When I Died Last Tuesday
Right now I am red rubies and the deep orange flame flickering belly burning curry I smell rising up through the floorboards like the ghost of dinner come back to haunt me.
Right now I am thinking about the conversation I had with Sara earlier today about how everything is going so well I'm suspicious. Could all of the ingredients actually be cooking at once? This morning as I dressed I thought, "this is God's world and I'm just living in it" rather than the usual vice versa where I let him visit on special occasions.
And then, not an hour later, I get a call back from Virginia Women's Center, the day after my first ever mammogram, the mammogram I had practically gloated over being so easy. "We have found some irregularities and need extra images of the left breast; can you call us back at your earliest convenience?"
My stomach free falls and within 30 seconds I've been diagnosed with inoperable cancer and 30 seconds later I'm dead. "Well, it turned out to be a pretty good life," I think in an ironic twist of optimism and then "maybe if I'm about to die I won't have to do that presentation I don't want to do" and then "why wait until I'm dying to stop doing the things I don't want to do?" and then "maybe people will buy more of my books if they know I only have 2 months to live" and all of this before the receptionist answers and I set up an appointment for the next day at 1.
I tearfully call my husband who says he'll go with me and then I text a few friends who all text back that they have all gotten call backs after their mammograms and in fact so has everyone they know who has gotten mammograms EVER and then I feel stupid for already parsing out my will but I go ahead and cancel plans for the presentation I really don't want to do and take a hot bath with special oils and my husband makes hot curried chicken and my son practices his new borrowed guitar and then because I can't help it, I think "Well. It's been nice knowing them" because I'm nothing if not a fatalist, but still, I do the things set out in front of me to do.
EPILOGUE: The follow-up mammogram indicates that the only irregularity in my left breast is that it's different from the right breast. Otherwise, I am free and clear and, at least for now, it looks like I will live. My heart goes out to the countless women, in my family, life and world who have not been met with such a reversal of fortune.