We’re sitting in a waiting room of adorable, expectant couples, waiting to be called back and told I have breast cancer.

Time is suspended, as though I just moved out of my body into an ethereal aura of the surreal. My hands are shaking and I’m alternating between bouncing one knee and then the other. But my mind is still. I feel as though I’m watching myself sit there, watching my husband fidget anxiously in the chair next to me. I’m actually one of the pregnant women across the room.

There’s a tissue box on top of an ugly table in the corner. The tissue looks like an emerging white whale tail. I stare at it, letting my eyes get dry from not blinking. What’s happening to my life? Where can I possibly go from here?

When we’re finally called back, we sit across from the doctor in her office. I didn’t know she had an office. She shares all the information she has with us, in a soft, almost tentative manner. She looks like she’s expecting me to erupt into sobs at any moment. I do not. I stare back at her. Ask as many questions as I can think of. Nod my head. Glance at my husband. What is he thinking?

Inside, I’m floating away. There is a flutter of activity below me, but I am still – still in a vibrating darkness. There is the white whale tail. I see my 2-year-old’s face. I see my hazy perception of God’s likeness. Hope touches down in the darkness, ever so lightly.

We leave, to go home and try to tell my mother I have cancer.

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