Cafe de Desiree

June 24, 2013

Alone Time with an old friend

Filed under: Blogging,life — desi83 @ 2:04 am
Tags: , ,

A certain sadness overtook me like getting caught in the undertow of a great ocean wave without any apparent warning or cause. It caught my breath for a moment, so I breathed in deeply and sighed slowly and audibly with my eyes closed. A song kept playing in my head that I hadn’t heard in a long time, so I searched for it and played in on my phone. I remember listening to the radio for hours as a pre-teen waiting for a song like that to finally come on the radio so that I could record it on a cassette. Now, like magic, the song is mine in a matter of seconds. I suppose I do miss the experience of anticipation and discovering new songs that played on the station while I waited. Still, it is nice to hear this song outside of my own head. I’m in between that place of wanting to reach out to someone and wanting to recoil from the outside world and read about the outside world from the safety of my couch. It’s a strange feeling, wanting someone to hold you without speaking or taking the affection further than merely just that-a warm and lasting embrace without ulterior motives. I settle for my little dog that likes to curl up in the bend of my knees. I read baby news and wedding news, I look at vacation photos, and I shake my head (smh) at silly drama that people feel the need to publicize. For a few minutes, I live vicariously through these people whom I knew long ago some way or another. I stupidly type in his name in the search bar, and the sadness catches my breath yet again as I gaze at the picture of him with his new love. Then, it all feels artificial and wrong, so I turn off the computer and pick up a book. I love the feel of the pages between my fingers and the smell of the print and dust. It feels real, tangible, like a memory that will never fade. The phone rings, and I silence it; it’s a friend of mine. A text comes through inviting me to some event nearby. Yet in this moment, I prefer the company of an old friend who is always waiting for me on the shelf without judgement or impatience with me for leaving her there for so long. I lose myself in her words, and she overtakes my thoughts and emotions for the next hour.


June 14, 2013

I am Not a Tree

Filed under: angst,life — desi83 @ 5:29 pm

I meet one of my co-workers and the opening manager in the parking lot at 6am. The three of us sleepily drag ourselves into the building with heavy eyes and a lagging pace. “Good morning. Are y’all awake yet?” Anne, the manager, asks with a smile. “Not really, I think I am sick,” Joanne answers. Joanne is an older, tired looking woman. She has the look of a woman who has worked too many long hours and put up with too many lousy men. I coughed, and Anne gave me a stern look. I laughed, “I’m good, just allergies, you know. I’m ready to work!” I said with a big grin. I hate this job, I thought. “What the hell do you mean that I’m not scheduled?” Joanne croaked. Anne looked at the schedule. “Oh, you are not scheduled today, but you were a no-call no-show yesterday,” Anne said mechanically. “What the hell?” Joanne asked. “You’re going to have to be written up for that,” Anne replied. “No one called me yesterday, and you all know that I have always been on time and never miss work,” Joanne explained. “Well, you just have to pay attention to your schedule,” Anne replied without emotion. I walked to the back and began my project. “Oh, before you start working, I need the floor mopped here in the hallway,” Anne directed me. “Joanne has the mop right now,” I replied. “There isn’t another one?” Anne asked. “No,” I answered, wondering how she didn’t know her own store. “Well, go get it from her then,” she replied. I walked into the bathroom and noticed that the trash was over flowing and the toilets were gross. “Ugh, the bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in days,” I complained. “Oh, well go ahead and do those, then,” Anne suggested. Ugh, my stupid mouth. I had four hours to complete a project that really needed eight to be done correctly. Already an hour was stolen from me because Anne liked to use me to show off her power. I finally began my project when I was interrupted by a kind but obnoxious voice. “Hi, ma’am, how are you today?” a nicely dressed lady greeted me. I was okay until you interrupted me, I thought. “Hi, what can I do for you?” I asked. I just knew this would be time consuming. “I would like that patio furniture set right there. Do you have all of the pieces somewhere in the back?” she asked. “I believe this is all that we have out here. We just sold the four chairs that go with it. I have only been here for a week, though,” I feebly replied. “Oh, I’m sorry, hon,” she sympathized still staring at me with anticipation.  I rolled my eyes when I turned away from her to go ask my manager.

