Monday, May 21, 2007

609 days, 6 hours, 47 minutes, 7 seconds

Her parents grew up through the Depression, always looking to save money. So when the ban on cyclamates was introduced, back in 1970, they ran to all the supermarkets in the area, buying up diet sodas for next to nothing. They'd been drinking it for years, so why stop now? But she was away from home by then anyway.

609 days, 7 hours, 2 minutes, 51 seconds

That last Botox, the one that she didn't think was working? Remember, that was on her anniversary.

609 days, 13 hours, 6 minutes, 28 seconds

A headache wakes her in the middle of the night. She has one of her worst coughing fits, despite gulping cough syrup. When she wakes again she has the pervasive sense that he's going to want to attack this as aggressively as possible, hospitalize her for two weeks, give her the chemo and insulin. She pictures all her other organs shutting down. Looking outward, it's a crisp, almost cloudless day. So was September 11.

609 days, 23 hours, 27 minutes, 7.2 seconds

609. She can't tell you how long she's been waiting, looking forward to this day. 609, her address. 609, the area code from a childhood before there were area codes. The number seems to follow her around.

609. Take out the 0.

609. He had this address before she knew him (she married him for his apartment and his medical insurance, she used to joke). Then his insurance went downhill. Then she went downhill. Or downstairs. This building's one of the few built with all duplex apartments, even won some sort of design award. He's carefully mentioned that there might come a time when climbing the stairs every time they needed a bathroom would be too much for them. He doesn't say which one of them.

Now, half a day away from the doctor's office, she goes to take a shower, sees her towel is ripped, and just throws it out. It had been part of a monogrammed set they received as a wedding gift.