Sunday, May 18, 2008

Meltdown #1

Meltdown #1: Formalwear Freakout

Severity: Relatively minor (in the grand scheme of things, I imagine they could get much, much worse)

Circumstance: Getting ready to chaperone the school prom

Narrative: Last night was the school prom. One bitch of being scheduled for surgery in a couple of weeks, rather than next week as I had hoped, is that I don't really have any excuse to get out of some of the more tedious end-of-the-year hoopla at school. I could, I'm sure, whip out the Cancer Card, activate my doe eyes, and plead stress and chaos. But that's just not my style. (Tempting, oh yes tempting, though it is).

7:30pm rolled around to find me in my underwear, in my bedroom, surrounded by a pile of dresses like shed snakeskins. Jason passed by the door and peered in. "Whatcha doin', Boog?"

I can't remember what I said. Something snippy. I put on another dress, looked at myself in the mirror and stripped it off again. (Jason is my roommate, my best friend, but he was my boyfriend for many years; modesty is not an issue.)

"You seem upset," he said. I agreed. He asked why, and I asked him if he really wanted to know.

A little side note here: next to my mother, there is no one closer to me than Jason. In some ways, Jason knows me-- the current, 34 year old me-- better than even my mother. Next week, we will have known each other for six years now. Next month, we will have lived together for five years. He's been through my divorce (long-distance), our miscarriage, Katrina, the death of my grandmother, the uprooting from New Orleans... and now this.

But this is different. This is the first crisis we've faced together since we've been decidedly broken up (although, in spirit, we were broken up during Katrina, my grandmother's death, and our move). At my appointment with the surgeon, when the doctor asked us if we were dating, I said "he's my ex, but we're still best friends." Jason ammended it by saing, "But I'm really her Louisville family."

Anyway, I just thought I'd clear that up. I'm sure it only muddies the waters. The point is, I guess, that Jason has the dubious distinction of bearing the brunt of all of this. And sometimes I feel like I should swallow more than I do; I always strive to give him the choice of hearing the raw truth. And almost always, he wants to hear it. He's been the one all along who's been mad at me when I get mad at myself for being sad.

So, I said, "Do you really want to know the truth?" He said, "Of course."

And I started to cry. "I realize now that this will probably be the last time I dress up with my own boobs."

And Jason, bless his heart, stood in the doorway agape as I threw on the most modest dress I owned, and pushed past him toward the bathroom. I dried my wet hair in the bathroom, sobbing.

We never talked about it again. And by the time my hair (my long hair, hair I may sacrifice to chemo, hair that's longer now than it has been since I was a child) was dry, I'd gathered myself enough to put on makeup and finish my pre-prom ablutions. I do know, however, that he didn't leave my room for a good five minutes after I'd brushed by him.

The folks at Gilda's Club operate under the assumption that when someone has cancer, then everyone around them is sick too. Yes, of course.

No comments: