I have been being such a phony baloney on this site the past few days. I feel like somehow people knew, too, because the comments were few and far between. I think if I can't say what's going on, I write a sucky-ass post. That is the official highfalutin' writer's term for it: Sucky-ass Post-ishness. Henry James refers to it in his writings.
We had a health scare, and when I say, "we" I mean Ned, but it turns out, anything that happens to Ned is all of a sudden happening to me, too. I knew I was berserk about Ned, but I didn't even know how important he'd become to me in just a year and seven months.
Ned smoked for 20 years, and he didn't just smoke a little. I never knew him as a smoker, but the way he describes it, apparently he was Smokey Bear. There was smoke on the water. He was on top of old smokey. Is what he was. No wonder he likes Winston-Salem so much. His favorite movie was Waiting to Exhale. His favorite song was You Light Up My Life. His favorite conjunction was butt.
When he spoke, he had no filter. His favorite rapper was Tupac.
If you're catching my drift. If you're picking up what I am throwing down, which happens to be a cigarette, which by the way Ned used to smoke.
He quit in 2010, for myriad reasons, one being he read something about quitting smoking written by David Sedaris, which is just another of the six thousand things I love about Ned.
But many months ago, he started saying his back hurt, and it was hurting more and more often. I didn't want to say anything, but it made me nervous, because both my Uncle Jim and my grandfather started out with bad backs, and it turns out they had the lung cancer.
Finally Ned went to the doctor, who ordered an MRI, which we went to last Saturday. And yes, the whole getting-him-in-on-Saturday thing worried me, but Ned was unconcerned. "I feel bad, because a lot of people coming here are getting scary things checked out, but for me they're just finding out what's wrong with my back," he said naively, while we waited.
The problem with being a hypochondriac is you know too much. And I knew one of the things they were looking for.
On Tuesday Ned got his results. Ned emailed me to say he had to have a bone scan next, to rule out that he had some kind of cancer that had metastasized to his spine. He didn't want to talk, and he was definitely freaked out.
What I would have done right then is have a cigarette.
Tuesday through Friday were like I was living in some kind of nightmare. One of my friends said, "You're going to have to be strong," and then we looked at each other and laughed for 20 minutes. Have you met me? My job in this life is not to be the strong one. My job is to be the hysterical one while everyone else gets things done and slaps me and says, "Get ahold of yourself." The strong one. Pfft.
But I faked it. I went to Ned's that night and he made tasteless cancer jokes and I laughed at them and said this was nonsense, everything was going to be fine. In the meantime I couldn't eat, or sleep, or think, and I cannot even IMAGINE how crappy I've been at my job, or at this statistics textbook I have over here. I would go from thinking, "Oh, everything is going to be FINE" to complete panic six seconds later.
Ned has this cat he is crazy about, and he always says if she ever dies (if), he might get a tattoo of her little paw somewhere. The other day he said, "Maybe I should get the cat a tattoo of me." And I laughed, and then I couldn't help it. I cried. I was trying to be all breezy and reassuring, but that was just such a Ned thing to say, and what would I do if I didn't have Ned around saying Ned things? Why did I all of a sudden have to be in this stupid Love Story situation, where I've met this wonderful person, and now tragedy has to ensue?
I figured we were being punished by the fates, because we'd both said over and over again, "I am so happy. This is almost disgusting, how happy I am." I figured maybe we should have kept our happy thoughts to ourselves.
So yesterday Ned got the bone scan, and I tried not to Google (Attempt not to Google: FAIL.) and we had plans to get together last night. I was all prepared to be cheerful and hopeful and phony as shit all weekend.
When I got back from walking my dogs yesterday afternoon, Ned had called. He never calls that early. I called him back.
"I was just walking the dogs. Someone moved into the dead lady's house. What's going on with you, over there?"
"Oh, I got home from work, got on the phone, napped a bit. Oh, and I don't have cancer."
The doctor didn't want him to have an anxious weekend, and called him before his Tuesday appointment. HE IS FINE! NED IS FINE! Okay, yes, his back still effing hurts and that has to get solved but
NED IS FINE.
I don't care how late he is to get me to go to the movies. I don't care how many previews I miss, or how rushed I feel at the concession stand. I don't care how often he tells me, "You know what I'd do, is I'd eat less and exercise more" when I complain about wanting to lose weight. I don't care how many sporting events I have to sit through, or how many times he changes lanes for no reason whatsoever. (Honestly, what is the point of changing lanes when you don't need to? Are you just seeking adventure? Are you literally afraid of being caught in a rut? What?) I don't care.
Ned is fine.