She sat queitly thinking over what the doctor had said to her earlier that day.
That word that everyone hopes they never have to hear fell heavily on her ears and sunk into her gut. As he spoke to her she stared at his mouth, watching how his lips formed the words. He had been speaking for a long time.. saying words that she was no longer hearing because a buzz had settled in her head. She turned her gaze to the window and watched the traffic passing on the road below. A tiny blue car made its way to the corner and stopped at the light. A fog closed in and she could faintly hear a voice.
"Chris.. Chris are you with me?"
She felt a touch on her arm that jolted her back from the cloud she had retreated into. She blinked and looked back to her doctor.
"I need you to pay attention to me." he stated flatly. "This is important. Take these brochures home and go over them with Ted then decide what it is you want to do. There are options"
She nodded, not looking up.
"Do you want me to give you some time to absorb this before you leave" he asked.
Looking at her, he decided for her "Listen. Take your time. Compose yourself. You can leave when you are ready" He gave her a long look then got up and said "I will call you tomorrow to see if you have any questions" He closed the door quietly behind him.
"Thank you" she mumbled after he'd left. She sat and watched the tears fall onto the brochures that she was folding over in her hands.
She did not remember the drive home or how long she had been sitting in the bedroom. She had read the brochures and tucked them safely away in her purse. She just did not know what she was going to say to Ted, or her children. After years of being able to speak her mind and discuss her problems she now found herself without words. She had no idea what or how to tell them. She looked out the window and noted that the sun had gone down. She could hear her son moving around in his room, talking online with one of his friends while he played his game. At times she had found this irritating as he could get quite loud but this time she listened intently, enjoying the sound of his voice and remembering him as a baby. Remembering how he smelled as an infant, and reliving the feeling of him cradled in her arms. She closed her eyes and held the memory hard.
"What do I tell him?" she asked herself.
She gathered herself and left the room and wandered to the kitchen where Ted had started dinner. He looked up from the counter where he was preparing carrots to roast when she entered the room.
"Hey Hun" he said smiling and moved in to give her a hug. She took his hug and held on tight, tears welling up in her eyes. After a couple minutes he pushed her away only far enough to look at her face. She could see the concern and she swallowed hard and blurted out.
"Damn menopause has me feeling moody. I don't know if I can handle possibly 15 more years of this" she moaned, hoping he'd fall for her deflection.
He wiped the tears from her cheeks and held her some more. Only when she let go did he move to continue with the carrots.
"I love you" he said and gave her a kiss on the forhead as she backed away. She almost choked on the lump in her throat when she returned an "I love you back"
She watched him go back to the meal prep and was so grateful for him. He has always been so patient with her. So loving and considerate. Loving her even when she dished out her worst to him when life was being hard on her. He took it with understanding. Knowing it was not him that the anger was about.
"Not this time" she said to herself. "Not this time" She would not take this out on him. He had always deserved better from her.
This was one battle she'd fight on her own. One battle no one needed to know about except her. At least not yet. Her sons, one grown and moved out, her daughter and Ted need not be involved. If, and only if the day came where she was told that there was no hope.... Then, and only then would she tell them.
She was determined that day would not come.
She went to the drawer and picked out the cutlery and proceeded to set the table. She glanced at Ted on her way past and he gave her a warm grin. She smiled back. She called to her son who came in and got the plates to place around the table. After the table was set she thanked him and he gave her one of his best bear hugs.
"I love you" she told her son.
And as they had since he began to talk he responded with a smile "I love you too"
"I love you three" she countered back.
I love you forever" he replied and gave her another hug. She watched him as he returned to his room. "Dinner in 15" she called out.
"Ok" he answered and the door clicked shut behind him.
Her determination had carried her through a great deal.
It would this time too, she thought.