Archive for February, 2016

NOTE: Someone suggested I try writing in present tense. I tried but just couldn’t do it. Sorry.

April 16

I met Allie for lunch today at a small Italian café halfway between her house and mine, which means about a block from her house and twenty miles from mine. She has a funny way of calculating halfway.

I was still debating about whether to tell her about my latest doctor’s visit. Only Allie was there with me when Mom had cancer. Making her relive that again seems unnecessary, especially since I haven’t even had a biopsy yet. There isn’t any point in worrying her if it turned out to be nothing, is there?


Allie was late again, as usual.

“Wait for me by the gate,” she had said.

It was part of our old childhood code.

When she finally arrived, she went on and on about being fat and ugly, as if we hadn’t had this conversation hundreds of times.

“You’re not fat,” I snorted.

I’d always been envious at how this awkward gangly kid had become a glamorous woman. She’d thrown on a black dress, flipped her auburn hair into a clip and added a pair of sunglasses. In fifteen minutes, she walked out of the house, looking like a companion fit for Jackie O.

“People are like shoes, you know. When I was in college; I was a strappy pair of heels. I was cute and sassy. Men were attracted to me. I could have had my pick.”

Leave it to Allie to boil her life down to shoes.

“After we had children, I became sensible, intelligent, hardworking – like nurse’s shoes. Like you,” she continued.

I on the other hand had brown hair that was never tamed by a clip or anything else. My clothes never quite fit right. The shoulders were too big or the sleeves too long. I wasn’t built for glamour, I was built for comfort.

Allie went on and on like that for half an hour and then I did the one thing I wasn’t going to do.

“Margo thinks I have cancer,” I blurted. “Not cancer really, a lymphoma. Not even lymphoma, a tumor. Just a tumor, not cancer.”

And that’s how I said it. No lead in, no softening the blow, I just blurted it out.

“What do you mean cancer?”

Allie’s fork stalled in midair.

“I don’t have anything really.”

I found myself back pedaling. I certainly didn’t mean to say it like that. I just needed to get it out.

“Mom’s cancer was cause by a virus. That’s not hereditary. No one in our family has ever had cancer, not genetically,” Allie reminded me.

“I haven’t even had a biopsy yet.”

“Gosh Jo, you scared me to death.”

“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said anything yet. I wasn’t going to worry you.”

“I’m sure it’s nothing. Besides, Margo will handle it. You’re so dramatic,” Allie continued, hardly pausing.

She was right. Cancer doesn’t run in our family. I felt foolish and relieved. What had I been so worried about?

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NOTE: I apologize. I don’t think I made this very clear. This is a work of fiction based very loosely on my experience that took place many years ago. I am not currently ill, but am using that as a bases to write this fictional story.

April 7

I was on a mission to get rid of the excess things in my life. Clean up, clear out, and get rid of my extra baggage. I was working on the bathroom. A cabinet full of products I hadn’t used in years – moisturizers, conditioners, makeup, lotions, and scented soaps, odds and ends of medicines, band aids, and gauze.

Leaning against the wall were the shell pictures Charlie had promised to hang. After all these years of being single, when did I become so dependent on a man?  Do I really need a man? Man, no. Hammer, yes.


I was wandering through the rows at the hardware store, looking for a hammer. I came upon a rack of seeds. Carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, and flower seeds. Racks and racks, rows and rows. Beautifully drawn pictures and amazing photographs of huge specimens. I felt a change of plans. I needed to reconnect with my Mother and Grandmother. I find myself missing them more and more lately. I remember those summer days, watching my Grandmother and later my Mother bent over a patch of vegetables, weeding, watering and harvesting. As a child, I wandered barefoot through the rows of lush green plants. I want to feel that carefree peacefulness again.

I loaded my cart with more than thirty packets of seeds; seven varieties of tomatoes, six types of lettuce, two kinds of cucumbers, squash – yellow and green, spinach, beans – string beans, green peas, and lima beans, potato starters, garlic and onion bulbs. My cart was overflowing with bags of soil, containers and gardening tools.

Not to forget the gardening gloves. Grandma always had pink flowers on her gloves. I searched through the racks. Solid colors mostly – green, pink, and yellow. A few lavender flowers in back. But I needed pink. Finally on the bottom of the rack behind a row of red rose print, I found the last pink floral gardening gloves. I added them to my now impossible to maneuver basket.

Once home, I started on my mission. I filled rows and rows of tiny containers with soil and seeds, misting each set as I went. I literally had hundreds of soil filled containers when I finished. Perhaps I had gone a little overboard. It doesn’t really matter. Now I can water and wait. Waiting is how I spend most of my time these days. But this is much better than waiting for test results.

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get balcony me too

I forgot to mention a door.

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