Saturday, 1 October 2011


By five p.m., Wendy was about to call out the search dogs. My appointment with the social worker was at one o’clock and by late afternoon, I still wasn’t answering my phone.

Truth was, it was a beautiful day – just warm enough, sunny, with a mild breeze.
A perfect day to stroll and, just for a few hours, stop thinking about cancer and pretend a return to normal life.

I window shopped in expensive stores admiring things I couldn’t afford – outrageous purple shoes with five inch heels, $600 boots, $300 lingerie.

I bought a hot dog with sauerkraut & Dijon mustard and sat on the stone wall by the library to eat it and share bits of bread with the pigeons and starlings. I love starlings…their flashes of green, their patterned feathers…and how they can swoop up to catch a tiny piece of bread in midair.

I browsed at the library and took out three books – The Staircase Letters: An Extraordinary Friendship at the End of Life, My Invented Country by Isabel Allende, Yeshua:The Gospel of St. Thomas, a novel about Jesus through the eyes of St. Thomas the Doubter.

I sauntered along Argyle street, one of the funkiest streets in town and people watched.  I visited my former coworkers. I bought a brownie with icing and a pair of jeans.

All that time, I was just part of the crowd…just one more ordinary person enjoying a beautiful fall day. And when I got home, I called Wendy so she’d know I was safe – but other than that, gave the phone the night off.

It’s been 17 days now. Seventeen days of all-cancer, all-the-time. Appointments, tests, research, paperwork, phone calls….  I’m tired of it, so tired of talking about it and it isn’t about to end anytime soon.

But I had this one afternoon. Me and the starlings sharing bread. Me and the breeze and blue sky – no past and no future. It was glorious.


Beki said...

I'm glad you took this time for yourself, Linda. A personal day of rest & mental healing can make all the difference in the world!

Howpublic said...

Me too, Beki! It was a splendid afternoon and I needed the exercise too. It is just so weird for your whole life to become about illness suddenly - and doing things like this is a much needed break from that.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Good. Do it again and again.