Last Saturday, Sarge and I got up early to see our wedding venue decked out for a wedding. The sun was out and I could picture next year, our people in that room. ‘And we’ll announce you from here,’ said the events planner person. And I cried.
We headed toward breakfast and I wondered again why I order pancakes anywhere that isn’t my Dad’s house. Sarge finished them off for me, and I made him shoot some cherry blossoms on the way to a coffee-shop, where I drank coffee, read David Sedaris and eavesdropped on some tourists. I couldn’t help it. They were loud.
We went home and had dumplings while watching Manhattan. Life is good. I said so on Facebook.
Dad and Anne picked us up on Sunday and we went to the bridal shop so I could pet my dress. It was hidden in the back of the car before Sarge came out of hiding.
We take them back to the venue; Dad sits at the top of the room. Has a moment. ‘Well done,’ he says. ‘It’ll be a beautiful day.’
We have a late lunch, and are the last to leave the cafe.
‘Want to come up for coffee? We can kill some zombies for you.’
I expect Dad to say no, but we all troop up to the flat. This is Interesting, because they usually just go home.
Dad is on the couch, Anne is next to him. I’m parked in front of the books, Sarge next to me. ‘I have some news,’ Dad says in his This Is Interesting/Sit Down voice.
‘What?’ I actually gripped the frame of my chair.
‘What?,’ I say.
‘I’ll definitely fit into my kilt for the wedding, that’s the good news.’
He explained how he’d had a sore throat and then there was a lump. And he’d gone to the doctor and had to wait for results and I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense because all I heard was cancer.
And then Dad said, ‘Please don’t break because if you do, I will.’
Anne is saying he’ll be alright and Sarge is trying to hold me and forgive me but I’m pushing him away, because I’m trying to focus on what Dad’s saying. Because it doesn’t make sense.
‘Once they get it it’s gone, and it isn’t going anywhere else, and if you moved up the wedding I wouldn’t enjoy it, so next year is fine, better even,’ he said. ‘I want four whole hours for my speech at the wedding and I’d like to name all my Grandchildren, thank you.’
He’ll have to shave his beard and he’s on morphine with more energy than ever because his chronic back pain is gone. His diabetes and hypertension will go away. ‘Maybe this is my next lesson,’ he said. ‘This’ll mean I’m healthier in the long run. It’ll give me my life back. Chemo is my liposuction.’
‘It’s a pain in the ass way to do it, though.’ I said.
‘Actually it’s a pain in the neck, sweetie.’ He hugged me. And then I broke.
After they left, Sarge asked how I was doing. ‘I can’t feel anything from my heart to my toes,’ I sad.
I get up the next day. And I’m surprised the world is still happening. I stay off the computer in order to avoid Google. I try to write in a journal Dad gave me. But there are no words. If I had any, I would say that I know cancer is treatable, or else there wouldn’t be treatment. After the treatment, people get better. People laugh and go to weddings and have Grandchildren.
People get through it. But this is my father, my best friend. He has to go through this. My Dad will get better. We just have to get there.
On Thursday, I went to the cancer centre and met one of his nurses. The place was nicer than at least one of the wedding venues Sarge and I looked at. I asked questions and cried and hugged a stranger. But she isn’t, really. She’s one of the people looking after Dad, and that makes her awesome.
And because I’m me, I got stuck in the bathroom. To make it homey, they put a rug in there. It got caught in the wheels and came with me through the door, along with a basket of towels and a small table.
I backed out of the room. ‘Hey you guys, I’m stuck.’ Sarge reached me first, and then laughed and said to Dad, ‘oh, you gotta see this.’
My Dad’s laugh is the same as always.
He’ll be in remission by October which also marks three years of me and Sarge. Stellar month. We’ll get there.
My mission today is to find Dad a beard hat.
Dad and me. The last time he was without a beard.