Nov 20, 2007
Someday we are gonna get so high.......
It was a chilly Tuesday evening last week when Libby and I were lying down on her bed and talking. I'd just come back from office and instead of sitting in the living room that we usually do we were in her dark bedroom sans any lights watching the shadows play tricks on the lone glass wall. She was about to start on her new job the coming Monday and was all excited about the new profile she'd got. I don't even remember what we were giggling about, or was it her customary lecture asking me to stop being so cynical about relationships or was I whining about S again to her? It could've been any one of those when all of a sudden she said "Pia think there is a lump in my breast." I said "What? Check properly. Maybe you are just imagining." A moment's pause and she said quietly" No it feels like a stone. I am not imagining." I had to agree finally because yup it did feel like a stone and it was huge.Radhi came home and we told her and she came to the same conclusion that there was something so not right in there. Radhi and I were adamant that Abby went to the gynacoelogist the next day but stubborn as Libby is she went into complete denial saying no she does not feel like it and we should let her be for a day etc etc.
Later that night I saw Libby reading up on breast cancer on the sly while trying to appear perfectly normal. I didn't utter a word. The next day too she did not mention a doctor until finally on Thursday Radhi managed to pull her to the gynaecologist. I was on the phone with them till they entered the doctor's chamber who advised them to get Libby's mammography and ultrasound report taken as it was clear that there was a lump in her breast but then the possibilities varied ranging from fibroids to fluids and the one word we did not want to hear cancer. Before long they headed to the pathology labs and within a couple hours they had got the reports. Radhi called me up and asked me to come home soon before she left for some sangeet ceremony. Sometimes I think whole of Delhi plans to have weddings the same day as it seems everybody I know has a some sangeet or mehendi or bhajan or bachelor party and the the penultimate great Indian punjabi shaadi to attend these days. Anyways I rushed home and as I turned my key and flung the door open I saw Libby with a tear streaked face as she tried to hide all and any traces of her tears. I walked in and hugged her tight. There was nothing to say really. Radhi was making chai and she asked me to help her with the cups and saucers and it was then when she said "Pia it is malignant. The radiologist confirmed that most likely it is stage 2 plus cancer.I haven't told Libby. We need to get a biopsy test taken as soon as possibly." Both of us were silent trying to come to terms with the fact that the ever smiling mother hen cum child woman Libby is probably afflicted with cancer. That evening at home was some scene right out of a movie and for the first time in my life as I spoke to myself I said noooo I don't want our lives to be right out of some make believe flick. We cried, laughed, smiled, tried to cheer her up, in the process cheer ourselves up. Radhi's whim again as she wanted to make tomato soup and now incidentally till a few weks back the mixer and the plug point were working perfectly fine in sync with each other. But that day the plug point would not work as Radhi tried to blanche the tomatoes so she used the plug point used for my TV. Well the outcome being there was hot tomato puree all over my dressing table, my TV, my new pink suit, Radhi was drenched in tomatoe puree and Libby who had been an innocent bystander got her stole bathed in those blanched tomatoes. We couldn't stop laughing. Atleast it made Libby smile.
The next few days were spent running around and trying to fit in office, court, doctors visits, blasting from irritating bosses, pathology labs and AIIMS everything at one go. Three of us just wanted to feel different. There was an air of gloom hanging around our happy abode. Libby wouldn’t sleep all night, Rad would get breathless and have panic attacks and I would get nightmares all night of death and cancer .Three of us got up each day looking like pale shadows of the people we were. I remember one day when I came home and both of them were sleeping and the house was dark, no music, not a sound coming. I went into my room and locked the door. I needed to get my mind off all this so even though I would not have done so on a normal day I called up S and spoke to him for precisely half a minute. He was like “What happened?” I said “Nothing just wanted to say Hi.” He giggled and said “Hi”. He was still in office. But that one “Hi” was enough for me.
However Libby composed herself too and took everything so well and in such a positive manner. They confirmed that it was cancer on Saturday and this woman has been so strong and has had a smile on her face almost continuously after that. Radhi and I felt so so much better after that. She planned her entire itinerary out as she has to go to a different city closer to home for her chemotherapy sessions. She told us laughingly about how hot she’d look after she comes back in a couple of months as she’d loose any excess weight she had and to top it all she’d be bald too. We’ve been talking and talking, she has burnt a couple of hundred songs on her lap top just so that she could listen to them and think of us and happy times, fun times, drunken times and even soppy times. One time when I called her up in the day to ask what she was up to she sends me a cocky message which said “Burning songs to make myself feel happy during the much awaited honeymoon in the hospital.”
Last night we spoke, exchanged some more stories, I told her my worst fears and she asked me not to worry. I believe her. She had her last drink too, shared her last smoke with me as she got ready for taking a long sabbatical from all these vices. I believe that she’ll be fine, some tiny little voice inside me tells that she will be all hale and hearty. It isn’t going to be easy but my Japanese Princess is a woman of substance and has immense strength and she’ll get over this and someday soon I’ll see her smiling face sitting on the corner sofa in the living room with the lap top , a beer bottle on the side table, giggling to herself as she chats with her many friends. As I type this down I dread the thought of going back to that empty house. I don’t remember the time how it was when she wasn’t staying with Radhi and me. But it shall get better. Life has so much more to it and the past one week has yet again made me realise that it is more important to count our blessings and thank god for giving us the people who love us in our lives than pining for those who did not bother to or chose not to.
If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart..we'll always be with you.”