When you get the phone call, you leave
work early because you know what a
phone call like that means. You head to
your best friend’s house and it’s almost
like it was when you daydreamed [daymared]
about getting this sort of news. You had imagined
the phone call, but with a definite diagnosis
and a rush to your friend’s house to tell him,
to hide somewhere within him. It is a little
like this except you are less collapsed than
you imagined you would be You pick up food
on the way to his house, somehow enjoy in a
tiny way the freedom you have been granted,
grateful for everyone’s understanding but
needing to hide from them all. Needing to hide
so much that when your friend says he has an
interview to go to you ask if you can stay at his
house until he gets back. He is accommodating
to your needs, your words, your silences, your
knees hitched up to your chest on the couch.
You talk about your pending diagnosis, you talk
about his job interview. Straighten his tie at
the back, brush neck lightly. Hugs. Good luck.
He leaves and you feel in hiding, in safety,
sheltered from a world you can’t face. You strum
his guitar a little, rest a finger on his keyboard,
tap out a tune you used to be able to play as a kid.
You still can. Explore his library, pick up a book
or two from the mountain, avoid an avalanche.
Curl up on the couch and nap for a while. Wake
up with drool setting on your cheek and wonder
why your face leaks like that. Wonder if he has
come home and just didn’t want to disturb you –
wander the house just to check. It has high ceilings
and feels grand, summer sun streaming through
sash windows. Sit back down in the living room,
await his return, his interview story. Next stop,
the pub down the road, the regular haunt, or
these days, the regular place to be haunted. Sit
in the beer garden, realise you are going mad
when you walk straight past some upturned
benches and only notice their strange configuration
maybe an hour later. This is what these meetups
are like. Going mad, expressing the madness, hiding
from the madness. In a mathematic sense, darkness
plus light, living days in twilight, wondering if these
are to be your twilight years. Sort of enjoying them all
the same, in a strange way, amid the horror of it all.
Sam Rose is a writer and editor from Northamptonshire, England. She is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and The Creative Truth. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Scarlet Leaf Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Haiku Journal, In Between Hangovers, and others. Sam is a cancer survivor and primarily uses her experiences with this to write poetry and memoir. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to rock music and eating too much chocolate.