The next morning, I was scheduled to work at 4 am. I went to my friends’ house the night prior and told them I couldn’t stay because I had to wake up at 3 am the next morning to do manual labor and mental labor; I was tasked with re-merchandising half of the store. “You have a college degree. Fuck that job,” Kim said bluntly. I shrugged. “You’re right. Fuck that job. I will never be a retail slave again. I have second interview at the VA this week, anyway,” I conceded. I didn’t go to work the next morning. This was difficult morally, because I believe in ethics and hard work. However, I’m being used to do management type work for minimum wage pay because I am highly over qualified; I have a college degree and five years of retail management experience, and I temporarily had to work a part time “cashier” job that turned into something more complicated . Sometimes you have to suffer temporarily, but I just can’t do it anymore.

I don’t want to be Joanne. I don’t want to be in a dead end job when I’m too old to turn it all around. I started working at the VA, and I earned more education credits so that I could return to teaching. If you don’t like your current situation, change it. You are not a tree, so if you don’t like where you are, MOVE.

June 13, 2013

Only in Dreams…first chapter unrevised

Filed under: dreams,fiction,story — desi83 @ 7:47 am

Only in Dreams
Chapter One
I am walking down this dark trail in the middle of the forest, and I can’t hardly see what is in front of me. Somehow, though, I know exactly how to navigate out of here. The wind howls, and the trees begin to sway. I can smell the rain. I start running down the trail, somehow perfectly dodging all of the obstacles without tripping. I hear my name in the wind, and I know that voice. It’s him. “Where are you? I can’t see anything, please keep calling for me!” I try to yell, but it comes out as a whisper. I keep running, hoping that I will find him at the trail-head. The wind blows harder, and it starts to rain. I run as fast as I can, jumping over rocks, roots, logs, and a couple of small creek beds. I am soaked from head to toe, and my whole body is trembling from the bitter cold. Why don’t I have a flashlight or a rain jacket, or anything for that matter? Because I came here to find him. Nothing else matters. I hear his voice again calling my name. I can feel my feet getting blistered and battered. “Please, wait for me, love, I am coming to you! Please!” I yell, but again it is a mere whisper. The rain is coming down harder, and the thunder begins to sound. Finally, I reach the trail-head, and I can see my love from across the street. “I can’t see your face? Why can’t I ever see your face?” I lament. I know it is him, because I can feel his presence. I can sense our connection whenever he is near. I can see his silhouette in the darkness by the light of the moon. He is magnificent. He is tall, strong, and gallant. He sits proudly on his tall, muscular black horse. He calls for me again, and I begin to run toward him. “Tiffany, wake up!” my mom yells. “What are you doing here?” I ask, angry that she stopped me from finally seeing him. “You have that appointment, and I told you I’d take you,” she says.

I’ve always felt loneliness more strongly when I’m sitting against a man and my hand is in his with our fingers intertwined, because every man that I’ve been with has been the wrong man. Loneliness is so much worse in those moments than when I am alone. Because when I am alone with my thoughts, memories of what has yet to happen, and the knowing that I am free to find him, I am not really alone. I am on my way. Yet because of my impatience and doubt, I have forced myself to be with the wrong people repeatedly, and as a result I have broken hearts and made enemies that never needed to be. I see people around me all of the time who have found this magic, and I don’t think they had to go through what I have. They just met their one, and now they’re free to live without loneliness. So you may be asking, how do you know they met their one? Maybe those kisses and embraces are only a front. Behind the curtain, they may be filled with misery and loneliness. You are right, some of them are. I can see that, though. I can see the love or lack thereof between them. I don’t have any sort of gift or ability except that I pay attention. Okay, that is not a complete truth. There is something strange about me that separates my perception from everyone else’s. It’s something that makes me pay attention. It’s my dreams, and they’ve become more vivid and prophetic since the incident happened that gave me a new appreciation of life. I don’t know that appreciation is the right word, actually, more like looking through a new pair of eyes…not rose colored glasses but a different color nonetheless.

