The Dawn of a New EvebyBakeboss©
Let me tell you about the fascinating woman I met at the dog park the other day. She was sitting on a bench under an oak tree. Our dogs became fast friends and as they tore around the park chasing each other, I sat next to her. The first thing I noticed she was wearing the flag of a person who is receiving chemo, of course I mean the bandanna tied around her head. We talked about dogs and dog parks while we watched our pets. Her dog would play with mine, then suddenly stop, and come to her mistress. She would then put her muzzle into her lap and whine. Once her mistress patted her head or scratched behind her ears, she would then return to play with my dog.
I mentioned she had a loyal dog who seemed concerned about her wellbeing. She told me she had cancer and was undergoing chemo; she pointed to her bandanna and said thus the hair loss. Her dog realized she was not well and hated to leave her side. Taking the dog to the park seemed to be the only recreation the dog got. Her dog came back for more reassurance and as she patted her head, I wondered inanely what color had her hair been. Was she blond or maybe brunette, or even a redhead? It was an early spring day with the hope of summer still a long way off. Therefore, we were both wearing long sleeves so I had no clue if she was fair or dark, freckled or tan. Her face was pale but I figured that could be from her illness.
What could I say to a cancer victim that wouldn't sound trite or worse an insincere platitude? I told her I was sorry to hear it and had no idea what she had to go through. The reply I got back from this woman, whose name was Eve, was certainly unexpected. Eve informed me that cancer had saved her life. Now, I really didn't know what to say except an astonished, 'how.' Eve went on to tell me she had been a hopeless agoraphobic who had not left her house for years. Trapped by fear, if she couldn't get it by delivery or mail she went without. Even her teeth rotted because she would not or rather, could not leave the house even to go to the dentist. She missed marriages of friends and relatives; she missed funerals and graduations because her fear had made her a prisoner in her own home.
Then one day she found a lump in her breast and although she had a fear of leaving her house, she found she had a greater fear of dying of cancer. This greater fear got her out of her prison and to the doctor. Eve ended up having a double mastectomy and after that, weekly visits to the clinic for chemo. She finally realized she could survive outside of her home and began to venture out more and more.
Although still sick, she is trying to make up for all of her lost years as a virtual captive of her own demons. She is now visiting friend's and relatives' homes that she hasn't been to in years. She laughed as she told me how surprising it is to these people. She is trying to eat at all the new restaurants that have opened in town since she became a hostage of her own fears. Eve further amazed me by telling me now she goes boogie boarding at the beach every chance she gets and that it thrills her like nothing else she has done. I imagined this brave woman with her bald pate shinning in the sun wresting with the surf for one more ride. I could almost see the smile on her face and the thrill in her eyes. She has had her teeth repaired and of course goes to the dog park a few times a week. She has joined a support group as a councilor for agoraphobics. Although mostly on line, she offers advice plus offers of help to those who want it. Eve said it only takes that first step from your prison to start you on the road to freedom.
I left the park that day in complete admiration of this brave woman who took this catastrophic illness and turned it into a positive life force. Every time I take my dog to the park, I look for Eve yet to no avail. I have never seen Eve after that cool spring day as she taught me a valuable life lesson. That promise of summer has come and gone and now it is fall with winter not far behind. I cannot imagine an encouraging thought on Eve, where can she be. Is she dead I don't know but it is just too hard for me to accept that this wonderful person who has finally been given the chance to live her life would now fall to that dreaded disease?
Most of the stories I write are from my perverted mind and rather than truth, they come from my fantasies. However, this story is true and therefore I have no ending for it, no hook so to speak. I sit here staring at my screen the cursor blinking and I feel the tears running down to cover my cheek. Yet, even worse are the real tears I feel coming from my heart and covering my soul. Eve, if you're still out there I wish you only the best. If you are gone and no longer with us, I hope you were able to get one more wave to ride.