My best friend has cancer.

Why can’t I feel anything? Why can’t I do anything?

Finally, Claire pulls herself out of Jenny’s death grip and grabs a couple of napkins from the table, handing them to a still sniffling Jenny.

“I’m going to make this short and sweet. I found a lump in my breast last week and Carter made me immediately call my gynecologist. After I saw her, she sent me to an oncologist for a mammogram just to be on the safe side. I had a biopsy done and two days later the oncologist called to tell me I have breast cancer. I’m going in a week for a double mastectomy, and then I’ll have six treatments of chemo and finally, reconstruction surgery. Now, back to my original question, who wants more wine?”

Jenny raises her hand. “I do!”

Claire lets out a cheer and unscrews the top on another bottle. We’re such classy bitches.

“You know, Drew and I play mammogram all the time. I read about the importance of doing self-breast exams and of course Drew wanted to be helpful. He’s so cute!”

Claire leans back against her chair as she shakes her head. “Do I even want to ask what exactly “playing mammogram” entails?”

“Well, Drew dresses up like a doctor and I put on a robe. Then, he takes two dinner plates from the kitchen and he smushes—”

“OKAY! Stop. That’s enough. I’m going to puke up all this wine we’ve consumed. Never speak of that again. Ever,” Claire warns her.

Reaching for the bottle Claire just opened, I opt out of pouring it into my glass and just chug it right from the bottle. Fuck it.

“Um, you can’t do that.”

With the bottle still close to my mouth, I turn to look at the judgmental waitress who is half my age.

“This is a bar,” I tell her, holding the bottle of wine up in front of her face. “And THIS, is called alcohol. People like to drink it. IN A BAR.”

The perky twenty-something puts her hands on her hips and glares at me. “You can’t drink it straight out of the bottle.”

“What are you, the wine police? Don’t you have some Barbies that need to be played with somewhere?”

Jenny giggles, holding up her glass of wine. “Three cheers for Barbie! I learned what smithereens was with Gymnastics Barbie and Lifeguard Barbie.”

“What the fuck is smithereens?” I ask, taking another swig from the bottle.

“You know, where two women lock their legs together and grind their hoo-has against each other,” Jenny explains, making peace signs with both of her hands and then interlocking her fingers together.

“I think she means scissoring,” Claire provides.

“Look, ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you continue to drink out of the bottle,” Slutty Waitress Barbie informs me.

“Awwwwww shit,” Claire mutters as I slowly get out of my chair and stand in front of the girl.

“You did NOT just call me ma’am,” I growl.

The waitress takes a step back and I feel good about the fact that even though I’m little, I’m mighty, and this bitch looks like she’s afraid I’m going to punch her in the kidney.

“Steph, I promise I’ll make sure she uses a glass,” Claire tells the waitress kindly.

She smiles at Claire and nods. “Okay. Just, try not to scream or cry anymore either. Some of the other customers are getting nervous.”

I clunk the bottle of wine on the table and take a step in Steph’s direction. “You should probably run along now before I find a fun way to make you scream and cry.”

Steph literally runs away from our table and I sit back down, snatching the wine glass from Claire’s hand that she is holding out for me.

“We should shave your head tonight,” Jenny suddenly announces, bringing us all right back to the matter at hand that I DO NOT want to think about. “You have great bone structure. You’ll look great with no hair.”

“You are not shaving my head tonight. I don’t start chemo for two weeks, so how about we just wait and see what happens?”

Jesus Christ. Mammogram. Lump. Biopsy. Mastectomy. Chemo. WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

“And let me just add one last thing,” Claire announces. “No one in this room will be shaving their head in support of me. There will be no spaghetti dinners to raise money for my medical costs, you are banned from wearing anything pink or anything closely related to the pink family until this is all over and there will be no fucking candlelight vigils held for me. Can I get an ‘Amen’ from both of you?”

“Amen!” I deadpan the reply and Jenny shouts it excitedly but hey, at least we replied.

Jenny starts talking Claire’s ear off about her first mammogram last year and I stare into my glass of wine wondering when the fuck I’ll wake up from this bullshit nightmare I’m obviously having. I mean, how is it possible that one of us is even old enough to get breast cancer? I’m not stupid, I’ve seen the statistics and I know it can hit anyone at any time, but those are people I don’t know. They are women who have nothing to do with my life and I can continue living each day with only a passing thought about all of those poor ladies and what they’re going through. A friend of a friend’s mother’s sister on Facebook, your mom’s college roommate’s aunt, your dentist’s neighbor’s best friend. THESE are the people who get cancer, not someone I know and love.

This is happening right in my own backyard. Right in our motherfucking favorite bar! It’s impossible to stay oblivious anymore. Cancer has jumped off the pages of a Facebook post of a friend of a friend of a friend’s yoga instructor’s Starbuck’s barista and smacked me right in the face. Copyright 2016 - 2024