After we got that nonsense out of our system, we went to work making more lists.

“This is totally happening. We’ll go to a Pi Kappa Phi party next weekend and make THAT dream come true, and then right after graduation in two years, we’re opening this fucking business!” Claire stated.

We finished off the second bottle of Boone’s Farm in celebration and popped our worn out copy of Heathers into the VCR on the dresser, reciting the words to the entire movie while we dreamed about our awesome future.

I STOOD IN the corner of the room, staring at Claire and thinking about the day we came up with the idea for Seduction and Snacks as the nurse got her IV started. She doesn’t look sick. How in the fuck is this happening? Sure, we’re in our mid-forties, but we’re still young. This does NOT happen to young people and it most certainly doesn’t happen to one of MY people.

She met my eyes across the room and huffed. “Will you stop looking at me like that?”

“Like what?” I ask, pushing away from the wall and going to the edge of the bed.

“Like you’re expecting me to start spewing green vomit or keel over.”

I scoff and put my hands on my hips. “That’s not funny. This is serious, Claire. You… you’re…”

“I have breast cancer. It’s okay, you can say it. My tits may be small, but they’re deadly,” she says with a laugh.

“The doctor just gave me this form she says you need to fill out,” Drew interrupts, walking through the door.

For the first time since I met him, I’m actually glad to see Drew. Ever since Claire told us the news and we almost got kicked out of Fosters, he’s been the calm, rational one. We met Drew when Claire met her husband, Carter. Drew and Carter had just recently moved to our town and they worked at the same car manufacturing plant where my husband Jim worked. From day one, Drew was always the guy who said whatever he was thinking no matter how inappropriate or disgusting it was. He’s the jokester in the group, the crazy dude you sometimes don’t want to be seen in public with. Who am I kidding? You never want to be seen in public with Drew. The last few days, though, he’s kept us all from falling apart and on a few occasions, I’ve actually thought about hugging him to thank him. Then I remember the story he told us last week about how he and his wife Jenny decided Tuesdays were now referred to as Taco Tuesday in their house. Something to do with salsa on his penis and Jenny wearing a sombrero. I’ve blocked out the rest of that story out of respect for my mental health.

“What’s the form for?” Claire asks, craning her neck to look at the paper Drew holds out to her.

“It’s all about your likes and dislikes and some ‘getting to know you’ shit. It’s like the cancer version of I think they want you to get a little action while you’re here,” Drew replies.

The nurse finishes up Claire’s IV and smiles at us. “That’s just a way for the staff to get to learn a little more about you. We want you to be as comfortable as possible and we feel that knowing some personal things about you helps us make that easier.”

She fiddles with the IV machine, presses a few buttons and then leaves the room, telling Claire she’ll be back in a little while to check on her and pick up the finished form.

“I don’t have the energy to fill that thing out, will you guys do it for me?” Claire asks, closing her eyes and resting her head on the pillow behind her.

At this point, I would strip naked, light myself on fire and run screaming through the halls of this hospital if she asked. It’s not easy for someone like me to feel helpless. I’ve spent my life being known as the bossy, take-charge one in this group. Having to stand off to the side and watch your person suffering and not being able to do a damn thing about it is sobering.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head, Claire. Jim and I will fill this out for you,” Drew announces with a smile as my husband and Carter walk through the door, their arms loaded with coffee, bags of chips, Snickers, Pepsi and anything else they could find in the vending machine down the hall.

“Dude, they had pudding cups in the vending machine?” Drew asks, his eyes growing wide as he snatches a chocolate cup out of Carter’s hand.

“Uh, not exactly. We found a fridge a few doors down and it was filled with a bunch of free stuff!” Jim explains.

I shake my head at them. “You guys, that’s probably the nurse’s lounge. You just stole someone’s lunch.”

Drew already has the top off of the pudding cup and we all watch as he reaches into the pocket of his jeans and pulls out a mini bottle of Kahlua. He unscrews the top and dumps the entire thing into the cup of pudding, using his fingers to stir the mixture around.

“Mmmmmm pudding shots,” he mutters before tipping the cup back and slurping the entire thing down in one gulp.

Carter busies himself dumping all of the food on a table in the corner of the room, lining it up by size and then rearranging it by color. He huffs and then tries organizing the items alphabetically. Carter has been manically arranging things since Claire got the call from her oncologist last week. He started at Seduction and Snacks, putting all of the butt plugs with the ball gags because they both start with B. After that, he took every item out of their pantry at home and lined them up by expiration date. When he tried to rearrange Claire’s baking cupboards, that’s when she put her foot down and told him if he put the cinnamon near the coriander she would castrate him. Copyright 2016 - 2024