“When we all leave this earth, our loved ones may miss us but with each passing day, they will carry on and live their lives and eventually we are just a thought on their minds every once in a while. Do something for you right now. Deal with everything else later.”
I turned over in bed and stretched like a cat, waking up to what smelled like the best homemade soup ever. My stomach immediately rumbled with hunger as it hit me that Meghan was still at my place.
How long had I been sleeping and how many days had she been here?
I felt more human than I had in weeks. After scooping me up from the ground in my doorway, Meghan had stripped me down naked and forced me into the shower. She followed up by standing guard like a warden as I brushed my teeth and combed my hair. Then, before letting me slide back into bed, she changed the sheets and made me put on a fresh pair of pyjamas.
After that, it was all a blur for me. Between almost non-stop sleeping, Meghan waking me up to eat something and spilling my guts incoherently to her about what the doctor had said, the days were fuzzy. This cycle continued until Meghan was satisfied that she had the complete story.
I couldn’t imagine that this acquaintance of mine was taking such good care of me. I’d forgotten how comforting it was to have someone take care of me. Actually, no one had ever taken care of me and it felt so good.
As I got up and reached for my robe, I noticed that my bedroom was no longer a colossal mess and when I stepped into the living room, everything was clean, tidy and put away. It almost brought me to tears that Meghan had done that for me.
How had she known where everything needed to be? She had never even stepped foot in my house before.
I stood in the kitchen doorway and watched Meghan throw ingredients into a boiling pot of goodness. My fridge had been empty which meant that she had either magically conjured up fresh food or she had gone grocery shopping during one of my sleeping marathons. She turned around and motioned for me to take a seat at my own table.
“Are you hungry? I’m making black bean soup, grilled chicken and rice.”
She gave me a look that told me that I would have no choice but to eat regardless of how hungry I was or wasn’t.
“How are you feeling? A little better?”
“I almost feel human again. How long have you been here?”
“A few days.”
Meghan slowly stirred the pot.
“My God Meg, I truly appreciate it but you’ve got a life. I can’t impose on you like this with my…situation. You don’t even know me that well.”
Meghan left the stove and sat down across from me.
“I know you well enough and it’s my pleasure. If anything, you’re helping me. I needed to take a few days off work anyways and being here has made me realize that there are much more important things in life than work.”
I felt happy tears on my cheeks and Meghan wiped them away like a mother would with a small child.
“What more can I do to help?”
“You cleaned my place and you’re cooking for me. You’ve done plenty already. As for anything else, there is nothing that can be done. It is what it is.”
Meghan took my hand and squeezed it gently. I could see that she was trying to choose her words.
“Look, cleaning calms my nerves and after what you told me, I needed to find something to do after deciding to stay.”
“But you can’t stop your life to….”
“Stop. It’s fine. Do you want to talk about it? About what you are going to do?”
“Not really. What more is there to say? I’m dying. End of story.”
We were both uncomfortably quiet until Meghan got up and went back to check on her pot of soup.
“I don’t want to think about me for a little while. Distract me – tell me all about Hawaii and your conference. Did your new guy tag along with you? How is that going?”
“No, I didn’t invite him. I want to take things slow, especially since we started off on the wrong foot. I’m in no rush to make any bad decisions. If this is really love, I want this time to be right.”
Meghan cocked her head to one side. “Have you reconsidered going back to the doctor? Or at least getting a second opinion? I’d be more than happy to go to your doctor with you.”
I shook my head. “No, not yet. What would the point be?”
Meghan sighed deeply.
“The point is that you’re hiding in the darkness instead of walking in the light right now. Knowledge is power and you should be making decisions while standing in the light.”
Once again, we were silent. I chose to ignore her statement and pointed to her purse on the table.
“Did you take lots of pictures in Hawaii?”
Meghan sighed but nodded.
“Of course I did. Do you want to see them?”
When I nodded, she whipped her tablet from her purse, turned it on and handed it to me. As I scrolled through dozens of photos of beautifully lush greenery, beaches and mountains, Meghan’s running commentary about them were like white noise – I was too deeply hypnotized by the beauty of the pictures.
Photo credit: Foter.com
“You’re not listening to me, are you Kate?”
I looked over to Meghan and nodded, admitting to my crime.
“These pictures are breathtaking! Which was your favorite beach?”
“That’s hard to say because everywhere we turned there was a beautiful beach. But I would be partial to Kaanapali since my work colleagues and I spent most of our beach time there. It was amazing.”
“What was so great about it?”
“Well, the beach was about three miles long with white golden sand as far as we could see. We did some snorkeling and even jumped off the cliff at Black Rock which wss totally insane and awesome at the same time! And at Whaler’s Village, there was a beach boardwalk with lots of other condos, hotels, open-aired restaurants and shopping.”
“I always wanted to go to Hawaii but it never worked out. Either it was because of my ex-husband’s work schedule, the kids being too young or in school. The timing was never right. Now it’s too late.”
I slid the tablet across the table to Meghan and she promptly slid it back.
“It’s not too late. You could still go to Hawaii.”
“I can’t go now.”
“Why not Kate? If you are refusing to go back to the doctor’s right now, you have no excuse. You could take a trip, clear your mind, get a change of scenery and come to your senses about going back for a follow up. You really do need to follow through with at least a second opinion… ”
“I can’t go. I have to think about the kids. They always need me for something. Then there’s the house… I’ve got to start making plans…making some kind of arrangements…”
“I may never be a mother but your kids are grown and out of the house. You’ve told me that your boy is super sweet and settled while your daughter is…well, I’m not sure how to describe her from what you’ve told me without possibly insulting you.”
“Yeah, Hannah is pretty indescribable. She’s the complete opposite of Kevin.”
“You need to think about you right now. What you want, what you need and what you want to do for you and only you. Regardless of what happens to us, the wheels of life will keep spinning. Bills will still need to be paid, people will still need to go to work, take care of their own lives and carry on. When we all leave this earth, our loved ones may miss us but they will carry on and live their lives. Eventually we will become a thought on their minds every once in a while. Do something for you right now. Deal with everything else later.”
Meghan got up, took a tray of marinated chicken breasts out of the fridge and washed her hands. I watched as she thoroughly caressed each one with a variety of spices before laying them one at a time into my frying pan. The kitchen was silent except for the sizzling of the pan.
Like the chicken breasts left marinating in the tray waiting for their turn to bask in the heat, Meghan’s silence allowed me marinate in her words of encouragement.
Could I just pick up, go to Hawaii and leave reality behind for a little while to clear my head?
Maybe I could.
Continuation – C is for “Coconut”
All Rights Reserved ©2017 Marquessa Matthews.
If you liked this piece and want to see more like it, please click on “Like” and/or “Comment” below and share with others who would also enjoy it. I plan on making this story into either a short story or a novella so you can sign up for my mailing list here to get the latest news on when it is completed.