'i have cancer.' 

the words tossed out so plainly. so practised sounding. the thoughts
rebounding in my mind knew it was simply answered. yet i heard a
question. then i heard an introduction. and at the end i swear i
heard a conclusion.

air liquified.

so i held my breath. my heart now shaded with thoughts of death. and
i sadly realized that he was asking nothing of me, telling nothing to me,
completing nothing for me. he's just saying.

fingers clenched.

there were things to say. and i wanted more time for another
chance at this day. he held his sheets near his face. mapping out
the worst hand he's ever been dealt.

finding pause.

i gripped the bed. dark thoughts were in my head. like skipping stones
on a beach. there were several still in my hand. their cool flatness
begged my expectations to meet his reality. stones don't float.

standing still.

i held his gaze a moment longer. then moved to touch his
shoulder. i leaned forward and crouched down at his knee. i needed to
look up at him. look up to him and he look down to me. 

moments passed.

he held his head and rubbed his eyes. and I realized that "how ya doin'?"
wasn't so wise. well intended maybe but missing the point. i was
fighting to focus and focus was fighting back. 

reality check.

this was not a visit. not the moment i imagined was it? because
everything about this felt like a warning to expectation and
obligation. everything from now will be 11:08 AM.

and again.

'i have cancer.' he says once more. I sense someone is standing behind
me at the door. his acceptance speech now delivered. he shivered.
and folded himself into my moms arms.