Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ups and downs, Cancer and Rain

I'm in St. Louis right now visiting and setting things up to promote my book in the city that raised me and the city that raised Seffra. Yesterday I had a meeting with a woman at the school for social work at SLU, my alma mater. I genuinely enjoyed meeting this woman, gladly passed her a copy of my book, and look forward to her coming to a talk I'm giving on Saturday that's being promoted by Sex+ St. Louis. But it's not all books and praise.

The ups and downs feel so pronounced when you show up to your oldest favorite place to run on a sunny evening in the spring, the world the right level of moist, the trees green and full, the sun kissing between the leaves without yet scorching your shoulders. I looked forward to this run.

But a text came saying that my mom, who had just had a part of her tongue removed due to what we thought was a pre-cancerous growth, has in fact, got cancer.

Sure, they caught it early. It should be fine.

Wasn't I going for a run? Wasn't I enjoying a glass of wine by myself and the luxury of time before a flight? Wasn't that all just a moment ago?

I'm here and the trees are green and everything is blooming while at home it's mud season and the snow is melting and turning the trails to dogpoopsoup. I reconnected with the professor in college that made me want to teach in facilities. We had a leisurely lunch with good conversation and even though I forgot to feed the meter, I didn't get a ticket. That never would have happened when I was an undergrad.

I got a 2 star review. Oh well. That means the book's fully legit now right? Would you ever buy it that a book had all 4 & 5 star feedback? Someone always dislikes it once there are enough people reading. Such is writing. Such is life. I know people won't always like me. I just hope they dislike me for the right reasons. I guess I don't actually care that much why someone didn't like my book as long as a few people find some reality and hope in it, who could care?

When my 4 year old had his tonsils out in March, he had to stay overnight in the hospital unexpectedly. The recovery hadn't gone as smoothly as it was supposed to. He discharged just in time for us to part ways in the parking lot, my husband taking he and his brother home while I had a scheduled reading to give.

At the reading, I let go of my son and focused on my work and everyone came out okay. A friend gave me some leftover medication for my son that we couldn't get for him because all of the pharmacies had closed for the night after he was discharged. He got what he needed because I let go and went to work.

Yesterday, I had productive meetings and got to listen to my friends talk about all the things going on in their lives. I just wanted to listen. I missed my son's preschool graduation but came home to a video my husband took of the whole thing. He buzzed with excitement through the phone about what'd done at graduation and what he'd eaten at the party afterwards. It was good to hear him. It was good to hang up and be where I was and listen to what it's like to tour Jerusalem with 2 Jews, 2 different types of Christians, and an atheist, to tour a Palestinian territory without a head covering. It was good to be where I was.

Still, it's hard to be away instead of there bringing my boys who lick random things and chase my mom's chickens around over at my mom's house when I know it would lift her spirits and I could be making smoothies and telling her it's fine to have whiskey if that's what she wants. Fuckit, who cares? It's hard to be here, where I have time to write and run and think and cry. And yet if I were there, would I have time to cry about cancer and the essay I finished on the flight before I knew any of this about my aunt who died of cancer?

I hope the rains come and that I cry and write and let the help be with her where she is and the gift of time and rain and friends be with me where I am, there's something very cleansing about all of those things especially in combination. Next week, she'll have the rest of the cancer removed and we'll find out if there is a battle to be had, or merely a hurdle to get over. But for now, I'll just be here.