Ted pushed himself up from the porch swing and moved swiftly into the house. Chris sat silently letting the swing finish its reaction to his sudden movement. She swung slowly back and forth, back and forth in shorter arcs until the swing came to a stop. Tears welled in her eyes and she knew she saw some in Teds before he quickly bolted for the solitude of the house. It was a lot for him to digest and she began to wonder if telling him was a mistake. Her resolve to keep her secret wore down as she grew more fatigued.
She was scared and she never felt more alone. He had thought she was just getting lazy and they had fought many times about what she hadn't been getting done .Each day he would come home to a house with laundry not done and dishes in the sink. He would huff his displeasure as he slam things around in the kitchen while he cleaned up and put things away.
Earlier that night as she lay in bed she heard him and knew he'd be upset with her when she finally showed herself or he came down after his shower.
She drifted off when things grew silent and was abruptly woken by the door being flung open.
"Jeez Chris, what the hell is it you do all day? I work my ass off at work then come home to the mess here to take care of. And tonight you haven't even started dinner. I guess watching those damned soaps must drain the life out of you and keeping the house tidy is just too much for you now???"
Previous to tonight shed always managed to hold her own, make excuses of some sort that he'd buy and it would be done. But tonight he had had enough and yelled.
Dammit Chris, you've barely lifted a finger around here the last 3 months. And I am fucking tired of doing both our jobs. You have always kept a clean house.... always had dinner ready or on the go when I came in the door. Don't get me wrong I never took that for granted I always appreciated it but lately.. it's like I'm living with another woman. Heck you don't even look yourself. You won't talk to me, you're sullen, short of temper sometimes and that's not you. I don't know what to do. Are you unhappy? Do you want out?? Christ Chris. I love you, you must know that. I have been patient and tried to understand but you are doing dick all around here and not talking to me about anything. Come on.. something's up. Just tell me."
His rage had resigned itself now to worry and seeing the look on his face made Chris cry.
It was not a gradual thing. Ít welled up in her throat and forced its way out so hard she almost choked on it.
A sound alien to Ted came from his wife, he stood dumfounded and speechless not knowing what to say. He moved in and grabbed her in a big hug. Just in the nick of time too because her knees buckled and he had to hold her up. It was like the force of her sobbing stole the last bit of strength she had in her body. He slowly brought them both down to the floor and just held her. It was a long time before the crying stopped.
When she was breathing normally he gently cradled her chin in his large hand and lifted her face towards him.
He looked into her swollen eyes and stared for a long time. Searching for the woman he fell in love with. She saw the concern and love he had for her and mustered up a weak smile to ease his mind.
'Splain Lucy"' he mimicked in his best Ricki Recardo imitation.
She moved to get up and he helped her, now so aware of how weak she was. She took his hand and led him out to the porch.
Not sure what to say or how to say it, she led him to the swing and sat down.
They sat and watched the sun as it slipped slowly down the sky.
The sky burst into brilliant oranges and deep purples and she did, as she had every night since her diagnosis, marvelled at the beauty of it. And as she had also done every night since then, she lamented the fact that she had taken it and so many simple things for granted. She should have lived her life differently. And she would NOW live it the way she should have.
"Ted, I'm so sorry. You deserve better than you have gotten from me these last months, her voice caught in her throat and she swallowed hard working to formulate the words. There was no easy way to say this.
"I should have told you sooner.." and she stopped again. Breathing deep and trying to calm herself. She sat quietly... practicing the words in her head.
She looked at his face and before she could change her minded said the three words he would NOT want to hear
"I have Cancer."
He sat in stunned silence. She waited for him to say something. His hands balled into fists and and he got up and went into the house.
She sat on the swing, her mind swimming and second guessing her decision to tell him and through tear filled eyes she watched as one by one the stars sparkled to life in the darkening night sky.