Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Moment Before

We were swapping war stories.

A room full of people who had a parent die early, or become really sick.  We talked about the moment.

"I was in college", he said.  "I was working in a warehouse.  I got the phone call that my dad had died, and then I had a shift, and I thought, 'I better go to work'.  So I went to work.  Then I told the guys and they said, 'Go home, man'.  So I did."

She had made a comment trivializing the very disease he had been diagnosed with at the dinner table.  He came to her room after the meal to break the news.  "I felt like the world's biggest jerk", she said.  

"It's weird now, I always feel sad.  It used to be that my default was happy.  But now, when I'm not thinking about anything, it's just sad", he said.
"Yup, that's pretty much how it goes", I said.

I was out for a run when I got the call.  I was really pleased with myself that she called while I had been out running, I knew she would be happy I was exercising.  And she was.  I had just finished and I was walking around the track, panting, all flushed and proud.  I remember the part of the track I was at when I answered the phone.  I remember what the stadium lights looked like and what the weather was.  I can see myself walking around the track with Steven, smiling on the phone and telling her where we were.  "That's great, Shantini, way to go", she said.  "I'll call you when I get home", I said.

The real phone call was half an hour later, as I sat on the couch with Steven across from me, expecting chats about a vacation or progress with a foster child or plans for Easter. That's fuzzy, except for the darkness and the sinking pit in my stomach and Steven listening very, very quietly.

How quick can I find a prognosis on Wikipedia?

But what I really remember was the moment before.  The moment before everything changed and everything was scary and nothing was ever the same, just the blissful ignorance of listening to her voice as I walked around the track.

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