I was just getting in the door as the phone rang.
Coming—keep your pants on!
“Hello?” I gasped into the phone.
The voice on the other end was nasally and rasping. Dr. Shortland needs to see you Ms. Caffrey.”
“What about?” the word need ramped up my anxiety level big time.
“Your mammogram Ma’am.”
Shit! This is bad I just know it is.
“Is nine am tomorrow ok?”
Nine am was perfect as I could get out of the heinous production meeting at the station. I could claim it was a command meeting and if I didn’t show a SWAT team was going to storm in and haul me off…well whatever I would think of something.
“Yes that’s fine.”
I clicked off but then it hit me. I may be dying! The reality of it all hit me like a frying pan in the face. Okay I was thinking in the extreme but this is what I do. I sat down hard on the couch for a good sulk and took inventory of what could be done to get me through the night. A mental checklist included wine, ice cream, call Larry, call Leslie. Yep these will save what’s turned into a totally putrid day.
I checked my fridge for wine, yes I still had some Chardonay left from my pampered chef party. Ice cream turned out to be a full tub of sex in a tub (what you get when you mix sex in a pan with death by chocolate). Sometimes it is better than the real thing. Note I did say sometimes.
Leslie is my very best friend from our college days some twenty years ago. We have been several of her break ups and my marriage to and divorce from Paul the pathetic and her marriage to Dave, and subsequent off-spring. Thankfully, she stopped at four or I was having her committed. She went one better and sent Dave to get fixed.
Larry is my long standing buddy from grade school. He is a card carrying gay man who plays football for fun and games. He is not the least bit effeminate and really ripped for a forty seven year old man. My friends want a fix up and I just laugh and they cry in their wine when I tell them he is pitching for the other team. Larry is a day trader and does quite well. He dated various guys and nearly got married to Fritz until he found Fritz in the shower at the club with the tight end of his team. Both men were sporting black eyes and broken noses. Added to the injuries, Larry told management said they were trying a new position of the Kama sutra when the accident occurred. Both men were too embarrassed to deny the allegations. Did I mention Larry has an attitude? I have other friends that could get me through this ordeal but none as well as Larry and Leslie. Calls were made and they both showed up with an overnight bag and extra wine(now that is a friend indeed!)
“Atana, oh my God I can’t imagine being in your shoes right now and nor do I want to but I’m here for ya babe!” Leslie hugged me with the fervor of a mama grizzly bear.
Larry was next with a less crushing hug, stroked my back and kissed my forehead. “You okay, honey?”
“No but it is nothing you guys can’t help along with wine, ice cream and good Chinese take out.”
“Then that’s what we shall have my lady, along with a kick ass action film. I decree nothing that will evoke tears.”
I nodded while Larry uncorked the wine, and Leslie called Wongs Szechuan.
I explained that it was just results of the mammogram I had two weeks ago.
“They didn’t call right away so I assumed I had dodged the bullet. My bad I guess.”
We were sitting on the couch and I was flanked by my friends. Leslie was stroking my back and Larry held my hand.
“Well,” said Leslie. “I am going with you in a tone that simply brooked no argument.”
“Thanks sweetie, I was going to ask if you could anyway.”
This was the first major crisis since the divorce itself and I was grateful for the support. Paul wouldn’t have been there anyway as there were deals to be made and other women to be laid, the ass!
To give you an idea of what kind of husband the little shit wasn’t, when I got my appendix yanked he was on a business trip that would be the pinnacle of his fortune 500 career; he refused to get on a plane and fly home for me. The conversation was over when he said SUCK IT UP and hung up on me. Paul was never a guy to handle a weakness in his family or business subordinates. He never once rubbed my back during PMS or stroked my head as I yacked up dinner due to food poisoning instead I was admonished for ruining a business dinner when he was bucking for partnership in the accounting firm. He didn’t get it and blamed me. What I found out later was that he didn’t get it as Mr. Weintraub thought he was a first class schmuck with the sensitivity of a slug. “The Grinch had more heart” stated the disgusted CEO.
I am glad he is not around for this as I would get zero support during chemo and all bets would be off if I had to take meds that would make me fat or if I lost my boobs to surgery. I wasn’t a small woman when we were married five years ago. He chided me constantly. “It won’t look good if I have to drag a fat broad around on my arm.” Paul started hiring escorts after that for events stating that I had to work and he had my blessing. The escorts would have been fine if he had kept it at that. I found him cheating with one in the coat check section when I was able to come to the office party late. I stopped going to events, work or no work but the chea xs cting just got worse.
So I started being more self-reliantgh and not worrying what or whom Paul was doing. I moved into the spare bedroom in our house. Funny thing was Paul didn’t notice my absence and stopped coming in for conjugal visits. If he had I would have stopped him without at least three layers of protection. Soon after that I filed for divorce citing adultery and alienation of affections. Paul objected do to slanderous and libelous behavior. His boss acted on my behalf and fired him for said behavior; yet another reason for the asshole to be pissed off at me.
I developed a titanium hide and his words and behaviors bounced off me like bullets off Superman. My friends became part of my family. Without Paul to kick me around my stress went down considerably at least until now. So if Larry and Leslie wanted to be my rocks I would let them.
You need sleep Larry said after a few hours of talking and watching movies. “Let’s get you tucked in.”
I really dreaded going to bed. I was afraid I would lay there and fret all night thinking the very worst of my situation. Leslie agreed to sleep with me just as we had during college sleep overs. Larry set himself up in the living room. “If ya need Darlin’ just holler ok?”
“Stop worrying Larry with you and Leslie here I should be fine.”
Miraculously I slept like the dead without incident. I was up at seven after eight hours of sleep. I got showered and fixed up my usual fruit and yogurt. Leslie came in, did the same and cracked her usual diet soda.
“Morning sunshine!” Leslie was being way too cheery.
Larry said nothing as effusive happiness would earn him a punch in the head. “A wise man knows when the shut the hell up!
I grimaced at best and mumbled something about D-day. Or worse it could be Hiroshima or Pearl Harbour (where were these references to war coming from?) oh right it was possible I could be waging war with some really nasty cancer cells. I would declare nuclear annihilation on them if it came to that. I was going into this appointment in full battle gear –hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I was really proud of myself for not crumbling totally. Not yet anyway.