March 24, 2010
Her arms stretched high overhead, Audrey pressed her hands together, lowered them along the midline of her body and folded over. She flattened her back into half-lift, put her hands on the floor and kicked back to plank pose. She flowed through down dog and seamlessly into diamond pose, a simple, meditative form of kneeling. One hand cradled the other with her thumbs barely touching. She closed her eyes for several minutes, concentrating on her breathing, until she heard footsteps coming up the stairs.
Audrey was rolling up her yoga mat when Carl came into her studio. Her voice caught in her throat.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Debra” she said, and nodded toward her computer.
Carl read the email. “I’m sorry, hon.” His hug was firm and warm.
“I’m so glad you finally made an appointment,” she said. “When is it? I couldn’t find it on the calendar.” Carl didn’t answer. “You did make an appointment?”
“I looked up the number.”
Audrey gave him a look generally reserved for the boys. “Well, isn’t that great.” Audrey picked up the phone. “What is it?”
“I don’t know. You could look it up.”
Audrey immediately brought up the clinic’s website.
“I feel fine,” Carl said. “Except for this splinter I got today. Could you—ow!” Audrey had slapped the phone in his hand.
“Yes, hi, this is Carl Pullet. My wife is inspiring me to get a colonoscopy… Audrey Pullet… yes, that Audrey Pullet… my birthday is March twenty-fifth, nineteen-fifty… thank you….” Carl finished making the appointment and hung up the phone.
“What did you mean, ‘that Audrey Pullet’?”
“She remembered you.”
“Oh. Well, it wasn’t that horribly horrible.”
“That’s not what you told them.”
“I was exaggerating, okay? I only suggested they tell people to buy a package of Depends along with the preparatory pills and liquids. I would’ve appreciated it,” she said as Carl groaned. “Look, you can focus on the icky part, or you can focus on the part that saves your life. Debra didn’t get tested until it was too late, and by then she had stage four cancer. If you’re clear, you don’t have to do it again for ten years. And if they find something, they can treat it. Let me see your hand.”
As Audrey worked on Carl’s splinter, gingerly, her email alert sounded. She read the new one.
“What day is your appointment?”
Audrey frowned. “Do you think you could reschedule?”
“Wednesday is Debra’s funeral.”
©2010 Pam Wells