The map tried to put us in the parking lot for the Office Max to make a u-turn and go back the way we came. We found it in the end. There’s a man standing outside the front doors; he looks tired and sad and when he sees us I see the pain I feel reflected on his face. I wonder if he’s here for himself or a friend or a family member. Which of his loves has had their lives flipped upside down? We make eye contact briefly and there’s a nod.

The lobby is packed. And that’s somehow worse than if it had been quiet and empty. Everyone here for the same reason. This place deals with one thing: cancer. So this lobby packed to the point they’ve pulled in extra chairs to accommodate all of us, that’s 40 something lives touched. And we are just one lobby. 

I’m watching him. He’s putting on a strong face as he fills out the stack of paperwork but he’s scared. We both are. And the kidlet feels it so she’s buried in her drawings. For some reason today it’s an oak tree she’s determined to get right. It’s something solid. Something real and beautiful for her to bury herself away in.

There are no easy ways to explain the uncertainty. There is no casual way to explain to someone else how your life was going a certain way and then it wasn’t. 

That is the reality of cancer. And it is the reality we live in now.

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