Seven years ago when I was thinking about joining Pure Romance, I asked you what you thought. Without a hint of sarcasm, you replied, ‘I think it’s your destiny.’ Weirdest Destiny Ever, I joke as I relay this story to people.
I’ve been thinking about that moment a lot these uncertain days as I worry about you and realize that I can’t imagine any less than 40 more years of you in my life. When I hesitate, you are always there with the right words, the unrelenting positivity, the steady encouraging hand that says, ‘Jump. It’ll be okay. Even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll always be here.’ And you always have. On my good days, bad days, days of grief, days of joy. Always.
You’ve been there since we were too young and stupid to know how young and stupid we were. When adulthood was still a game we were practicing. When the future was full of possibility rather than uncertainty. (You are probably poo-pooing me now, saying the future is still full of possibility. Of course, it is. I believe it because you believe it. Your optimism is the thing that always sees me through – through my risks and my trials and now yours.)
There’s something bizarrely ironic about this disease. All those early years of friendship talking endlessly about boys and sex and blushing at the messiness of being women. Those middle years of learning, of starting marriages, of starting families. We grieved our youth and independence a bit, just as we grieved the miscarriages and infertility and then rejoiced at new life. Those years afterwards, when we became brash and full of feminist ire. I started selling sex toys and we were bawdy, careless, slightly annoyed to still be putting up with the inconveniences of periods after all this time. If only we could have guessed that the organ by which we measured the months of our life could so suddenly turn toxic and hostile.
Cancer came as a surprise. At thirty-nine, I still feel hardly older than we did when we met two decades ago. Cancer? Not us. Not now. Not with husbands and school aged kids and so much ahead of us. But, I guess cancer isn’t choosy. Or maybe it is and thought it would enjoy a challenge like you.
Tomorrow, you will go in for surgery and come out uterus and hopefully, cancer free. I will pray and hold my breath the whole while. And then I’ll grab your hand (or maybe you’ll grab mine) and we’ll both jump. Jump into the next phase of our lives, into a phase where we are more aware of our mortality, of a world less marked by the cycles of our bodies, of wisdom and aging and the beautiful uncertainty of it all.
It’ll be okay. Because it will be you and I together as always, facing our destiny.
All my love,