Let me take you to the park two weeks ago. I was walking my dog so that she could get rid of some pent up energy. She’s a bit of a wild beast if I don’t walk her every day, a friendly and overly exuberant beast. I needed the fresh air, and I needed to people-watch. It has become a hobby over the years. I watch people around me and guess their stories. Whether I am right or wrong, it is a fun way to pass the time. I have to admit that this began because I was looking for someone in particular. I am still doing that, but I try not to focus on it too much anymore. We’ll get to that later. I see a little girl playing with a small terrier, a rather ratty but playful looking dog. A pretty young woman approaches her with a juice box held in her long thin fingers that are manicured to perfection. She has long, flowing auburn hair that looks quite similar to the little girl’s. So, I am assuming she is the mom. A tall handsome man with mesmerizing green eyes wraps his arms around the auburn-haired woman, and she smiles that smile that tells you their whole life story. It’s all in the eyes, I assure you. Sure, her 1,000 watt smile could make anyone fall for her, but that smile is not just of physical beauty. That smile is born from the truest love and happiness that anyone can ever experience. The little girl and the man had that same smile.

A couple holding hands about three feet apart walked past Molly and me. They sat on a park bench several feet ahead, and I watched them. They gave off this vibe of uneasiness and misery. I couldn’t hear them talk, but I could see their mannerisms and the looks on their faces. The man, a short chubby man with a thick mustache but no hair atop his head wearing dress pants and a white starched button down, had the face of desperation. He had big brown, pleading eyes. His smile was warm, but it was sad. The girl was tall and slender, almost too skinny. She had a gaunt face and an emptiness in her pale blue eyes. She didn’t pretend to smile; she was stone-faced. I had my Ipod on shuffle, and a sad song began to play. They sat holding hands but still sitting apart. She was going to break his heart soon, and he was just sitting idly by waiting for it to happen but hoping desperately that it wouldn’t. Because he was afraid that he may never find love, and this was the closest that he had found. She had passed that point, and she was just holding on until she could find the words to tell him that she gave up on him. She wasn’t willing to settle for less than true love, and he was too blind to see that he didn’t have to either.

Molly and I moved on because the skin on my arm broke and began to bleed a little bit from the force of her leash. She was impatiently tugging on it because she doesn’t understand why we ever stop. We must keep walking, we’re on a mission to walk as much as possible, she says. I laugh even though my arm is in pain, and we walk on. A lovely man with dark brown eyes and broad shoulders walks toward us, and I catch my breath for a moment as our eyes meet. He walks past us and smiles, but he continues on his way. Could that be him? How would I know? I hope beyond all hope that I will just know. We keep walking, and more than ever I am ready to go home. I concentrate on the sad music playing into my ears, and I try not to look at anyone else in the eyes. I have had enough today. We do this a couple of times a week, and it always ends the same. It doesn’t always happen the same way. Sometimes there isn’t anyone interesting to me at the park, so I just listen to the music and enjoy my time with Molly. Sometimes I don’t listen to the music at all, I just listen to God. As in, I listen to the birds, the frogs, the current in the river nearby, and sometimes the crickets if it is near dark.

The park isn’t the only place where I come to watch. Also, I go to the trails a couple of hours from here that are more deserted but more adventurous. There aren’t a lot of people on those trails, but there are a few, and I feel like we share a connection by knowing about this place and enjoying it when so few do. I like to have lunch on the cliff above the waterfall, and I look down in complete awe at the beauty and danger of it all. It is the place where I come for peace when life is too much. Because it is hard to go on with nothing but visions of where I am supposed to be, but there is no answer as to how I am supposed to get there. I futilely imagine that the answer will be found in this mostly untouched place with the trees, the creeks, the mountains, the flowers and nettles. I haven’t found it yet, but in the night I get closer and closer. I see him, and I see where I’m supposed to be.

I go to the bookstore when I don’t want to think too much. Or rather I want to think a lot about other people’s stories. I buy whatever frou-frou coffee I am in the mood for, and I choose a book that will take me away for a spell. I read the entire Hobbit one summer. I couldn’t put it down. I guess I could relate to some extent because Bilbo was on a journey that he wasn’t quite sure about and didn’t think he was capable of the greatness that he displayed during this journey. He had settled for a simple life not knowing that he was meant for so much more. I knew now that I was meant for something better than a simple life, I just had to figure out where to find it and how to get it. I will admit that I do watch even above the pages in my book. I feel like it is the only way to find him.

