I laid there alone, curled up and broken waiting for the pain to end. A nurse came to offer me food, which I declined. I only wanted her to close the blinds and leave me in the darkness.
I broke him.
The thought was too, much to bear and it only deepened my sorrow, yet it was all I could think about. I knew I made the right choice for myself and for him. I would hate myself for denying him the simple things, to make him worry himself to death over me. I was okay being alone, I had friends that I trusted, but I couldn't deny that he gave me more. That was the only way to describe him, more. He just made everything better in bizarre ways. Forcing him out was like telling the moon and stars to stop shining.
There is a timid knock on the door, I turn away from the darkness for a moment to see Lena in the illuminated doorway. Her face resembles pity in every way possible. I was silly to think Chris would have just left, she probably had a talk with him already. I turn away from her again.
"I want to be alone," I say into the darkness.
"I know, but I didn't drive home, shower and pack all this food just for you to wake up and decide you wanted to be alone," she walked in, turning on the lights and opening the blinds again.
The light burned my eyes, so I hide my face under my hands. I heard the spare chair squeak closer to me.
"Hey," she coos, pulling me from hiding.
I look up at her, feeling ashamed.
"Don't ever scare me like that again, okay?"
"I will do my best," I begin to cry. She pulls me into her embrace.
I think the reality has set in. In one day I have been slapped in the face by my own mortality and been forced to break away from what I love most in this world. The pain is both physical and emotional, I am overwhelmed by all of this.
"I know you think you are saving him from something, but you are killing the man," Lena doesn't need to say his name, I know to whom she is referring.
"You didn't hear him," I sniffle.
"What could that boy have possibly said? He couldn't form a decent insult if his life depended on it."
"He said he would stay and work through this with me," I begin.
"What is horrible about that?"
"He said we could go back to being normal," Lena scrunched her face, understanding why I may have been offended.
"You couldn't have expected him to be thinking clearly. I am sure that wasn't what her meant." I am confused as to why she is so keen on defending him.
"He wants kids Lena, and that can't happen. At least not unless he wants to adopt or surrogate or whatever they have nowadays. I will always be less than another woman because I can't give him all the things he wants. I am just taking things from him," suddenly, the thought of him with another woman jabs my heart open.
"You will never be less to him, just as you will never be less to me. You two will probably argue and fight but at the end of the day he is never going to love anyone the way he loves you," as kinds as her words are I find no reassurance, "and you know deep down you will never love anyone the way you love him."
I look to the floor, I have nothing to say because I know she is right. I was not about to tell her that and boost her ego.
"Anyway, enough about boys! We are going to eat and watch TV and talk to the doctor about how to fix you, so we never have to deal with this again," she smiles, unpacking her bag of goodies.
"I'm not broken," I glare.
"I know, it was really hard for me to just sit here and do nothing. This is the last time, you hear me, you are going to get better as soon as possible because I just can't…"
I take her hand in mine, "I know, I love you Lena. Now, I think it's only fair that I let you pick the entertainment."
I hand her the remote, which she gladly takes and tunes into a reality show.
Briefly, while eating fruits and crackers with cheese, I forget where I am, until Dr. Smithson knocks on the door. I know he promised he would be back and I know there are things we must talk about, but I am not ready to face everything.
He takes a seat, adjusting his tie as he flips through my chart. I can feel my smile fading.
"What is it," I inquire, timidly, breaking the silence.
"I have good news and bad news, which would you like to hear first?"
Do I want to be broken and possibly have my spirits lifted, or do I want to have hope and find out it was false a second later?
"You choose," I admit my own indecisiveness.
"I am here to schedule you for an oophorectomy. The cancer has become too aggressive and we cannot risk the potential spreading to other organs. Part of the reason you were admitted was due to the mass draining your body of the nutrients it needs. I know you wanted to avoid damaging your ability to have children further, but chemotherapy will be a lot worse on your body than one simple surgery. This is the best way at this point," he is so blunt, factual. I realize he does this every day, but how can he become so accustom to delivering bad news.
I sit there quietly for a moment. I should be happy that there is an end in sight, but the cost is high. I had always said I could not have children because the chances were so small, but now the chance had been reduced to none. I feel Lena take my hand and in that moment all I want is Chris. I turned him away because I was afraid to disappoint him, but really, I think I was disappointed and frustrated with myself. We would still have a lot to discuss, logistically and emotionally, but I don't think he would leave. After what I did to him, I didn't have any right to ask him to come back and comfort me.
"Fiona?" Dr. Smithson asks.
I take a deep breath, "What part of all of that was the good news?"
He cracks a small smile, "We never have to see each other again after the surgery."
I force a chuckle, "That is some good news." My smile quickly fades.
"I know this isn't what you wanted, but it is for the best. Your health will only suffer with your pride," he says, I can only nod in acknowledgement. He isn't wrong about me, no matter how much I wish he was.
"I need to think about this, process it. Can I schedule in the morning?" my grip on Lena's hand tightens as all the emotions begin to pour out of me.
"Of course, I will be back one more time tonight if you have any questions," Dr. Smithson reassuring grips my shoulder before walking out.
I am unsure what I feel, I think I feel everything. I am happy that the end of this journey is near, but I am saddened knowing what I will lose. I am confused as to what I ever did to deserve this. I feel everything, and I am unsure how to root through all these emotions on my own. I need him. Chris could always talk me through things slowly, no matter how large or small.
"Hun?" Lena asking, stroking my hand, pulling me from the dark depths of my inner thoughts.
I turn, looking to her for a moment before my heart is torn open by the flood within me. I look down at the white and blue speckled sheets as I begin to stain them with my tears.
"Hey, I'm here. Tell me what you need," she says, embracing me.
What do I need? I knew what I needed, what I wanted more than anything at this moment. After everything I had done, everything I had said, what right did I have to beg for his forgiveness? It was not to say I need Chris more than I ever needed Lena, but I needed them for different reasons. Lena could not give me the safety Chris could, and Chris couldn't offer the same comfort as Lena. I needed both, one to ease my mind and the other to console my heart.
I sniffled into her shoulder, preparing myself to say what I desired aloud, "I need him."
She looked at me with a smile, as if she knew what I needed all along. She was just waiting for me to realize it for myself.