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  • I struggle to balance the full coffee cup as I dig for the buzzing phone. I glance at the screen; she’s finally getting around to calling me? It's after 5. The doctor's working late today. She asks where I am.

    “I’m at JFK – remember? I’m leaving for Europe today. My honeymoon?”
    “Oh no, my dear. I’m afraid you can’t travel. Why didn’t you call me?”
    “You said you would call me if there were any....”

    I suddenly feel different. Very different. One hundred percent, absolutely and totally different and I know that I will never think about my life the same way. There will only be: before this phone call and after this phone call.

    “I got the report and saw your MRI today. Your brain is covered with lesions. You’ll need to come to the hospital right away to be treated. I’ve arranged a bed for you. Can you come tonight?”

    No, I cannot. I will not. I cannot digest this information, there’s no portal for such words. These words are nasty and rotten, but already in my mouth and I can’t spit them out but can’t properly swallow. It has only taken seconds but they have already been chewed and starting down. I feel the rankness with the inside of my lips and cheeks, my teeth and my tongue, but, so fast! they are already in my throat and I am helpless to gag or choke or eject them. They’ve poisoned me already, making my hands shake, my eyes pop fixedly wide, my jaw shiver. I’m standing, but then I’m sitting, in the middle of the airport terminal. Dumbly, I see large-paned windows that spread the tarmac before me. Unblinking, I see planes. They are being cleaned, fueled, prepared for takeoff. I feel the hum of people at the gates, perhaps walking, talking, rushing for flights. There are things being bought and things being sold- food, neck pillows, trashy magazines, the cup of coffee that has somehow left my hand, discarded silently somewhere when I heard that my “brain is covered with lesions”. I know I must move quickly – there is a bag to retrieve off my soon-departing flight, there is my husband, who is probably still on his way home in rush-hour traffic, to call. But not yet.
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