anytime. Does that make sense? I do that with everything, good or bad. You should see how many journals I have written in, plus lists I’ve made before bed and so on.

Which brings me to your second e-mail about being serious. I know that’s not your intentions. I’m always thinking so that’s not an issue. Writing you e-mails helps me get it out since I can’t see you and talk to you. Don’t worry, you’re not causing me emotional upheavals while I’m here in Myrtle Beach. I’m actually relaxed, though distracted. I noticed it today. My mind isn’t always here and focused on what’s going on. I felt bad about it today. Of course, I’m usually a bit spacey. But I thought a lot tonight and realized that I need to pay more attention to my parents. I think they were feeling neglected and pouting tonight. Not because of you or anything to with any of this. It’s that Alex and I chose not to hang out with them for a while and instead be by ourselves.

I’m fine with talking about serious things through e-mail. It lets me get them out. But it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. I usually am worried because I’m always writing you novels about what I’m feeling and thinking. Sometimes I think it’s too depressing and morose to talk about, but I’m fine if you’re fine!

It should be interesting to watch you get emotional, especially since that’s not your common nature! Although, sometimes I’ll take the cranky over that since I don’t like getting emotional much. Don’t worry about how you’re acting at all. The e-mails that you send me actually make me feel that you care.

Well, I”ll stop babbling since it’s 1am and I need to get to bed. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Have a good night/day. Sleep well and I’m always praying for you.

Nightie-night.

Kat


I Only Want What’s Best For You

 

 

October 5, 2004

Hi MB,

Let me answer some of your questions from your morning e-mail.

I didn’t like the ending of “Good in Bed” because it ended so quickly. I guess I wanted more for her than how it ended.

“Lovely Bones” was hard for me because it dealt with rape and a child was murdered. I am a big advocate for protecting children. I did like the dialogue of how she saw her family and how she wanted to help them heal from her death.

Based on what you shared in your e-mail, I’m not sure severe sexual harassment is the correct term. Either way it doesn’t matter because it was still a horrible experience. I would like to have you tell me the whole story if you can. I would feel privileged to have you share it with me.

I hope that our friendship can help you see what it is God sees in you. I hope I can be used by God to help heal some of your pain. I want you to experience the joy and love that God has to offer and no the dark and depressed stuff the world has given you.

Don’t worry about me. I’m a big girl. I just have bad days now and then and sometimes I can’t hide them from you.

Do you think Alex might let you get away for a weekend? I have though about something for the two of us. I think it would be good for both of us. I’ll tell you more when you get back to Pennsylvania.

Before I go, I just read and printed your list. It brought tears to my eyes. It also reminded me of some of the things I told myself, so let’s talk more about it. My feelings and thoughts for you haven’t changed because of the list. If anything they have gotten deeper.

Greta

*****************

Later that same day

Hi,

I just realized that I may have been a little more serious in my last e-mail. My intentions are not to get you to do all this thinking while you are away. I also know it isn’t easy when you can’t talk through some of the things you might be thinking about.

So if you want to go to lighter subjects until you get home, that is fine with me. But I know how much you like to write how you are feeling and thinking. If you want to e-mail me your thoughts and feelings and not have me reply, then just let me know. I hope this is making sense. If not, I am sorry. I don’t want to cause any more emotional upheaval, especially when we can’t through it because you are not here.

Kat, I only want what is best for you. Can you tell the hormones from the cancer treatment have kicked in big time? I get very emotional when that happens, so please bear with me. At least it is better than me getting cranky.

Well, I better wrap things up and get home to dig up my garden. We are expecting frost tonight and my tomatoes are rotting on the vines because of all the rain.

Until I hear from you…good night, Moonbeam.

Greta

 

 


One Day I’ll Be Free

October 5, 2004

Good morning Sunny!

Moonbeam is different, but I like it. So are you saying that I am the opposite of sunshine? (just kidding) My favorite song from Jeremy Camp just played on the radio. “I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see….”

You got serious on me this morning in your e-mail! You must be in a thoughtful, contemplative mood today. Of course, I’m usually silly when I should be serious. A way of distraction, I suppose.

Why didn’t you like the ending of “Good in Bed?” What bothered you about it? I think the ending was anticlimactic. I was bothered by her blaming and pushing aside God at the end. She took matters into her own hands. I started reading “Lovely Bones” last night. Interesting way that it is written. Takes a little getting used to. Well, I can tell you this much, that I was never raped. I’m sure I could have been with some of the stupid situations I’ve put myself in before, but I was never raped, if that’s what you’re thinking. Things were done to me sexually and I was forced to do sexual things to others, but it was never that severe. Just enough to make me feel ashamed and embarrassed. Maybe call it severe sexual harassment. That’s why I asked you that question the other day. I was trying to clarify some things in my head and I’m still not totally clear, but it’s irrelevant. Anyways, I don’t like talking about this. I’ve never talked about it before to anyone and I don’t know that I want to start.

So, moving on…It’s great when I have moments to myself while I’m here at Myrtle Beach. Right now, I’m by myself in the condo living room writing this e-mail and listening to Christian radio. Alex is on the balcony talking to his parents on the phone. My parents are at the pool and hot tub. Gives me time to just think and relax. I wish we were closer to the ocean, though. Last year, when Alex and I were here with his parents, our condo was right on the beach. You could sit on our balcony and overlook the ocean. It was wonderful! I love the ocean, too, but I hate swimming in it. I’d rather just be near it to hear and see it. We might go down to the beach today. They talked about it. We’ll see. I’ll make sure to take some pictures for you. I have some from last year that came out really beautiful with the sun glinting off the gentle waves. I’ll have to bring them to work so you can see them. One of my goals this week was to sit and absorb, to just “be” in the presence of God and allow Him to speak to me, to try and hear things He’s telling me. But I have to balance that with spending time with Alex and the family. They get weird if I spend too much time on my own if I get too quiet.

I’m trying my hardest to see what you, God, and Alex see in me. I really am. But sometimes, okay, a lot of times, it gets very clouded by the anger and pain. I do believe (or at least I’m trying to) that God is going to free me and one day I’ll see myself in different eyes. That is my hope and prayer. I have a self-defeatist attitude sometimes where I feel that I’ve been like this for too long, that I’m not ever going to change so why bother trying, but I’m trying to fight that belief. I know that’s not what God wants for me. I want to experience the things in life that God has for me. I’m tired of always looking through a glass wall and can’t seem to feel the joy and love He has for me.

I hope you got to sleep last night. I was really worried about you when I got off the phone with you. I meant what I said…I don’t take vacations from my friends. Not to get all mushy or anything, but I thank God every day that He brought us together. I’ve prayed many long times for a friend like you. It was funny. I was looking through some old journals of mine and came across a list that I made of things that I was looking for in a friend that God needed to bring to me. It made me smile and think of you.

Well, I need to get going. Everyone’s back and getting itchy to do something. I have no idea what, but we’ll see! Tonight we go to the Dixie Stampede. I’ll let you know what it’s like. Talk to you later and take care of yourself, sunshine.

Kat

 


Do You See What I See?

 

 

October 5, 2004

Good morning MB:

I picked Moonbeam because it was the opposite of Sunshine (which you called me). I just abbreviated today. I’m still trying to see if it fits you or not. I’ll try and answer some of your questions from your e-mail.

It has been at least six months since I read “Good in Bed.” I enjoyed it although I can’t say I liked the ending. I could relate to Cannie quite a bit. I thought it was interesting on how she decided to take things into her own hands and not let everyone “dictate” her life. I agree about how society looks at larger women and how they are treated. Remind me to tell you a story of an incident in Giant (grocery store) one day a few years ago. It left a bad taste in my mouth, but it also got me thinking about a lot of things.

I think the week away may be good for you to work through your thoughts and feelings and come back to Pennsylvania ready to work through more of your past and pain. I know it isn’t easy, but you are not alone and I know it can free you from so much.

I never took it personally what you said about not wanting to talk to me sometimes. I know that my friendship can challenge you to talk and feel things you might not like, but I also know that God allowed our lives to cross for a reason. So don’t worry about me taking that personally. I didn’t.

Guess what? I read “The Search for Significance” many years ago. I can’t say I remember everything, but I can recall some of the things in the book. I probably need to go back and look at it again to trigger my thoughts on it. I hope it can be helpful for you. Maybe we can talk about how it affected you when you get back.

I’m glad you are able to enjoy some of your time with Alex and your parents. I know that it can be difficult for you, but just let things roll off your back and try and enjoy the scenery and God’s incredible gift of nature. As for the swimming, I know why you didn’t go, but you know it’s one of the best exercises you can do for yourself. So don’t let your image of yourself keep you from doing something you love.

You look in a mirror and see something you don’t like. I look in a mirror and see beyond your physical appearance and see your heart. God gave me that gift. I hope that one day you can see beyond the physical and see what God and I see. You are an incredibly gifted woman that has a lot of pain and anger in her heart, but I also know that you have love and joy as well. It just gets covered up sometimes. Don’t let love get lost in there. It can be a lonely place without love. Love from others, love from God, and love from yourself.

