The results of the biopsy are not supposed to be in until tomorrow, but the phone rings, she answers, and I can tell immediately who it is.
I have just prepared a big bowl of ramen noodles. I don’t really want them, am not hungry, but I haven’t had anything to eat all day because my stomach is in knots and I have just convinced myself that I had better eat something to keep my energy up. So I am heading to my office with a bowl brimming with ramen and the phone rings and I can tell from her tone who it is and I just freeze in the doorway, bowl in hand.
What I hear of the conversation is all “Yes,” and “I see” and “Okay.” There are long silences, and she is writing things down on a piece of paper. I don’t know what to do. I have a giant, stupid bowl of ramen in my hand, scalding hot and the thoughts run through my head – “Should I go sit with her? Would she prefer that I not be there looking over her shoulder? Should I interrupt to ask her to put the call on speaker? What the hell am I going to do with all this ramen that’s burning my fingers?”
I go in and sit down. There’s no place to put the ramen, so I keep it on my lap. I start to eat, thinking there may not be time after the phone call, and probably even less inclination on my part. In between slurps I hear words like “surgeon”, “appointment”, and “soon”. She is very quiet as she answers. We’ve been married 20 years – I know that means that things are not good, things are very bad, and she is holding herself together through sheer force of will.
I sit there, slurping ramen, while she gets the news.