Relationships

Fork Cancer

My husband celebrated his latest prognosis by buying us new silverware

So, what do you do when your doctor tells you that your MRI looks great? No change in the cancer, which is still there, growing slowly.

Do you:

a) take a nice long drive along the coast and have a meal looking out at the ocean?

b) take a nice long drive along the city streets and have a meal and people-watch?

c) buy new silverware and have a meal at home?

Well, if you're my husband Rick, no amount of begging and pleading can change your mind. You choose C and that's all there is to it.

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What I'd like to know is where was this husband when we got married, so many years ago? Why didn't he care about a wedding registry then?

Back in the day, Rick didn't know a salad fork from one used to eat tiramisu. Our mismatched dishes were just fine with him. He just didn't care what we ate off of—as long as we were eating.

That man would rush off to work in the morning, leaving me to make lunches, get the kids to school and myself to work. When the school bell rang at 3, I was there to get the kids and prepare dinner.

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The crock pot became my friend. That husband didn't notice what cut of beef I had used for the stew, what seasoning I had added to make it taste oh so savory or which one caused all that gas!

But things change. These days, Rick does all the cooking and a majority of the cleaning.

And for the past few months, he's been complaining that our salad forks don't stab the tomatoes with enough "umph." Our knives aren't thick enough to hold. The soup spoons don't scoop properly.

Every time he empties the dishwasher (yes, he does that now, too), he grumbles. But I think it goes deeper. Much deeper. Involving another C word: control.

He has no control over those malignant cells growing inside his brain. Although he seems to do quite nicely when it comes to yelling at me for my brain's shortcomings.

When I can't find my keys for the third time in two days, Rick goes ballistic. When I leave the dryer open because my cellphone rings as I scoop up an armful of warm clothes, he carries on for hours. And don't get me started on his behavior when I forget to replace the empty toilet paper roll.

But these are small things, which—when added up—don't amount to anything worth worrying about.

And I know he worries about people staring at him when he's in public. To me, he's just another balding, middle-aged guy. Not many people can see his scar and unless he brings it up, no one knows that the top of his head is soft as a baby's.

So, yeah, I'm up for a day at the beach. And I love to people-watch. But I get the most enjoyment out of watching my husband eat.

Because I know what he's doing. With each jab into a tomato. Each cut of steak. Every puncture into whatever is piled on his plate, he's shouting: "Fuck you! Fuck you, cancer!"

   
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