I have talked about caring for my friend Scott, who has end stage cancer. Allow me to go back to the beginning, as the background is important.
In 2009 I worked for Scott at the dog lodging business he owned. I hadn’t really any interaction with him or his wife until this job. Although they lived down the street, we didn’t see them out and about-ever. I grew close to his wife, or so I thought. The job ended badly, for various reasons. My hours were wrong, and I called to talk with Cheryl about the discrepancy, the mistake. The conversation ended badly, and I was very upset. I had thought us friends, but her reaction to a simple request sent my mind reeling. What had I done?
The very next day Scott came to the house, and offered to pay me the difference. I had grown fond of him, and I felt badly for him-he seemed so jittery-as if he was afraid someone might catch him in the act. We became friends, and in time the four of us would dine together, mostly in the Summer. In the Winter months Scott would call and say his pond was ready for ice skating, we were good.
Long story short? I received a text from him one day in late Spring.
“I’m sorry, I can’t be around you anymore.”
I Sherlocked the shit out of that scenario, and my gut reaction was correct-Cheryl began driving by our house, to check on him, make sure he was following “the rules.” I ran into her mother in the grocery store one day, and sure enough, I was told that her daughter thought I was having an affair with her husband.
I confronted her, and believed her when she said all was good.
Two years pass and my friend is on his death bed, his cancer has returned.
I am called to his home, to say goodbye. When I arrive I am confused, he seems well. As well as we would have expected. He is alert times three, his vitals and coloring are good. We hold each other, cry on and off. He gives me a golf cart ride around the property, shows me where the garden will be planted.
So, next Spring, when Cheryl looks to the pond, she will see hundreds of tulips. I paid the neighbor boy to plant bulbs. What do you think?
I feel nauseous, as if he is hiding something. I can’t ask because my tears have created so much snot in my sinus cavity that I fear I will snot all over him. We say our goodbyes, again, and I stop and turn towards him-the questions of a thousand lifetimes shadow my face.
I know you love Hydrangeas, please, pick some.
And with that I am too far gone to gather flowers.
I’ll plant my own garden, in Heaven, where all tears will be wiped from our faces. And I will once again be free from the shackles that bind my heart.