Well, I’m sure this letter is getting long now. Enjoy the beach. I’m jealous! It’s my favorite place to be, but not during the summer, more fall and winter. Take time to stop and hear what God is trying to show you and tell you this week. You don’t have the distractions of everyday.

Take care of yourself, my friend.

Greta

 


Good in Bed

October 4, 2004

Greta,

Moonbeam? That’s an interesting nickname. What made you choose that? Never been called that before.

I got your voicemail. Sorry I missed your call. I was writing you an e-mail and my phone was in the other room. Plus, reception in the condo isn’t always the greatest depending on what room I’m in. You miss me? I’m touched. Believe it or not, I miss you, too (if you haven’t gathered by the lengthy and numerous e-mails and text messages).

I’m happy you had a good weekend with your mom. Don’t put off telling her about your cancer too long, Greta. Sometimes that causes more harm than good. Glad you could celebrate her birthday with her. I’m sure that made her day. Did you bake No-Bake’s? If so, eat one for me. Although, I’ve gotten pumpkin pie while I’ve been here. I convinced my mom to buy one to have at the condo since they harassed me about getting a slice for breakfast on Saturday morning. I was craving pumpkin pie…one of my favorites!

I didn’t get too many comments about the book, “Good In Bed,” from the peanut gallery, just Alex being his usual silly self. My mom did ask what it was about so I gave her a brief rundown based on what I read off the back of the book. My thoughts on the book…it was like looking into a window into myself. Not all of it, but the way that Cannie feels about herself. I could definitely relate. The whole “larger woman” thing is something that rankles me. I think it speaks to the pain and aloneness of not fitting in that a lot of larger woman can feel. I know some that have incredible confidence and amazing positive attitudes. I admire that. I admired it in Cannie, her strength, independence, and willingness to speak out for herself and others despite how she felt sometimes. Her humor had me in stitches! I love sarcastic humor. What were your thoughts about the book?

My e-mails this week will probably be long since I don’t see you in person to chat and there isn’t anyone here I can talk with the way I talk with you. I can with Alex, but only so much. There are some topics where his eyes glaze over and I can tell he’s not interested…guys, ha.

Sounds like you’ll have a pretty quiet week. I won’t be there to bug you. That reminds me, the comment that I made on the phone the one night about not wanting to talk to you sometimes, I hope you didn’t take that seriously. I don’t feel that way ever. Do I wish sometimes that I could bury my head in the sand instead of facing questions you ask? Of course, but it’s never that I don’t want to be with you or talk with you. I wanted to make that clear. I was worried about that since that conversation.

I’m reading another book as a devotional. I’m trying to do devotions every day. I don’t always make it, but I’m trying. I need to hear God’s voice and see what He has for me in this life and I know I can’t do that without spending time with Him. The book I’m reading is called “Search for Significance” by Robert McGee. Very difficult to read, not because of the reading level, but because of the subject matter.

So why was I on your mind a lot yesterday at church? Anything cause it? Thanks for praying for me. I’m sure it did help since I remained civilized all day (despite some snippiness) and had to let certain things just roll of my back. I’m discovering more and more that’s getting harder to do. Interesting that you were praying for me as I was praying for you!

You should have seen Alex and I last night. We were both loopy. I was so tired that I was giggly and babbling stupidly. He was just being goofy. I get like that when I’m tired.

Anyways, I’ll talk to you later. Have a super duper night.

Love,

Kat

 


I Didn’t Tell Mom, But I’m Praying For You

 

 

October 4, 2004

Well, hello Moonbeam [Kat]!

Thought I would try a nickname for you. Not sure I am going to stick with it. I am hoping by the time you read this  you will have gotten my voice mail message on your cell phone and we have talked a bit.

I had a good time with my Mom, but I didn’t tell her. She was just so happy to see me and spend time with me that I decided to wait until the first month of treatments are over. She really didn’t have a lot for me to do. Of course, it rained all day Saturday, but I did get to take her out for dinner for her birthday.

I am here all alone. It is very quiet without the three of you at work. I am getting some things done today, but it seems everyone is looking for Al today! Of course it works out that way.

Nothing planned for this week. I have homework to work on tonight and tomorrow and then dinner with a friend on Wednesday. I have class on Thursday and Friday then I will be getting ready to go to New Jersey for the weekend. Everyone is supposed to be getting together for my sister’s and mother’s birthdays.

You were on my mind a lot yesterday, even during church. Never really did hear the sermon, but prayed for you. I hope it helped.

