Archive for April, 2010
The brown envelope lay on the occasional table dripping amber fluid onto the living room carpet. Davinia looked at Eugene and for the first time in a number of months there was tenderness there.
“Aren’t you going to open it?” she asked tenderly.
“I would rather you did,” he replied; though he picked the letter up and tried to pry open the flap, without much success.
“Here, give it to me,” Davinia said in a gentle voice, as she took the envelope from Eugene and slid a long fingernail that sliced through the thin paper. She handed the decapitated envelope back to Eugene who handled it as if it was a venomous snake. He slowly withdrew the official letter from the envelope and carefully unfolded it and began reading. Davinia tried to decipher the meaning by looking at his moving lips and the expression on his face but Eugene was characteristically blank. She waited an excruciating few minutes then her impatience got the better of her.
“What does it say? Do they know anything? What’s going to happen?” she gushed in staccato fashion.
Eugene dropped the letter to his side and the expression on his face said it all. He was drained of any colour and Davinia saw that there was a faint tremble in his hand. He looked at Davinia.
“ They say that it’s an advanced carcinoma of the bowel and the test results indicate that it has secondaries in my liver and stomach. There are also indications that it has spread to my bones. They have scheduled me for chemotherapy next week and they want to admit me to hospital tomorrow for further tests.”
There was a stunned silence in the room as both of them struggled to assimilate this information.
“Well! That might mean good news. They are going to treat it so they must feel there is something in that.”
Eugene remained silent and looked at a spot on the wall above Davinia’s head. He had been expecting better news as he had felt his health was actually improving. This was a bitter blow to him.
“I don’t want to go through another six months like the last time. I don’t think I can stand it again.”
“ You must. The last treatment worked. Look love. I know that it was difficult for you but we went through this the last time. Just think…..” Davinia couldn’t finish the sentence. She had listened enough to the surgeon the last time this had happened and his dire predications resonated in her head.
“We can give him an extra few months but the cancer has spread to other parts of his body. I have to be honest with you Mrs, ahhhh Mrs Smart. Your husband doesn’t have much time left. I think it would be best if you both started to .”
Davinia had stopped listening at that stage and had tried to imagine what her life would be without Eugene.
She is like that fat cousin you once knew, who has now resurfaced and wants to sleep on the sofa. So much in debt, so much more unattractive than the last time. She smells of diesel/petrol/tobacco/fish. I am stopped on the pedestrian crossing and she asks me (out of the blue) “where can I buy cigars in this city?”. Me – in Denver.
Crazy Betty lives on the 3rd floor of Macy’s. When I say live she doesn’t actually technically have a postal code for that address but this is her life. The third floor is where all the misfit staff end up. Betty just refuses to go or “retire” as senior management cloyingly put it. By gosh her mama was still mopping floors and doing laundry at 90 years of age and Betty is going to be just like her mother. She can’t understand why people laugh at her. She keeps herself looking smart. Look at her today. Although slightly balding form the chemo a few years back, she wears her hair long and plaited. Her blouse has been with her for a good thirty years and the little kittens and puppies so lovingly embroided on it by Mama are a joy to all. The little children that venture to the 3rd floor, to ‘Travel Bags & Kitchen Utensils” just love her. She is much taken with the younger ones joy of color and has on a bright blue calf length dress with the four inch sparkly white belt that matches her hi-heel shoes and she wouldn’t be seen dead without white stockings. She just ignores that silly Jenseil in Cosmetics who is always giving advice about makeup. Plain red, lipstick and rouge always worked for Mama and Betty piles it on. But lately crazy Betty has been getting a few complaints. People keep bringing stuff back and saying they can get it $20 or even $50 less elsewhere. Well, she soon puts them right. After all, she is seventy two years old and she knows a lot more about the world than they do. Yes-siree – and these $20 or $50 “tips” paid for her overseas holidays last year and her outdoor treats.