By: Mia L. Hazlett

I sat up most of the night talking to my husband. He dozed off about an hour ago, but I couldn’t shake my conversation with Kay. A lifetime friend wanted me to be comfortable saying cancer. I tried to say it to myself, audience free, in my car ride home. I realized it wasn’t saying cancer that bothered me, it was thinking and knowing that my best friend had cancer.

I said “cancer” the whole ride home, but my mouth and thoughts could not even begin to accept, “Kay has cancer.” It brought me back to a time when we ran away from home when we were about seven years-old. My parents grounded me for my entire Christmas vacation. There was no phone or friend visits. I was completely devastated and couldn’t even think of a time when Kay and I had gone just a day without seeing each other, never mind not talking. I didn’t see why calling my grandmother’s fat ugly friend, “fat and ugly,” was a big deal. My mother said something along the lines of, rude or completely embarrassing, and apparently she would never be able to go to the market store where the woman worked again. This was the same woman who told me I should never lie.

Kay and I stayed in our little fort in the middle of her backyard. It was our runaway spot. We spent the afternoon laughing and joking as we almost froze to death. I remember our conversation turned to the girl who sat behind Kay in reading class.

“Laura was crying the other day in class,” Kay said as we huddled together in our sleeping bags.

“She is always crying about something. It’s like she cries every day.”

“They said her mom is going to die.”

“Who said that?” She caught my attention.

“My mom and your mom.”

“Die like be dead?” I asked not completely understanding the concept of death.

“Yup. Like I guess in like a month.”

“How do they know it will be in a month?” The conversation made me uncomfortable, but I had to ask my questions.

“I don’t know. I think it’s because she is really old. They said she is thirty-eight.” Neither of us could comprehend that age.

“I hope I never get that old.”

“If you don’t get old, than you are dead. Only dead people don’t get old.” Kay was always the smarter one.

“You know what I mean.” My feet and hands were beyond cold.

“They said she had something wrong with her ….” She broke into laughter, which made me immediately follow.

“Something wrong with her what?” I laughed and asked at the same time.

“Something wrong with her boob, ” she said right before laughter engulfed our little fort.

“Her boob? Something was wrong with her boob? What was wrong with her boob?” I couldn’t stop laughing.

“I don’t know. She had lost one boob three years ago and now she lost the other one in the summer.” Laughter consumed our little fort again.

“How do you lose your boobs?” I giggled.

“I don’t know. But your mother said it mastercized in her bones now.”

“What does that mean? Is that like exercise?” I had never heard of dying from exercise.

“Maybe. I just hope once I get my boobs I don’t lose them.” Kay said matter-of-fact.

“Me too,” I said.

We raised our little tea cups full of melted snow and toasted, “May we never lose our boobs.”

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