"They say my prognosis is pretty good."
I don't want to disagree with her. I've read the statistics, but if she can find a bright side to look on, I can, too.
"I worry about the kids, though."
"Mom, they'll be okay. I'm sure they just miss you."
Now the air hangs between us.
"So tell me, are you seeing anyone? How about that Alex?"
"That didn't really happen." It didn't happen at all. Hopes are being scrapped. "He and Lydia are together now."
"Ah, the Vixen," Becky says as she walks back into the room.
"Vixen? She isn't a Vixen. She's my best friend."
"I thought the Ghost Man was your best friend."
"The Ghost Man?"
"Relax, Honey. Your sister has nicknames for all your friends."
"The ones we know about…"
"So, the Ghost Man?"
"I think his name is Henry," my mother explains, and I start to blush.
"No!" Becky exclaims. "You can't be having a thing with the Ghost Man."
I am so transparent.
"You two can't live in the same place at the same time."
"I'm not 'having a thing' with Henry," and I'm still blushing. "He's a friend. Why are we scrutinizing my love life?"
Vixen? Ghost Man? None of us is a great correspondent, and our letters tend to be formal--and quick. Little notes to check in. I'm not used to this much joshing, or how much I've told them about my life. It's uncomfortable, like being naked, and it's wonderful, a kind of belonging.
"It's kind of relief not to talk about cancer for five minutes," my mother says.
Wait until I tell them about Sevario.