Choosing My Words

Our neighbors’ email offers to pick up and deliver dinner to our doorstep. “Order whatever you want from their limited menu.” They list the restaurants, a quickly growing one of our favorites that are shuttered for now. Hotels have sent spring break tourists home, a surefire blow to his coastal town; orange cones, caution tape, and “Park Closed” signs restrict beach access. This place is dead!

Ah, that word “dead.” I only realize how it slips in, that terminal reference, as I write my response: “So generous, you guys. I’ll check out Sorella’s menu. FYI, their sea salt caramel gelato and blood orange sorbet—I know how we all feel about sorbet—is to die for. Hell, maybe we should just skip dinner and get dessert. Life is short!…”

In five sentences, I’ve used dying twice as an exclamation. I think about that as I revise, dead-tired this morning after another restless night. My other neighbor included in this invitation is confronting the specter of death, not as in “We’re all gonna die” but “You have stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.”

This is her story to tell, but I’m not handling my minute part in it well. I’m waiting for a miracle because she deserves it, and there is always hope. Cross my heart ….

5 thoughts on “Choosing My Words”

  1. You do such a good job of weaving forms of “dead” in your slice, weaving them seamlessly into your piece (I didn’t even notice at first). Words can have so many meanings and can become so fraught with meaning. I am so sorry for your friend who is facing lung cancer – a horrible prognosis at any time, let alone now.

  2. I was drawn by your “teaser” in the comments and was so moved by the slice itself. Your story is there, lingering just below the surface, like all good Ray Carver writing.

    1. I couldn’t find your blog. Could you put a post address here? I’ll admit I’m too lazy to search all the comments on Two Teachers. You have alerted me to the importance of the “teaser” and being compared to Carver? My life is complete! THANKS FOR READING.

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