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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2234861-Choices
by Rich
Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2234861
It is never easy to deal with Breast Cancer. For patients. or for Family.
"I don't.. I can't... do this.. " he thought, sitting in the chair facing her bed. She'd always been a strong, fearless, woman. Why she had stayed with him, a simple man in comparison, he never quite wrapped his head around. His education had stopped in the eleventh grade, having had to go to work when his father passed, and he never got around to getting any further along.

Now he found himself sitting in this ugly room that smelled of antiseptic and recirculated air. The doctors used terms he didn't even begin to understand. Mutations and genes, maybe this might happen, maybe that might, just didn't make any sense to him. All he knew was the light in her eyes had faded while she shrank into herself. And that it all involved cancer somehow.

They'd talked, like they always had, about what to do. The decision to have this procedure was ultimately hers to make. He listened, told her he didn't care what she wanted to do, he hugged her, and felt completely helpless knowing he couldn't protect her from this. Her closest friend, Margarite, had told him what a son of bitch he was to tell her didn't care what she wanted to do. Maybe he was. Words weren't his strong suit and at the end of the day whether she had her breasts or was board flat didn't matter to him.

This all had led to him sitting here watching her. Knees drawn up to her chest, arms wrapped around her legs. Chin resting on her knees as she stared straight ahead, he could see the occasional tear roll down her cheek. Next to her, on the bed, lay BooBear. Little man had left it with her before grandma took him for ice cream, telling Mom that he would make her feel better. It was a typical 3-year-old kind of thing to do, give your favorite toy to someone who seems sad.

Standing up, he walked over to the bed, sitting down on the edge next to her. After a moment he put his calloused hand on her arm, squeezing gently, well as gently as he ever did.

She slowly raised her head to look at him. "Am I doing the right thing, Mike? Am I just being afraid for no reason?" The words coming out behind a sob she tried to control. He could see the fear in her eyes.

"Hun, I don't know if this is right. If you are afraid right now, then it is the right kind of afraid, I think. All I know is that we need you so if this keeps you around longer...." His voice trailed off as he reached out with this other hand to wipe away a tear with his thumb.

"Mom died of this. It was horrible for her. I don't want that...." She looked away from him back towards the wall.

Nodding, "I know Lor. I know." That had been part of their discussions and he was sure the ultimate reason she was going through with this.

"I won't be a whole woman in a few hours."

He snorted. "Says who?

Looking back at him, a quick downward eye movement, a raised eyebrow which normally happened when he said something thoughtless or stupid or that amused her.

"Do you think that matters to me one earthly bit?" poking her lightly in the chest, "It is your heart, your brain, the amazing lady you are, that is what makes you a whole woman. Everything else is window dressing. Nice window dressing. But still."

"Was that a hint of a smile, no, probably not, just my imagination, " he thought as the door opened behind him.

"It's time, Lorraine."

Standing up, turned to the nurse, nodding. Turning back to his wife, he bent over to kiss her on the forehead. "See you soon. Don't let them
steal your bear." She wrapped her arms around him, holding tightly.

"I gotta go now, " he whispered to her after a few moments, removing her arms gently. The nurse wasn't going to wait forever. They were impatient that way.

"I know, " she whispered back.

Straightening out, he turned and walked past the nurse, through the door. He held himself straight glad that she couldn't see the tears he finally couldn't hold back any longer.

[724 words]

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