By: Mia L. Hazlett
I am in love. That’s right, love. I swear since I finally realized what this weird feeling is every time I see him…or just think about him, I can’t concentrate on anything. But the thing about my feeling, thoughts, all this junk inside me, he doesn’t know about it. I’ve thought about telling him to his face, but I just don’t think it would be all that appropriate. He’ll get the email.
I arrive at work and do my best to keep my focus. The thing about love is, when it takes you over, everyone notices. My colleagues have commented on how happy I’ve been. I guess they can see how in love I am without even telling them. They just notice any little change in your attitude, whether it be negative or in my case, positive.
Everyone I saw got a hi with an unexpected over-interest in how they were. I even stopped and listened to the over-sharers. I’ve never cared about Karen’s Siamese cat. In fact I’ve found their relationship a bit insane. But not today. Nope. I will be attending her birthday party this weekend. Only love could make me say yes to an invitation like that. What else could make me say I would wear my best cat ears? Who has good cat ears?
I type away at my keyboard, and all movement ceases as I see him enter the building. His statuesque frame draped in his black trench coat commands attention. I cannot take my eyes off of his graceful stride as he glides towards me. I blink out of my trance, but fail to take back up my typing. He nods in my general direction as he passes my office and heart.
“Hey dream girl are you in there?” my friend Amy snaps me out of my love trance.
“What? Huh?” I quickly return to my typing.
“Don’t ‘what huh’ me? You can’t go there. He is your boss. End of story. That’s how it ends. You wanted to know, that’s it right there. You can’t date your boss. It never ends happy. And it does end you know?”
“Tell me what you want or go away. I am not even looking at him like that. Although, I do wish he would stop looking at me like that.
“Riiight. Whatever. Why did I just hear Karen say that you are going to her cat’s birthday party this weekend? Are you insane?”
“It’s not for her cat. It’s a cat theme, silly. Who has a birthday party for their cat?”
“Um, that would be Karen. Yes, it’s very much cat themed because it’s for her cat. But you have fun. You need to keep your head out of the clouds and off of Mr. Bossguy. Look at what this daydreaming has done to you. You are attending a party for felines. So not cool.”
“Look, I’m not about anyone that works here. And it’s not a party for her cat. Okay? Let me get back to my memo please.”
“Okay, okay. I’m leaving meow, I mean now,” she laughs and leaves my office.
Okay so “The One” is my boss. And it may not be love, but quite possibly a little crush. He is fifteen years my senior, which makes him five years younger than my father. A little weird yes, but that just means they would have things in common. My father would have to like him. And the rumor is he is divorced and possibly has a daughter that could be older than me, but again, it’s a rumor.
“Rebecca? Are you ready for our meeting?” Mr. Anderson breezes past my office.
I catch up to him as he enters the small conference room. We enter and I am seated across from my future husband. We are going to have gorgeous kids. He should be so happy that I don’t care my stepdaughter is going to be older than me. He must have gotten the email that I sent him by now. This must be what this emergency “meeting” is all about. And on company time to boot. That’s what I love about him, he doesn’t care about breaking the rules. This is definitely not a crush. I’m in love with him.
Freakin‘ Nancy! Our Human Resources director walks in on us. What the hell could she possibly want? Why is she sitting down? He didn’t say anything about her being here with us. An uncomfortable feeling enters my stomach and it’s not that love feeling either.
“Well let’s get started shall we?” Nancy proceeds.
“Um, okay, I think,” I say. “What’s this all about?” I asked confused by her presence. She hands both of us a piece of paper.
I look down and scan over my very personal email to my lover. How the hell did she get it? Oh my gosh, it never occurred to me that he could be involved with Nancy. This is so embarrassing. But I can’t help but respect him. He wanted to tell her he is leaving her for me with all three of us present. He is so worth a cat birthday party.