Believe it or not, I actually miss you. Okay, don’t get teary-eyed on me…ha ha.

Hey, I just got done talking to you on the phone. It was good to hear your voice. I would like to talk more about the eating issue and your Mom, if you are up to it when you get back. Maybe we can sort through it and get past it. I actually have eaten better and plan on walking at lunch and tonight. So that should keep me out of trouble…or not.

Have a great week away and don’t let anything get you down.

Tell Alex I’m jealous of your location!

Love,

Greta

 


Vacation at Myrtle Beach

October 4, 2004

Good morning, Sunshine [Greta]!

Well, we’re here in Myrtle Beach! It was a long trip. I hate riding in the car for 13 hours. My parents, Alex, and I visited our friends Steph and Pat in Winnsboro yesterday. According to people from their church, they thought it would take approximately two hours. Not exactly. Try three and a half!

Driving the back hills of South Carolina was beautiful. It was nothing but farmland and stately plantation homes. Exactly what you would picture the south to look like with its palm trees and cherry tree-lined driveways leading to the sprawling houses with their wraparound porches. Each porch was full of rocking chairs of all kinds. Wicker, white, wood, plastic. You could just imagine sitting there, rocking slowly while feeling the warm breeze on your neck, a dripping glass of southern sweet tea in your hand. We finally made it and had a pleasant time visiting them.

It poured all day yesterday, but it’s supposed to be sunny the rest of the week. Our condo sits on a golf course and our second floor balcony overlooks a green. Alex is in heaven! Although he didn’t bring his clubs, but they wouldn’t fit in the car with all our stuff. We don’t have a lot planned for the week. The only thing we’re definitely going to is the Dixie Stampede one night. Otherwise, it’s whatever we feel like doing! Which can get interesting with a family of indecisive people. You only get to experience it when I’m like that. Try all four of us! We all have our own opinion, but we don’t share it. Imagine that.

So how was your weekend at your mom’s house? Did you have a good time? Did she have a list of things for you to do? Did you tell her about your cancer?

Got anything exciting planned this week? How are you feeling? Are you getting any more sleep? I hope so. I worry about you, ya know.

Pray for me this week of vacation and that I hold my tongue and my temper. I’ve already struggled with it with my parents. Part of it was just being in the car too long. Everyone was a little snippy. But I’ve discovered why I sometimes eat the way I do…enter mom! She got on my case yesterday because I wasn’t eating everything on my plate. She always comments on whether I’m snacking (“You’ll ruin your dinner”) or if I don’t eat a lot at dinner (I never do). I’m not a big eater. I eat small portions, but I don’t eat everything on my plate, then something’s wrong and I’m not eating enough. Yet, I get comments because of my weight and eating too much! Anyways, I won’t go into all of this tonight.

Have a good day and don’t get into too much trouble. Ha ha.

Love,

Kat


Can We Talk at Lunch?

I heard what I didn’t want to hear. Greta had cancer. Again. I didn’t know her through her first bout with uterine cancer, but I had heard the stories. I knew it was going to be difficult. It was the last thing I wanted to hear that day. When she answered me, I panicked and ran, afraid to hear any more. My instinct was to pull back from our budding friendship to protect myself. I couldn’t go through that kind of heartache and lose a friend I had just found. It was better to cut myself off now before things went any further.

For a few days, I ignored Greta. Didn’t call her, didn’t e-mail her, and only uttered the barest of words needed to communicate at work. I confided in Alex about Greta’s cancer. I was afraid of losing her. Alex didn’t seem to concerned about it. He told me that everything would be okay. But I wasn’t so sure about that. I thought why get involved with someone if they’re only going to leave me?

Ding-dong! My e-mail blinked in front of me at my work desk. Sighing, I saw that it was from Greta.  Can we talk at lunch? Minutes passed by as I gazed at her question. It’s not that I didn’t want to be friends with her. I did. She was funny, sarcastic, loving, tender, gentle, but headstrong, determined, and opinionated. I had never met anyone quite like her. The problem was I didn’t want to go through the pain of losing her. My fear was that she was going to die from the cancer. I had no idea how bad it was or wasn’t, what the treatment was, and so forth. All I had was my late night Web MD searches on the Internet. By the way, not a good thing to do when you’re already paranoid and upset about a diagnosis. It gives you the bleakest picture possible. With trepidation, I hit the Enter button on the keyboard. OK.

Now what do I do? I had agreed to meet her for lunch, but my stomach was in knots. Again, I wanted to stick my head in the sand, and refuse to hear or see reality. Around noon, I wandered downstairs to her office, trudging along as though I were headed to my execution. Melodramatic? Probably. But you have someone you cared about and prayed for to come into your life and then be told they have cancer. All you hear are the bells tolling doom.