For the longest time, I buried my head in the life that I had settled for. I was too weak and impatient to watch or to pursue what I knew I was meant to do. I took a job five years ago as a waitress, and I worked my way up to manager. I was good at my job, and I made a nice living. The restaurant, Malificent’s, was an upscale steak restaurant in the city. Yes, it is named after the evil queen in Sleeping Beauty. The owner was an avid reader of fairy tales and wanted a powerful, dark name for her restaurant because that would be just the thing to make it trendy. She was right. I was in school with plans to continue on to medical school, but funds ran low and I couldn’t get along with my parents enough to move back in with them. So, I took a job at Malificent’s and became their best server. My customers asked for me by name, and they tipped no less than 20 percent. Occasionally I would have customers who couldn’t actually afford to eat there, but I didn’t treat them any different because of their small tips. I appreciated everyone who walked in because they were paying my way through college. Lucy, the manager, began taking an interest in me. She noticed how informed I was of the food menu, the wine, the customers and their habits (when they most frequented, what types of food and wine they preferred, how they felt about the temperature and overall atmosphere of the place, etc.). I also noticed where she was wasting money by having too much food storage and wasting food that could be donated to the local homeless shelter and written off her taxes as charity. The wine was being wasted as well, so I suggested having special pricing on any wine that was near expiration. Because once a bottle was open, it had about four days left before it turned. She was impressed with my perception and observations, so when there was an opening for assistant manager, she hired me.

The semester of my sophomore year was approaching, but I wasn’t sure how I’d juggle school and being an assistant restaurant manager. So, I took a light load. However, the position was more demanding on my time that I’d imagined. I could no longer tell them I couldn’t come in because of school. I was practically on call all the time. So, my grades slipped, and I decided not to sign up for the next semester. I was making enough money to upgrade to a better apartment and buy a new car. The following year, the manager quit to go to another restaurant. He and Lucy had a bitter argument in front of all the kitchen and wait staff, and I was immediately promoted. “I know you are loyal, Tiffany. You won’t let me down,” she said assuredly. I had that moment of doubt, but I smiled and said, “Lucy, you know it.” I knew it at the time but thought I could accept it. I had settled. Our customer count and sales went up, our budget became tighter and I created less waste as a manager. We became the top steak restaurant in Atlanta. I was proud and felt that I was doing something great with my life, but the hole in my heart grew. Then, I met Chris. I didn’t know it then, but he was going to widen that hole in my heart even further. He became our chef shortly after my promotion because Lucy stole him from another popular steakhouse in downtown. She made him a better offer than they could afford to make, and it paid off for us. This man was truly a food artist. He created new, creative recipes that looked as good as they tasted. I almost didn’t want to eat it because it looked like a work of art on a plate. Of course, the delicious aroma made me devour it. It was our shared love of food and creativity that bonded us. We stayed up late after hours making food together and eating it with whatever wine he thought paired well with the food. It was strange, this connection that I had with him. I felt like I was having an affair with him, betraying my true love. Yet, I found myself very attracted to him and couldn’t stop it. One night after too many glasses of wine and chocolate fondue, it happened. He dipped his finger in the melted triple chocolate dip, and I slowly licked it off his finger. Our eyes met, and a fire began to burn between us. He led me to the office to the little cot that Lucy had put in there just for him in case he got tired during his late nights.

We continued this secret love affair with food and each other’s bodies for several months after that night. Our eyes met when I came into the kitchen to check on supplies and I could see the primal hunger in his. I would smile slyly and he would laugh to himself. The other staff members occasionally noticed the spark between us and would give each other knowing looks. We didn’t touch each other or speak in an unprofessional manner to each other. It was all business. It was all about the food, nothing more. Then sometimes I would feel him creep behind me when I was in the freezer checking inventory. He would put his arms around my waist, and I just giggled. He would turn me around, and we would kiss and touch each other until we realized it had been too long and people might be wondering. Then he started saying things to annoy me just to get a rise out of me. We would have playful arguments in front of the rest of the staff that started them questioning. At night, I would come in to do the books, and he stayed to “practice with some new recipes”. One particular night after we had drank too much wine and ate fois gras with asparagus and potato casserole, we did as we usually did in the beginning. We gave into our instincts after the wine took away all inhibitions and the food brought out our intense desire, and we tore each other’s clothes off while grabbing furiously at each other. He led me to the office and laid me down on the cot.He kissed my mouth, intertwning his tongue with mine followed by roughly kissing my neck to my shoulders to my chest.

