It starts like any other day. The warm shower, hot tea, clothes ironed. Keys, purse, car rolling. Normal. Then the best friend calls.
Cancer. Serious. Surgery in two weeks.
What you are hearing is not what you are feeling. You are still tingling from the trip to Jamaica where you and her and y’alls get fresh crew leaned back and limboed. You’re still toasting to new loves, exes shown the door, kids graduating college, hitting 50 but girrrl, you still look good.
You are hearing the trip before that, when the stretch limo cruised through South Beach and you all kicked those four inch heels off to dance on soft leather seats. You are hearing shouts of “Surprise!” at birthday parties, and cards slapped on tables during games of spades. Thirty years is an orchestra in your mind. Everyone has been busy living, striving to get from here to there, finding joy in the mix.
Cancer? If feels stupid to repeat what was clear, but that’s what we do when what we hear and what we are told don’t add up.
And so now the real work begins. This means elbow grease, bended knees, midnight hour speaking in tongues or whatever gets the job done type of work. Work that makes you dig deep, beyond the memories and laughter, beyond the fabric of your bonds and into the coarse reality of hope against fear. Everything you ever thought you knew about your friend, about yourself in relationship to your friend gets benched. There are new balls in play and you must hear them bounce, you must make them swish and beat the buzzer. You must be totally, triumphantly athletic in your faith, your actions, your desire to see her recover.
This is the Spiritual Life on blast. You hear engines in surgeon’s hands, and cries of joy in the coming months. Family and friends taking shifts. Whatever she needs, done. The whirl of healing energy whooshes so loud she can feel it.
I feel like I’m gonna be okay, she says.
Damn right, you say. This is as good as got.