I sat at the little white wooden table in her office, our lunches heating up in the microwave. The air was redolent of spicy tomato sauce and melting cheese. Spaghetti leftovers. I stared at the floor, avoiding eye contact. She heaved a sigh and sat down heavily beside me.

“Kat…I know you’re upset. Talk to me. Let’s work it out together. What’s going on with you? Please talk to me. I know you’ve been avoiding me.” Greta gently touched my shoulder. I wondered if she could feel my trembles as I tried not to cry.

In a subdued, small voice, I replied, “I’m afraid of losing you. I’m afraid that you’re going to die. We just became friends and I don’t want to lose you!” A single tear slipped down my cheek. I was embarrassed by my lack of control of my emotions. I hastily swiped the tear away.

“Kat, can you look at me please?” I lifted my aqua eyes to meet her baby blue ones. Her hand was heavy on my shoulder, gently caressing, “I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I’m here with you forever. My cancer isn’t that bad. Yes, it’s cancer, but it’s minimal and easily treated. You don’t need to worry.”

“Are you sure, Greta?”

“Yes, I’m sure. The doctor is calling Stage 1 uterine cancer, but she said it’s more like a half stage. It’s not even a full stage one. We caught it very early.”
She brushed another tear away from my cheek.

“What do they do for treatment? Do you have to have chemotherapy?” I asked, feeling steadier by the moment with her answers. I snuffled and snorted into a tissue.

“No. The treatment is hormone therapy. All I have to do is take some pills every day.” Greta smiled and stood up to get our lukewarm lunches from the microwave.

“Does it hurt? What’s the cancer like? Will the treatment make you sick?” The better I felt, the more curious I became. My mother called me the “why” baby when I was little because I asked so many questions. It hadn’t changed much as an adult.

“Yes, it hurts. I get really bad cramps and back pain. I also bleed a lot and it’s very heavy. The hormones do have side effects, but not like chemo. It’ll make me really tired and have less energy, possibly cause hot flashes and headaches. I’ve been through this before. It’ll be okay, I promise.” Greta set the plates down on the table. She grinned, took hold of my hand, and squeezed reassuringly. “Don’t worry, Kat. I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me now.”


I Can’t Hear You! Na, Na, Na, Na, Na!

There are moments in life when you don’t want to hear what’s being said. You want to put your hands over your ears, close your eyes, and sing loudly to drown out the words. Greta had acted strangely for the last few days. She was cranky, out-of-sorts, snappish. A ticklish dread formed in the back of my mind, but I refused to pay it any mind. If I ignored it, it wasn’t true. It’s like a child who closes their eyes and think that you can’t see them. I was the child closing my eyes.

I had only known Greta for three months by now, but it had been an intense three months. We e-mailed back and forth every day, multiple times a day. We talked every night on the phone. We started sharing our darkest secrets and our deepest thoughts. But I was skeptical of the friendship. I wondered if she would stick around for the long haul. Or was I a passing whim that would be dumped when things got too difficult or messy? It happened before and I expected it to happen again. Friends weren’t my specialty. Especially since Alex limited them once we were married. I never thought someone would want to be friends with me once they knew the “real me.” With Greta, there was an emotional draw, a bond that felt deeper than some friendships I had for years. It’s like we were making up for lost time. I panicked that I was going to lose Greta.

My car was in the shop getting new tires and an oil change. My husband, Alex, didn’t have the time to pick it up, so it was left up to me. Greta offered to give me a ride. We took a break from work in the afternoon and headed off to the car dealer.

“You’re awfully quiet, Kat. What’s on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?” Greta asked.

“Nah, I’m good. Just thinking.” My stomach clenched, full of wiggly worms boring nervous holes into it. I had a question to ask, but I didn’t want to hear the answer. I suspected what it would be and dreaded knowing the truth. I tried to convince myself that I was better off not knowing. I white-knuckled my purse straps as it sat on my lap.

We rode in silence most of the way. As the dealer was in sight, I told Greta that I had a question to ask her.

“Okay. What’s the question? It must be important if you’ve thought this hard about it!” She laughed lightly, chiding me for my silence on the car drive. She pulled into the parking lot and parked the car. I looked at her for a moment, worry pinching my brow.

I took a deep breath and blurted,”Do you have cancer again?” She started, surprised the sudden question.

“Yes, I do. I was waiting for the right time to tell you,” Greta replied quietly.

“Okay.”

I bolted out of the car and ran.


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