A very good friend of 38 years told me recently that he has a very large tumor and it is stage 3, probably lymphoma, and it is entangled in the blood vessels of his stomach, liver, and spleen. Due to this, it is most likely not operational. They are putting a port in this week to allow chemo treatments to begin.
I met him when we were 7 and in 2nd grade. He made me laugh. Quite a lot. I beat him up once because he picked on a friend of mine that was smaller than him and it made me angry. Then when we were in senior year of high school we began dating. He proposed to me. I accepted.
Later on he decided he wasn't ready to be engaged, nor married, and so it didn't happen for us. However, we remained close friends all this time. I adore him. He is still funny, very loyal, and just a good all around kind of guy.
I haven't handled it well, this news. I am angry and sad and just overwhelmed. All the feelings I had when my sister called me in 2010 with her news came rushing back. The feelings I had in 2011 when she passed away. The feelings from last week when the year anniversary of losing her came up. I know this friend much more so than I did my sister. I talked about that last week, how she and I did not grow up knowing one another.
I know this man. I know his parents, his grandparents. What makes him angry, what makes him smile, what makes him laugh. How he loves motorcycles and old cars, tearing them apart, putting them back together. How his beard is red, but when he still had hair it was not.
Memories abound and I cannot quiet them. They run amok in my head like a bunch of toddlers hyped up on sugar. Twirling and dancing their way across my mind. The time he sent me a pair of Levi jeans with the holes patched up with red fabric hearts when I was in San Antonio for the Air Force and incredibly homesick. Knowing he had cut out those hearts and sewn them onto my jeans himself. The cake he made me from scratch for my 18th birthday when not one family member remembered it at all. How I walked across the stage at graduation in a cap & gown because he insisted it was the right thing to do, when all I wanted was to sit in the audience and get my diploma afterward because no family were coming to watch me.
The nights under the stars, sitting on a blanket in various state parks, talking about the future, what we both hoped for in our lives. The week at the lake up in the mountains. Cruising the ave in his father's huge silver cadillac or his father's enormous motorcycle.
Yes, I am angry. So very, very angry. I am not ready to say goodbye to yet another person I love.