These are the sounds I hear right now: soft beeps from the IV pump. Katie Herzig. The television of the room next to ours. Bob Dylan. Nurses chatting in the hallway outside our door. The occasional page over the PA. Simon and Garfunkel.
Somewhere in Seattle, my loveful Chosen Family is celebrating K’s birthday, dancing the night away at the Electric Tea Garden, listening to the DJ play some awesome mashups.
Kim and I were going to be there. To dance. And celebrate.
But right now we are here. She’s dozing. I’m playing DJ. My playlist is fewer mashups and more soft songs, a playlist known to me (and the kids I nanny) as “Mellow Dancing.” Music to sway by. To snooze by. Music to mellow you out and help you rest.
I wish I had a playlist to help us forget about the cancer — magic songs that could take away the pain that has grown immune to the usual mix of pills and IVs. I wish we were dancing. I wish she could ride her bike to work. I wish she could work. I wish she didn’t have to watch the cancer control every aspect of her life. I wish the radiation didn’t make her hurt so much.
I hope it’s working.
We should be dancing right now. We should be watching K open her big present, the one from so many people who love her. We should be spinning and twirling, happy and healthy, a little tipsy and a lot loveful.
Tonight we are here, listening to beeps and buzzes and the drip drip drip of the endless IVs. She is snoozing, curled up on a gurney, taking an earned break from the pain.
I am curled up next to her, stiff and sore on an uncomfortable bed I formed out of two plastic folding chairs and a stool. Exactly where I want to be.
She’ll sleep. I’ll sit and play DJ, watching yesterday turn into today and hoping for an easier tomorrow.
I am exactly where I need to be.