“Rebecca, obviously you know what you are reading because you are the author. We’ve brought you in here for this meeting to terminate your employment. This email violates our policy on sexual harassment and the suggestions in your email has created an extremely hostile work place for Mr. Anderson….”
©2010 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
Yup. That was me. I was so full of ambition, but dumb as a brick. And I’m pretty sure with that last comment I’ve insulted bricks everywhere. I was eighteen and working my first real job. And boy was I in love with my boss, or so I thought it was love. It was a time in my life before heartache, hardening, and relationship cynicism existed. A time when if I felt it, I’d let you know…by email even.
So I honestly thought I was in love with my boss. I had worked up a magical love affair between us in my head and was sure he felt the same way. One night we stayed late at the office and he ordered us Chinese food. We worked on editing his presentation and he took off his tie and undid his top button. We shared about ourselves, families, life, (my age, how many siblings, and what I wanted to be when I grew up…he shared nothing personal about himself), and wrapped up the editing. He walked me to my car, waited until I was buckled in, and shut the door.
Now in my head at the time, or more so what I excitedly told my friend when I got home, we had just had our first date. He was cute. I was attractive. We just had dinner. He practically undressed in front of me. Even though we were working, he wanted to know everything about me. He walked me to my car and was such a gentleman, that instead of a kiss or hug, there was just a gentle touch to my shoulder as I slid into the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, my friend was younger than I. She agreed and assisted me out of a job by helping me compose that dreadful email.
Tonight was magical. I am such an idiot. I like totally forgot to thank you for dinner. You were nice enough to order my favorite fried rice and I can’t believe I like didn’t say thank you. I wanted you to take off so much more than your tie, but you showed what a mature guy you were. I’m not used to boys being so polite and nice to me. That was sooooo romantic how you walked me to my car and opened and closed the door for me. I’ll see you in my dreams tonight when I’m asleep in my lonely bed.
xoxoxxoxoxo and more if you want it,
Now at thirty-five, I can laugh. Laugh really hard. I’ve saved that email along with my termination letter and at least once a year, my stupid friend, Kay, sends it to me verbatim. Sometimes it’s an email. Sometimes it’s a letter. And every time there is some random picture of a Siamese cat, because I did go to the CAT birthday party. But every time I read it, I laugh myself out of breath. We both laugh, because she too felt like she got fired that day.
I called her from my desk as I was collecting my belongings. I was a complete mess and couldn’t even think straight. Now I wasn’t exactly packing a “box”, because I just had pictures of me and Kay on my cork board and a blue rubber stress ball. The whole time I tried to put my jacket on, the stupid ball kept falling and rolling around. But I was so determined to take it with me because they weren’t going to get my ball. That ball added an extra fifteen minutes to my departure, but to this day I have it.
Kay was already waiting in my bedroom when I got home. I can’t tell you how many times we read that email trying to figure out what was wrong with it, but I will tell you she had to stay over that night. We held back on going to the mall and pondered my dilemma throughout the weekend. My dilemma was not so much that I had gotten fired, but it was my father’s friend who helped me get the job. This was going to be my college job. I could work there full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year.
But because we were so naive about corporate policy back then, we finally brought the email to my father and mother. Yes we did. We thought I had a case against them. We were going to sue them and get like a million dollars. Then we were going to buy houses next door to each other and have matching cars. That’s the thing about best friends, they can make you believe anything when you are both mad about the same thing. So off to my parents we went. I don’t know if my mother stopped my father from jumping over the coffee table to kill me, or if she was just trying to beat me first; but luckily I only received a slap upside my head. And that’s the thing about your best friend being like your sister, she got a slap too. We both decided my parents weren’t going to receive any portion of my settlement.
So seventeen years later and twenty-eight years into our friendship, Kay is still my best friend. The significance of that email, Mr. Andrew Anderson, is Kay’s father-in-law. The rumors were exactly that, rumors. He was happily married with not a daughter older than me, but a son, Sean, two years younger than me and a year older than Kay. They met two months after my termination. We didn’t know the relation until almost a year later, at Sean’s graduation party. I was clever enough in my avoidance, to not see his father again until the wedding. I wasn’t able to laugh at my immaturity yet, so leave it to Kay to read the email at her rehearsal dinner in her best set of cat ears. I was the only one not in hysterics.
