Monday, August 2, 2010

D Day Minus 181 (Sep 9, 2009): Keeping up with the Joneses (Part 3): Second Chances

You walked toward me, with your Quarter Pounder Value meal in your left hand and your phone texting in the right. I stayed behind with our luggage. I’d texted Aunt Janiene, Dad, and Morgan when you left for Mickey Dees, “At gate in BWI. Will start boarding at 4:25.”

Dad didn’t answer, which I didn’t expect because he was at work or on the road. Morgan didn’t answer because she was at work and is very conscientious. But Holy Cow, Aunt Janiene wouldn’t stop texting. You thought I was bad with Rainman. She was like a Chihuahua, but only I can say it. You can’t because she’s my little sister.

Well, you know I’m not the fastest texter in the world. Aunt Janiene was driving me crazy with her texts. It wouldn’t have been so bad but I know I answered each of her questions at least three times earlier this week. She never listens or pays attention. Did I tell you she’s a Chihuahua, but don’t tell her I said that. Or else! Anyway she wanted to know what time do your appointments start? When do we get in Houston? What did I pack? Where are we staying? When are we coming home? Am I going to call her with play by plays? Am I scared? Are you scared? What time is it there? I’d finally had enough so I texted “ttyl xoxoxo” and turned off my phone.

I downed a Motrin, followed by a Diet Coke chaser. I would have got a Diet Mountain Dew, but stupid BWI, didn’t have any. Before you sat down, you asked if I was okay. All I said was, “Aunt Chihuahua.” You smiled. I didn’t need to say anything else. You knew.

You rifled through you bag and stuffed some fries in your face. And we gave each other a respite from talking, texting, and stressing. We watched, BWI, pass us by – Continental Pilots and Flight attendants coming and going, a mother with an unruly toddler screaming about something, some young thang with her skirt so short, it made you blush, business travelers who were somewhere between harried travelers and major a**es jockeying for first class seats.

After you came back from throwing your trash away, you were texting again. You shook your head like you did when you were really really annoyed, flipped your phone closed, and stuffed it in your shorts. And let out a big sigh when you landed on the seat next to me.

“I don’t think Katie gets it.” You said.

“What do you mean? I asked. “Is the cancer? Is it the treatment? Is it the not knowing? Is it not being able to go on this trip? ”

“No.” You said. “None of those. She says I don’t treat her as special as I did when we dated the first time.”

“Oh.” I said. “I see.” I smiled because it was so normal. The tug of war of a relationship. For crying out loud, Dad and I have been together nearly thirty years and we still do the relationship dance. It’s normal to be annoyed with each other every now and then. You need a little drama or life is boring.

“This time,” You said, “I know what I want and I don’t feel like I need to play dating games. I’m not giving up my friends this time. I don’t expect her to do that either. I’ll invite her to do things, but I don’t want to shut everyone out like I did before. I’m not doing that again. I love her and trust her and I want to be with her. ”

“Do you realize you’ve done a 180 over the past year in your outlook and perspective?” I asked. You really had. I hate that the cancer was the reason, but I really admired the man you'd become.

“Yeah. I have changed.” You said almost shyly.

“You have grown and matured as well as softened your perspective and outlook. You had to for survival so much faster than your peers. I know it. You know it. But, Katie is still adjusting to the new and improved you. You always say that this cancer was the best thing that happened to you. Because it gave you clarity about who you are and what’s important. She hasn’t lived through what you have. And you know and I know words don’t teach, its living life that teaches.” I was kind of surprised that I was so eloquent, but I meant every word I said.

“I know.” You said.

“One question.” I said. “Do you love her?”

“Of course.” You said like I was the idiot.

“Then let her catch up with you so she can learn to trust you.” I raised my eyebrows like you had better listen.  I smiled some more because it wasn't anything about cancer. You sat there thinking about what I said because I didn't tell you what to do very often.  I usually let you figure it out.

When Zone A started to get on the plane we collected our stuff. While we waited for the ticket agent to call Zone B, I got right next to you and said.  “Isn’t it nice.” Then I stopped until I saw your green eyes staring back at me. “That you always get a second chance because we never get it done, because we are always changing."


  1. very good post. i remember the texting and i know i was annoying. i was just so worried about the trip and the answers i just couldn't remember anything you telling me during the week. i do care and i totally was a chihuahua. but only you can say it. because we understand each other. now it is funny when you tell it in a story. we all love katie!

  2. We all were doing the best we could. I probably did the same thing to Greg, Jeff and Morgan. But it was all out of love and caring.

  3. You both are silly. =) I'm glad that Greg reminded us of how wonderful second chances are. He is an inspiration.