As we were going at it like animals, I felt this surge of joy and contentment go through my body. We locked eyes and smiled, and I knew that we were progressing from having an animalistic relationship to an actual relationship with expectations and a status that we could actually share with everyone. It wasn’t what I had wanted at the beginning, but at that point in time, it was what I thought I wanted. I felt it was exactly what I needed in that moment. We laid together, panting and laughing a bit from the satisfaction. He grabbed my hand and held it, which he had never done before. I smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “Hey, you,” he said. “Hey, you,” I replied. We laughed again. “I guess you’re going to be telling people there is something going on now, aren’t you?” he asked. “Is there?” I asked flirtatiously. “I guess there is a little something going on here. There has definitely been some pretty awesome sex. And I guess you’re alright to hang out with, too. I mean, you do appreciate my food,” he said coyly. “I don’t know who wouldn’t appreciate your food,” I admitted. “Oh, well, plenty of people like my steaks, especially the fillet and the ribeye, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t care for eating organs, which is kind of my specialty…beef liver, fois gras, beef kidneys, lamb kidneys,” he pointed out. “I never cared for eating animal’s innards until I met you,” I said. He kissed me. “Well, I guess you can tell people that we are going steady or whatever it is that you girls call it these days,” he said coyly. “How do you know I want to go steady with you?” I asked. “Because you won’t get better fois gras or sex from anyone else. I guarantee it; I am a celebrated chef,” he bragged. “You got me there,” I said. I was ecstatic until we fell asleep and I dreamed of him, the man without a face or name. I felt like I had betrayed him.

In the mirror, I saw a princess on her wedding day. That princess was me. The ivory dress was draped over me with its tiny pearls and intricate lacing with a low bodice that left room for the diamond necklace that somehow seemed to have great meaning for me. My golden brown hair was all in curls and partially held together by an antique hair pin, the one my grandmother had given to me for that fateful day. My eyes were painted with glitter and my lips were rosy pink. I was beaming. Then I felt a sharp pain in my side, and I bent down to clutch it. Something was very wrong, but I straightened up and took a deep breath. I smiled and held the moment for a little while longer. “Tiffany, he’s waiting for you,” my mother said, “you are my beautiful princess, and I’m so happy that you found your true love.”
We embraced for a moment, and she walked me out of the dressing room. I prepared with my bridesmaids, girls I don’t even recognize besides my best friend. My dad suddenly appeared by my side and kissed me on the cheek. I began to walk down the aisle in this huge, classically beautiful church that was decorated with magnolias. I looked up and saw him, my prince. His face was shadowed, but I knew it was him. I saw his blond hair and strong figure dressed in a black tuxedo with a magnolia tied to his lapel. I couldn’t see it, but I knew he was smiling at me. I longed to finally meet him, to finally see his eyes. I could feel his warmth radiating from where he was standing. It was a unique kind of warmth that I had never felt before. I made my ascent to him, and just as I was about to join his hand in mine, the pain returned. It was so excruciating that I could no longer stand up. “I’m sorry,” I muttered as I fell to the floor.
I woke up in a cold sweat, and I was being tortured from the inside out by some horrible evil. I screamed in pain, and he put his arm around me. “Are you okay? What’s going on?” Chris asked. “I don’t know. I need to go to the hospital. I am in pain, and I don’t know why. Please take me,” I asked through clenched teeth. “Okay, babe, let me just get some clothes on,” he said as he scrambled for his pants. I knew that something was very wrong. I slowly arose to put on my clothes while still grasping my left side. The pain was almost unbearable. “Oh my God, we need to go now!” I shouted. “Okay, we are, let me help you with your clothes,” Chris offered. I pulled my shirt over my head and placed my shoes on my feet. He held out his hand and took me to his car as I was writhing with pain and walking crooked because of the shooting pain that continued in my side. We drove to the hospital, and throughout the ordeal I kept thinking of my wedding day that might never happen.

