by Kathleen Hewitt
I put on my worn periwinkle sheath and capis shell flip-flops. It was to be a warmer than average day in Boston this spring of 2007. I sat in the traffic on Storrow Drive after my long ride in from my seaside home. The same sad man held a sign that explained that he was not a drunk, just down on his luck, and I gave him money again. I had the valet man park my car just so I could hear him say, “Good morning, sunshine.” In truth, I was just so tired.
I ran to the revolving door, my hair long and red, full with city breeze. Ten minutes later, Teresa had pushed the thick needle through my chest after unzipping my favorite dress just a little.The clear fluid of my life at that time dripped in slowly, offering healing and an occasional wave of nausea. I would lie there reading for a few minutes but would always fall into a restless state that only my rosary could take care of.
I was a woman who knew many days, most often, good ones. But since the cancer, I had to push to have them. Even though this wasn’t what I wanted, each day was not a trudging, resentful push, a ‘something you don’t want to do’ push. It was rather a push towards making more memories, another story, moments that could be recalled with tear filled eyes or a deep river of laughter. To push to make it all happen took every mountain of need I had.
At the end of the day, I would softly lie with my nurturing blankets, grateful the I pushed so hard.Teresa would stop in, checking for comfort or tears, ready to care or nurse me through anything. After four hours, she would announce with that joyful young voice I grew to love, that I was “free”. She lovingly zipped up my dress, told me to have a good week, to rest sometimes and to ‘take care of those beautiful kids’.The valet man said, “hello there, beautiful lady”, and ran to retrieve my car. I walked to the edge of the sidewalk and waited in a patch of warm sunlight, listening to the car horns, the conversations of young doctors walking by, and looked at the poor little children who should have been playing instead of walking into that building.
I prayed for them silently and turned towards the push of something irresistible. I heard nothing but the soft humming and whistling of a tall man coming towards me. I shielded my eyes from the bright sun and smiled.
James Taylor smiled back at me and as he passed by, so close, I heard, “The Secret of Life.”
Kathleen Hewitt is a writer, a mother, a nurse, a counselor, a cancer survivor and a fan of James Taylor.