That Elusive Cure 13
By lisa h
After judging Sally safe enough to make a run home, I gathered my medicines and a change of clothing and stayed one more night. The next morning I left Sal as she stood in the kitchen trying to work out what to make for lunch and the kids in front of the telly with the Saturday cartoons. Exhaustion was catching up with me. This was proper chemo exhaustion. The type that turned me into the walking dead.
I got back to my home and dropped my overnight bag, shoes and coat as I walked up stairs. The scattered trail told Jimmy where I was because I hadn’t the energy left to even speak. I was lucky to have managed the drive home at all.
The rest of the day passed in a haze. Fall into bed. Get up, use the loo. Drink the tea Jimmy left for me. Turn the telly on and close my eyes because watching the television hurt them. Doze, fade in and out of scattered conversations as Jimmy checked in on me. Ignore the anger in his voice when he mentioned Sal. Change into pyjamas as the night draws in. Sniff at the soup Jimmy brings and sit up long enough to drink it before falling unconscious again. Feel the kiss placed lightly on my lips as he climbed under the covers. Then night came again and a darker, denser sleep took me, a chemo sleep.
I woke on Sunday feeling better, but still tired. It wasn’t until almost noon that I remember the machine and that I was due my second session. Butterflies alighted in my stomach. Jimmy was in his study, probably on his computer scanning the headlines. Somehow I needed to get away from him and to the church. Janie had said a day late didn’t matter, but a need grew in me, almost as if my body believed in the cure more than my mind. To get away from Jimmy on a Sunday would take planning.
“I’m having a quick shower then I’m off to my mum’s for a cup of tea.” The lie slid out far too easily.
“You sure you’re up for that?” he called out from his study. “Maybe you should cancel. Why can’t you see her tomorrow?”
“I promised her. Dad’s away on one of his old-boys’ weekends. She’s all by herself.”
Not wanting to hear any more reasons as to why I shouldn’t go, I locked myself in the bathroom and had a quick shower. Jimmy was still in his study as I came out. Minutes later I was dressed and tiptoeing down the stairs. I grabbed my key and handbag and called up to him, “See you in a couple of hours, I won’t be long.” I didn’t wait for his reply and ran out the door.
Twenty minutes later I pulled up into the tiny car park beside the church. The key was in my hand already, my palm damp with anticipation. The day was warm, and the streets busy with people. I tried not to look suspicious as I got out of the car and slipped the key into the lock. The key wouldn’t turn. I took it out and pushed it back in, rattling the doorknob and turning the big key harder. Still nothing. Then I remembered Janie’s advice about jiggling the key. A moment later I was inside the church.
I’d half expected the machine to be gone, that I find it had never existed. But there it was, in the middle of the room, at odds with the dirt and dust coating everything else in there. The machine stood out, shiny and new-looking.
Wasting no time, I sat on one of the few righted pews and took off my shoes, leaving my handbag on the seat. The pod called to me, I could believe it was going to cure me. Even if it didn’t, would it hurt me so much to believe just for a little while? To have a few days where I felt like I might make it through this, that the rest of my days on this earth wouldn’t be filled with treatments and drugs?
The foam grew around me and I lay down, my hand already placed on the pad in the lid. My heart beat quickened as the lid eased down. I wasn’t scared this time, I was excited. A possible future was growing before me, and I couldn’t feel better about it.