But that is just a sliver of our friendship.
©2010 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
My best friend was my soul mate. Odd? Not really. I laughed when people made that claim about their spouses. It just wasn’t true. Ask any person if they tell their spouse everything…and I mean everything. I myself was married. But unlike my best friend, my husband wasn’t there when I was in elementary school. He didn’t experience my first kiss when I played spin-the-bottle at Jerry Cartright’s party when I was twelve. He didn’t try to get my first crush to talk to me by hanging out at his locker after third period everyday for a week, when I was fourteen. And he’s never told me that I look fat. He doesn’t even know what colors make me look fat, nevermind tell me the truth when I try wear them. And he sure the hell wasn’t there to assist me in writing the worst love email of my life. My soul mate, Kay, she’s been there through it all and because of her, yellow and baby blue are sworn out of my wardrobe.
I actually thought my husband’s jealousy over our relationship proved my case even more. Because my soul mate could care less how he felt about her. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t be my best friend. There was no comprehension in the difference in my relationship with Kay and with him. I couldn’t marry her. I couldn’t start a family with her. The whole live together thing had never happened. And I prefer to sleep with men, not women. She can’t be him and he can’t be her.
But now since my life partner and BFF learned they both loved me, things were backfiring on me. They liked each other. Meaning, they had each other’s cell and work numbers. And get this, my BFF took his side sometimes. For the first time in our lifetime of friendship she was telling me I was wrong. As jealous as my stupid husband got, he didn’t realize that my BFF had been the glue in our relationship at times. She was a wonderful mediator and had the peace of my soul in her best interest. So in my six years of marriage and my lifetime friendship, I was able to comfortably co-exist with my two favorite people. My life was happy and it was all mine.
©2011 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
My best friend, Rebecca. I loved that woman. She was the only person that could complete my sentences, go to the store a month after me and buy the same exact dress and not know I already have it, and most of all she knew my heart and protected it better than I did at times. I couldn’t think of the past 28 years being any different. She was the love of my life, the only person outside my family, that had known me almost my whole life and still wanted to be my friend.
The history that Becky and I shared was something that my husband couldn’t seem to get passed. Well maybe not just my husband, but Becky’s husband too. I will say at the very least Becky’s husband reached out and became my friend. So while he hated the fact that I knew everything about his life, he also understood that I wasn’t going anywhere and my advice didn’t always work in my friend’s favor.
I guess the problem I had was that my husband really didn’t do any outreach to Becky. He felt the same way her husband felt about our relationship, but I’m not sure that he could get passed his jealousy to reach out to my friend. One of the pacts Becky and I made in our childhood was that boys stink. As we got approached our teens, there was a boy that liked both of us. He got us to stop calling each other for a whole three days. From that point on, we promised no boy was more important than our friendship. Those three days will be held as the longest we’ve gone without speaking to each other.
The other promise we swore to each other was to never keep a secret. I think we both tried and failed at achieving any sort of promise to ourselves or others. Most people who told us not to tell anyone, would always receive my honesty that I would most likely tell Becky. Some shared, some didn’t, but at least they knew not even their deepest darkest secret would make me break my promise to my BFF.
Now I sat in my bedroom wondering how I had gone a week and at least six phone conversations without sharing the news of what my doctor told me three days ago. This was one time in their lives that my husband and Becky had reversed roles in my life. My husband has been there for me the past month as I’ve gone through all these tests. And now I think he was understanding why he didn’t want to be my best friend. It was a huge responsibility. He continued to ask me if I told Becky yet. I told him I wanted to wait for the results. And now, three days ago-the results, and I still hadn’t told her. How could I tell her I have cancer?
