Throughout this whole ordeal, i have procrastinated in telling people about my cancer. For a month, i discussed it with no one, except for the lucky/unlucky/unusually observant individual who found the lump in the first place. I waited to tell my roommates until two days before my mastectomy. I waited to tell my parents until i was already in the recovery room at the hospital. I waited to tell my coworkers until *after* i was out on FMLA. I waited to tell close friends for as long as i could get away with them not knowing, and there are still so many people from my childhood, my high school, and my college years whom i haven’t told.
Nikita and i went to Red Thai restaurant. It’s an awesome place in a not-so-awesome part of town: 12th Street and Northern. Phoenicians – go there. It’s amazing food.
Nikita and i were reading over the menu, appreciating the live person mixing music, when i happened to see a very familiar face.
haven’t told her
don’t want to tell her
don’t want to see her
don’t want to hear her
don’t want to tell her.
Nikita switched seats with me, and i spent the rest of the dinner (1) burning holes and sores in my mouth from the all-of-a-sudden-too-spicy-for-me-to-handle Thai dishes, (2) watching her coke friends head back and forth in a steady single file line to and from the bathroom, and (3) cringing every time i heard her nasal voice dominating the conversation. It kind of put a damper on the ambience of dinner … but, when all was said and done, i was relieved for being able to avoid having that “coming out with cancer” conversation to yet another person.
Back out into the public Nikita and I ventured, this time for stuffed french toast at Cafe Zu Zu. The place was packed; who doesn’t love spending their Saturday afternoon with Mimosa/Bloody Mary bars, food prepared by an award-winning chef, and the option of lounging all day by a saltwater pool? We were both excited to being coming back here again together, even if it had been too too long since our last trip to this place. In fact, i was so excited that i did some things that, in normal circumstances, i would have scoffed at the mere suggestion:
I checked in at Facebook.
I took selfies.
I uploaded them and tagged people.
I know, i know. This is routine, everyday stuff. It’s also not me – not usually. And it was only after i channeled my giddiness into a post on social media … and after the comments and Messenger emails quickly started pouring in that i realized what i had done:
I just told the Internet that Tarah Ausburn has cancer.
It’s a day later. In the last 23 hours, I have had several in-depth conversations with some people from my past: my Summer of 1999 All-time Favorite person, whose emails starting with “hello, sport” still get me close to 20 years later; the Stetson hallmate with a mesmerizing singing voice and the willingness to sleep in my dorm room to protect me from crazy ex-roommates; the twinkle-eyed girl i slept, chanted, and protested beside in a 10-day sit-in during my final days at Penn State; the ex that permanently, drastically, incredibly changed my whole worldview on sex and gender; the Dinah Shore fling that took me years to get over; and the former student/T.A. who used to push my buttons more than any other student i taught “on the outs.” Some of these conversations were brief; others lasted hours. Every single one of them had me crying at some point.
Throughout this whole ordeal … frequently … like, on a daily freaking basis, I keep getting reminded that i am loved. I don’t know why i keep forgetting in the first place.