Sunday, December 12, 2010


Had I paid attention to the National Weather Service warnings today—something about a massive winter storm bearing down on the Northeast—I would have run to the store for bread and milk with a smile on my face. While some of you will thrill to an abundance of snow this week…Central Pennsylvania is bracing for—what else?—rain. Rain—aka: MUD. After two weeks of subfreezing temps, the thermometer soared into the forties today just in time for “the storm” to arrive. My inner child is having issues with the National Weather Service. She wants to know when OUR snow is going to arrive!!

So…there will be no meditation on stillness and minimalist beauty this week. I swear I’m going to wait until we get dumped on before I post that entry. How can I write about snow when rain is pelting the windowpane?

Instead, I’m going to share another short piece from The Bandaged Place. Let me know what you think, okay?

In this scene, my protagonist, Dr. Kate Tilton has been awake all night. She is scheduled for surgery in the morning. She has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and has opted for a bilateral mastectomy. These are her thoughts:

*There is no moonlight tonight, nothing to dispel the darkness. I have been standing at the window for an hour now searching the eastern horizon for the faintest glow, for some suggestion that the worst night of my life is over and the worst day of my life is about to begin. D-day. D for doubt; D for despair; D for disfigurement. Or maybe I should call it C-day, the way everyone around here has been so caring, so cheerful, so comforting. So clueless.

I recall the flood of animated e-cards I have deleted, the handwritten notes on gold-embossed stationery and the words of encouragement I have received. Even jokes intended to shed some humor on my predicament, no doubt. The freezer is packed with casseroles prepared by friends and neighbors to tide us over while I recuperate. Lauren has offered to come home for a couple of days, “to help out” as she put it. But we all know better; the kids are terrified and Matthew is overseas on business so he is especially frantic.

I would bear this whole ordeal in secrecy if I could. I would never burden my family and friends with it. Instead I would have them believe that I have finally decided to follow their advice and take a little time away for myself. But I wouldn’t tell them where I was going or why and if anyone asked, I’d give them a conspiratorial wink, as if we’ve already had this conversation. They should remember. And they would be too embarrassed to admit that they’ve forgotten so they would simply nod and grin, “Oh! Right!” acting like they know all about it when, in truth, they know nothing whatsoever.

They may have my best interests at heart but I swear, if one more person tells me that God will take care of everything, that I have every reason to be hopeful, that they’ll be here for me no matter what—I will puke. See how many of them stick around after that. It’s just so hard pretending to be cheerful for them, to be gracious to the well-wishers, the optimists and the self-appointed care-takers who, after all, are doing everything they can for me—out of kindness, out of fear, out of ignorance. I’m worried that all this comforting and caring and concern is a bad omen. I mean, you don’t get this kind of attention for a gallbladder or ruptured appendix. No, it has to be something really bad. So, I guess today is C-Day after all. C for cancer.*

So…for me today is R-Day…R for "raining". Or, maybe today is "R-for-rejection-day" (five out of fourteen so far). Or, perhaps it’s R-day meaning "ready"--ready for a WHITE CHRISTMAS!

What kind of a day is it for you today?

“Today isn’t any other day,
you know.”
--Lewis Carroll--
In my next post, I’ll try to share some words of wisdom from writers whose work has influenced and encouraged me.

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