Bent Words

Bent Words

April 26, 2007

So once a year you’re on the radio. (Probably since 2004 – the year after you were diagnosed with Leukemia.) And every year I have the radio on during those two days when they’re raising money to help find a cure. I’ve just been curious to know how you’re doing. I’ve wanted to know if you’re on newer, more effective drugs or if you’re a few steps closer to getting a bone marrow transplant. Most of all, I just wanted to know if you’re still alive and kickin’ (the Husky, perhaps).

But every year I seem to miss you. I hear from others that they heard you on the radio. They never seem to know what you had said – they cannot recall whether you’re winning the battle or falling farther from your health. They just know they heard your name, your voice, your laughter. And I always say, “Well, that’s good to know.”

This year, as I was tagging and arranging Gold Wing clothing on a rack, preparing for a busy weekend at the motorcycle shop, I heard your name introduced over the radio. Loud and clear. It was as though I was walking toward a specific destination, full-steam ahead, and yet never noticed the massive brick wall right before me. I just stopped whatever I was doing, and I listened.

Your voice was so familiar. The way it sounded when you were put on the spot and a little nervous, perhaps. That shaky, quiet voice resounded from somewhere deep inside your throat. It was followed by equal-sounding laughter and some commentary from your hosts. And I tried to grasp what you were saying but somehow my mind was taken away from the voices echoing in the building.

I thought about the day that you found out you had Leukemia. You called me late to tell me and I had been waiting and waiting and waiting some more for your call. You had been with your mother first and I wasn’t in that loop. As the time passed, I became more nervous – it had been hours since your appointment with the doctor. I remembered how enlarged your spleen was and that’s why you went in in the first place. I remembered how you thought I didn’t have much of a reaction once you told me. But I had been shocked and full of disbelief. That brick wall coming up on me more quickly than I could react. All of this tumbled through my mind.

The Deejays said you looked you good. In fact, they said you always look good, every time they see you. And that’s when I realized that I couldn’t remember what you had said during your interview. I just knew your name, your voice and the sound of your laughter. I just knew you were still alive and kickin’.

And that is really good to know.

Written at 9:17 p.m.