tales of a girl in the city

juin 18, 2006


Wisconsin still smells like cedar, even though my dad is sick.

Mom still drives home slow from the airport. She still wants to hear every story told from the beginning, and prompts me--like she always does--by saying, "So, you got up. You got on the plane...." But she also says new things, like, "We are not telling Grandma." We are not telling anyone, I find out, because the cancer is Dad's news to tell.

Dad is not home when I get there, so for a minute I don't know whether seeing him will be the same (like the drive) or different (like the new rules about telling). Then he arrives and I see it is both. He has written my boyfriend's name on his hand. He refers to it three times while introductions are being made, laughing loudest at his own joke. He breaks the ice by seeming well and vital. It is wonderful; I cry right away out of relief, out of the realization that I am lucky to have this moment. And this--this new sense of our time together--is the difference.

juin 01, 2006


"Well, your father and I just wanted you to know that we got the test results back, and it looks like cancer."

That was how my mother told me, barely 24 hours ago. Her tone wasn't grave--it was more "We've decided to go with blue in the bathroom instead of red" than I would've anticipated. But, who could blame her? She was in shock. I was in shock.

I am still in shock: My father is never sick. And now he has lung cancer.

We don't know anything yet, which is the worst stage. We're an information oriented family. On vacation, we are the palest four people on board, slathered in suntan lotion, reading non-fiction and stopping the captain to ask about the navigational systems. In the midst of the "Which way to Senor Frog?" questions, we are the ones asking, "Excuse me? Is that plant an epiphyte?." We talk longitudes and latitudes and etymology and geology and we love to watch the Weather Channel. So, when you are a doctor, and you tell us "We don't know anything yet," we will--all four of us--just blink at you for long moments, trying to understand how that is possible.