“Tiffany, are you ready for your appointment?” my mom asked. I sighed, “Almost.” I hated going to my appointments, and since my mother was the one who took me, she became the conduit for my anger. I threw on some sweat pants, a t-shirt, and some flip flops, and I tied my hair in a messy bun. I didn’t feel like being pretty today. “Is that what you’re wearing today?” she asked. “Well, I am not exactly going to a party am I?” I asked angrily. “Okay, sorry, you wear what you want. So, are you ready to go then?” she asked, trying not to show her sadness. That just made me more angry with the situation. “Yeah, I guess, let’s just go,” I said as I stomped past her. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but you know we have to go,” she offered. “Yeah, I know, thanks for reminding me,” I said as I rolled my eyes. We left the house and rode to the hospital in silence. “Have you kept up with your studies this week?” she asked. “Yes, don’t worry, I’m not wasting another chance for myself, assuming I even make it long enough to prove myself,” I complained. “Well, people live through this all the time and go on to live long lives. You might as well be prepared to live your life the way you want. Set yourself up as if everything is going to work out,” she continued. “I’m dying, I have no job, no love life, and I live with my mother. If I live through this, I’ll still have a pretty shitty life,” I countered. “Oh, look, we’re here,” she said with a feigned cheerfulness. We walked into the hospital together, my mom in full make-up and a pretty summer dress. She still had this youthfulness about her even though she should have been past her prime years ago.

My father died when I was five years old, and she hadn’t been with anyone since. She tried to date when I was in middle school, but she never found anyone she wanted to settle with again. She said she already had the love of her life, and she didn’t need to find some lesser replacement. She was content with the memories of dad, even though I did catch her cry sometimes even still. I can’t imagine falling in love with the person that you know is the only one for you and then have them taken away forever. I was angry with my dad for leaving us so soon when I was a kid. It just wasn’t fair to have such little time with someone so perfect for you. It did make me ask the question: is it better to have never loved at all than to have loved and lost? It was a question that I could never answer. My mom seemed to get some sort of comfort from having experienced that fairytale love that most people never have.

“Hi Tiffany, we’ll be with you in a moment,” the receptionist said as I entered the waiting room with my mom. I never thought I’d be on a first name basis with everyone in a doctor’s office. I rarely went to the doctor before my diagnosis. I usually treated myself with herbs or over the counter medicine or whatever home remedies I could find on the Internet. I ignored my symptoms for several months, and even after I went to the hospital that first time, I still procrastinated following up with the doctor. I usually brushed off medical issues thinking nothing could ever happen to me. I lived a kind of risky life because I just never thought anything could happen. I lived through many hikes through the mountains, mountain climbs, bungee jumping, and sex with some not so nice men, but I was going to be taken out by some stupid disease that was out of my control. I didn’t regret my dangerous adventures because I may never get the chance to do them again, and obviously we don’t have much control over these things anyway. You jump out of a plane smoking, snorting cocaine, and having unprotected sex: you’re fine. You spend your life eating healthy, avoiding drugs and alcohol, get married and lose your virginity to your husband, and boom! You have an incurable disease brought on by chance, not by anything that you did or did not do. This is the mindset of a dying girl, of course. The thing is, I have already done the crazy stuff that most dying people decide to finally do. I only wanted one thing before I died: to meet my true love. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was being selfish by finding him. He could meet a nice healthy girl to marry and would never know the difference if he didn’t meet me. Sure, he may have a feeling in his gut that she wasn’t exactly the right one, but he could learn to love her. He would have a lifetime to spend with a nice girl who would love him rather than only a short while to love me. Why should I deprive him of that? Mom could have found another man to spend her life with if she hadn’t met and lost the one she was meant to be with. She might have been happy enough. “Tiffany, we’re ready for you,” the nurse said cheerfully. Why was she so damned cheerful?

