Telling: Altars & Artifacts


not too good

Jacob will not go to school with his hair as it is. I keep him home. Then how do I deal with soccer practice. Gus can't go to practice on a day he misses school, but then Gus likes practice better than he likes school. Jacob likes school better than practice. So how do I call that? The afternoon is drizzly. Not enough rain for the coach to call practice, but enough to weigh my hand against taking us all out there. I decide to stay home. I shave Jacob's head. Watt comes home. I begin to feel better than I have in a while, getting my feet back under me.

About 8:30, Marian calls. I know she has been to the doctor to get the results of her tests. I take the phone into the other room, away from the noise of my family. The night is deep blue and wet on the windows. My voice is upbeat. "So how are you?"

"Not too good," she answers, her voice getting smaller with each word.

I sit down at the table in my makeshift kitchen. "What happenend?"

"I have cancer," she says in a soft hoarse whisper, as if all the body has been leached out.

"Oh." a word that is only sound, only music to answer the husk of her voice. "Oh babe," cradling the phone as if I could rock her through this night.

A Mother's Journal

field notes from
1997 - 1999