©2011 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
Lunch with my BFF. Yay! It had been almost a week since I’d seen Kay. I think she is pregnant. She had slipped up in a few conversations over the past couple of months with mention of doctors’ appointments. A few years ago she had a miscarriage, so I respected if she wanted to keep this one little secret under wraps until she felt comfortable telling me. They took about a year off after that, but I knew they’d been trying ever since. I prayed for them all the time. But like she said last night on the phone, she had some news for me. Yay! Finally.
Lunch with Becky. I’d been rehearsing every moment, since I invited her out to the restaurant around the corner from her job. Knowing her, she probably thinks I’m pregnant. I knew I’d slipped up about some of the doctors’ appointments. But I knew her, she was not going to say anything because of my miscarriage. Through all of my rehearsals, I’d found there was no happy positive way to tell your lifelong friend you have cancer. I mean, I hadn’t even accepted it yet, but I needed my BFF to help me. If I didn’t tell her now, I wouldn’t make it through this week.
Look at my girl. She looked so beautiful, a little tired maybe, but beautiful nonetheless. And she was not showing one bit. I always knew she would be one of those skinny pregnant woman. I hated her so much. I’d probably gain all the sympathy weight why she’d lose weight. This was what being best friends was all about, I thought as I sat down at the table and sipped on my ginger ale with no ice and lime wedge that she had ordered me. She knew my drink, while my husband always messed it up.
I had to do my best to keep my tears away as I waved her over to the table. Just by looking at her I could tell she is expecting happy baby news. She didn’t even know I was about to drastically change both of our lives. The thing about being best friends was you feel the joys and pains of each other. You also try and spare each other pain. In this case, I was setting my pride aside and clinging to the only person in this world that would be able to share in my pain. In our lifetime together we had promised we would always use “we” instead of “I” if something happened to one of us. Because we both agreed, if it happened to one of us, it happened to both of us.
I took both of her hands in mine and she postured herself for the baby news. Her smile slowly fell as I finally let my tears flow. “Becky, we have cancer.”
©2011 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
I wasn’t sure if I showed my utter devastation, but that’s exactly how I felt. I was absolutely devastated by what Kay just told me. But this was so far from being about me. My feelings didn’t matter. My thoughts didn’t matter. Nothing about me mattered right now. I just had to focus on my friend who was weeping in my arms as we stood in the restaurant’s bathroom.
This is exactly the release I needed. The journey was just beginning, but crying in Becky’s arms made this journey possible. Although the stakes are my life on this one, this moment brought me back to junior high. Jason Fegal, my seventh grade “date” to my first dance. He didn’t know he was there with me. We arrived separately and I had never formally asked him or anything. But someone had heard he liked me and they told Becky.
That’s all we needed. We knew the dance was coming up in a week. Our mothers got involved and we were allowed to buy new dresses. Not full make-up, but we were permitted to wear nail polish and lip gloss. You would have thought we were going to the prom the way our mothers carried on that night with all of the pictures. They dropped us off and as soon as we walked into that dance, we were on Jason patrol. He didn’t show up for another hour.
I remember standing around a corner against a wall with Becky, trying to figure out what she was going to say him. Obviously I couldn’t speak with him. Junior high rules: your best friend is in charge of getting the boys you like to like you. I can’t recall what we came up with for her to say, but I can remember them speaking clear as day and the feeling of wanting to die when she pointed at me. He and I caught eyes and I maturely ran into the hallway. Had I stayed, I would have witnessed Becky pushing him to the ground.
We went to the bathroom and she told me he already had a girlfriend that went to another school. I broke into tears and cried my little heart out in her comforting hug. She called him every name she could think of and I couldn’t understand why she was so upset. I later learned about the push and he didn’t have a girlfriend, but had called me ugly.
Now we stood in that same embrace in a little restaurant bathroom. Becky was calling the doctors and biopsy results everything she could think of. And just like that night at the dance, “Don’t worry Kay, we are going to knock this cancer on its ass.”
