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A. Howard


Jane sat on the cool, wooden floor of their bedroom looking out at the rain.

Here I am, she thought, fifty-three years old and I feel like a child. I remember sitting in a window like this forty years ago, wondering what my life would be like, how it would unfold. Well, I know now and until this cancer struck, it has been good.

Here I am: my head is as bald as a baby’s, my chest flat like a girl’s. This nightgown reminds me of the one I had when I was twelve, white batiste with a pin-tucked bodice.

I watch the rain leaving its tracks on the pane, just as I did then. I wonder if I will be healed, or if I will die from this. It’s good to have that feeling of wonder, rather than the feeling of anxiety from the uncertainty, she thought. Wonder feels open, open to possibility; anxiety is closed, dying the premature death of fear.

She tried to explain it to Matt, but he hadn’t understood. "Semantics," he'd said, but it was much more than that. It was a difference in attitude, and an attitude could change the outcome. Jane believed that fiercely.

He came and knelt behind her, his warm arms around her.

"Look here," she said, stabbing her finger at a drop of rain that hit the window. "And here. And here." Some were small spatters that went nowhere. Some, blown by the wind, left long streaks that angled down to the sill. Some slid down the glass to intersect with others and branched out like veins, or roots.

"This is my life," she said. "It isn’t over yet. We have to see which course it will run. However it goes though, like each raindrop, my life will be whole. That’s what it means to be healed, you know: to be whole. "

"I’m trying to understand," he said, "really I am. But my life won’t be whole without you."

She felt his tears fall against her neck.

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