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.
I bolted out of the car and ran.