If you’re going to lose your shit, it should be in a Saltgrass Steakhouse. The seats are fake leather and tears just roll right off. The bathroom has lots of paper towels and they are usually located near the bar, where oftentimes there are already people crying anyway. They also have hooks on the door to hang your purse, in case you’re hit with a sudden wave of self-respect and decide it best to move into a stall.
My doctor is amazing. She’s incredibly smart. She’s actually the leading expert in the world for my sort of cancer and today she saw something. She held my hands because she knows I’m a basket case and told me this was par for the course. 30-40% of the time there is a local reoccurrence.
We’re going to do some more chemo. If the chemo doesn’t work we’ll do another surgery.
She still wants me to have another baby. Maybe, just put it off a bit.
If I said I wasn’t scared I’d be lying, but I’m only scared for her. In the 32 hours since I’ve last seen my daughter, since I’ve held her, I’ve talked to her 5 times. I’ve thought about her 5000.
Nothing is scarier to me than the pain she’ll feel if I miss the moments moms are supposed to be there for. A tumor has nothing on disappointing her.
I wash my hands and grab my purse. I walk back to the man waiting for me at a table set for two. We’re almost the only ones in here. Nobody eats lunch at 10:45, In fact I’m not even hungry — I just needed to be around him for a little longer before my flight.
I never really look at him. I never really look at the people I’ve known forever. Once I know someone, really know them, their face becomes irrelevant. They are always fuzzed over by a cloud of positive thoughts. I won’t notice a new haircut, a nose job, or even a pregnancy, unless I see it in a picture. Or somebody hands me a baby.
His hair is all salt now. The only pepper, fresh ground and sitting on the table. His glasses are down, so he can read off his phone. His nose hooks at the end just slightly, like mine, and like his mother’s before him. A permanent crease he just woke up with one morning, runs up the side of his face.
He’s been with me from the beginning and even though it scares me, he hopes he’ll be gone way before my end.
He is my safe place in the way only dads can be, and I love him entirely and completely for it.
I sit, and before he can hide it with a smile, I see the look in his eyes. He’s scared. He’s worried. He would do anything to make this not be real.
And I recognize that look. From all the nights alone in the bathroom sitting in front of the mirror. From all the times I’ve seen it in my own eyes when I think about my daughter.
And all at once, I’m overwhelmed by the love sitting across from me. A love I didn’t understand until I knew it myself.
If you’re going to lose your shit, it should be in a Saltgrass Steakhouse. With someone who loves you more than you ever, ever knew.Liza Dora is an author, illustrator, teacher, mother, wife, blogger, and the owner of the eponymous Liza Dora Books. Her writing has been in publications around the world and her books have been featured in both media and print. She’s sold books in over ten different countries and her titles have been both Amazon Hot New Releases and Amazon Bestsellers in their respective categories.