“Excuse me, ma’am, my girlfriend is having shooting pains in her side and stomach. She needs help now,” Chris said calmly. He was a rock in these situations, truly. He took charge and did what needed to be done with no nonsense. “Alright, just fill out this paperwork, and we’ll be with you as soon as we can,” the receptionist said dully. “Oh my God! Oh, it hurts, I can’t take it anymore!” I screeched through clenched teeth. “Isn’t there anything you can do for her now?” he asked in a commanding voice. “Fill out the paperwork, and we’ll take her in the back as soon as we can,” the receptionist repeated. “Okay, it’s okay Tiffany, just sit down and I’ll fill this out for you,” he reassured me. Maybe I could stay with him. Would it be so bad? Maybe they were just dreams of someone who didn’t even exist. Or maybe I wouldn’t know as soon as I met the one that he was “the one”. He definitely made the pain a bit more bearable. “Thank you, Chris,” I said softly. He smiled in that way that melted me into a little puddle of giddiness in the floor. “So, what is your full name?” he asked with a serious look on his face. I laughed, and then I winced because it made the pain worse. He continued to look at me, waiting. “Oh, you’re serious. After all that we’ve…ugh, okay, it is Tiffany Ruth Simmons,” I answered, slightly embarrassed. He wrote it down and didn’t look up from the paper. “What is your date of birth?” he asked. Again, something that he should have known before we…oh well. “March 29th, 1985,” I answered. “You’re an Aries, I should have known,” he said with a smirk. “What does that mean?” I asked, slightly offended. “Exactly my point,” he said, laughing. “You are a little fire cracker, aren’t you?” he asked. “Well, normally I would be, but right now I feel like there is a fire cracker exploding in my side,” I complained. “What is your address?” he asked. “You really don’t know that?” I asked, flabbergasted by the amount of information that he didn’t have on me. We had some history even before becoming lovers, back when we were co workers with a somewhat volatile relationship. “We usually just do it in the restaurant, so no, I don’t know where you live!” he admitted. I put my head in my hands. He put his hand on my knee, and I put my hand on top of his. “What is your phone number?” he asked. I shoved him, and he laughed.

“Okay, I do know this one,” he said. “I don’t know your family’s medical history. Heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, any of that?” he asked. “My dad died of a heart attack several years ago, he was fairly young,” I answered. “Okay, so check heart attack, and I’m assuming heart disease and what about high blood pressure and high cholesterol?” he asked evenly. “I don’t know. I was a little girl, and my dad died of heart attack. I don’t fucking know what caused it,” I snapped. “Sorry. What about your mom? Any medical issues or history?” he asked. “No, she’s always been healthy,” I said with my head in my hands. He continued filling out the paperwork and asking me more personal questions that made me realize that he was learning more about me by filling out hospital paperwork than he ever bothered to learn about me during our restaurant liaisons. I wondered if he’d actually remember any of this. Finally, he finished the papers and turned them into the bored receptionist. The pain was dull and throbbing, and I just sat holding my side. I realized that the pain in my side wasn’t the only pain that I now felt. My heart wasn’t doing too well either in that moment.

He sat back down and put his hand around my shoulders. “Are you okay? Can I get you some water?” he asked. “I don’t know what I need right now. I need someone to tell me what I need,” I complained. “Sorry,” he whispered. “It’s fine, Chris, I do appreciate that you brought me here and dealt with the papers,” I said through wincing. The pain was shooting again. “I can feel it all through my back, my side, my stomach, it all just hurts,” I said through clenched teeth. Something was very wrong, I could feel it. This wasn’t a stomach ache from eating too much junk or running too hard. It was unexplained, random pain. The butterflies started fluttering around in my stomach because I didn’t want to see the doctor. I didn’t want to know what was wrong with me. “Let’s just go home,” I insisted suddenly. He looked at me like I was a ghost. “Are you feeling better?” he asked skeptically. “Tiffany,” the nurse called. “Right here,” Chris said as I moved to walk in the opposite direction. “No, Tiffany, you need to go back there and make sure it isn’t anything serious,” he insisted. That is what I was afraid of…something serious. I reluctantly turned around and met the nurse at the door that would lead me to the worst news of my life.

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