©2011 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
“So how did you find out?” I asked Kay as we sat on her couch.
“The routine shit. I went in and had my pap. I thought nothing of it until I got a call to come in. I went into the office and she told me my pap came back abnormal. I asked what that meant? And she gave me some bullshit about ‘it’s really nothing to worry about, we just want to get a blood test.’”
“So she told you not to worry?”
“Yup, all casual. I gave the blood and left. I honestly didn’t think about it. I really didn’t start getting concerned until they called me in again. So I go in and then they start asking me a series of questions about symptoms. The shitty thing about it, I have like almost every possible symptom, but I thought it was just stress from the four different projects I’m working on at work.”
“Well what are they? Do you still have them? Sorry girl. That was stupid. That was so stupid. I don’t know, I just think you know… well you know…”
“Becky, I need you to do me a favor? You and Rick are going to have to get me through this. One of the things you’re going to have to get used to saying is cancer. I need you to be able to say it. I’ve thought about nothing but, for over a month now. And I can’t take you apologizing for everything that you say either. You have never apologized for anything for all of the years we have been friends, please don’t change on me now. It’s me Beck. I only have a month on you on this. And trust me, besides finally knowing that I have cancer, that’s it. Promise me you’ll learn about this with me?”
We were both crying by the time I scooted over and hugged Kay. “I promise Kay. I promise we will learn and go through this together. If I could switch places with you…”
“And you can’t say stupid shit like that. You should never want to have cancer. Shit, I don’t want cancer. So don’t say you would switch places with me. That’s just not the right thing to say. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
“Well now I can’t even apologize,” we broke into laughter for the first time that night. “And may I please point out something to you?” I held Kay’s hand.
“What would that be?”
“You have been dropping the S-bomb all night. You rarely swear, if ever. I’m just pointing that out, since we are talking about not changing.
“I’m angry Becky. I’m really angry. I’ve spent an entire lifetime being good and doing the right thing as much as possible. And for all the right moves, I have cancer. So I’m going to give myself a little treat as I get myself through this, I’m going to swear whenever I feel like it. So on the count of three at the top of your lungs, do it with me, one, two, three…”
“SHIT!” we yelled.
©2011 Mia L. Hazlett
By: Mia L. Hazlett
“Could you please just answer my question? Do you believe in God? Better yet, are you a Christian?” Her avoidance was beginning to irritate me. A simple yes or no is all I needed to hear and we could move on.
“Honestly Mrs. Devins that is a very personal question which is irrelevant to our discussion. I would really like to stay on track about your treatment,” the doctor shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
It amazed me she found my questions personal. Over the past three weeks, we had shared the most intimate conversations about every aspect of not only my medical history, but of every woman in my family. Every private detail about the current state of my body was spelled out in the little labeled manila folder she kept glancing at before she would ask me very “personal” questions.
She just didn’t get it. I needed to be reassured that she didn’t think she was God. I needed her to know that I wasn’t leaving my life in her hands, but I was praying to God to deliver an optimal outcome. God was a huge part of my life and now I was supposed to put Him on the back burner to make sure she felt comfortable. She looked at this as “treatment”, I perceived this “discussion” as my life. My cancer treatment would alter my life forever.
I wasn’t requesting her to go through this treatment with me. I’m not some religious zealot that was going to deny medical treatment and rely completely on prayer. I just needed to know that through however long this treatment was going to take, she would respect my prayers to take precedent over medicine when I needed it to.
The point is, I’m scared. I don’t know the outcome of all of this and neither does she. If it’s God’s will to take me home, I have to accept it somehow. These are the conversations I’ve been having with Him since I was diagnosed. Anger creeps in every now and again, but for the most part, I must remain faithful that He is in control. So as irrelevant as she may find my simple question, she needs to understand she’s not in control. She can squirm and shift all she wants in that chair, but I’m not leaving here without a yes or no.
©2013 Mia L. Hazlett