Thursday, October 18, 2012

Awareness.



I remember it like it was yesterday. I had just pulled into a parking space at Target when my phone rang and seeing the picture of Ebony flash across the screen. Fumbling around in my purse to get my earjack in because whenever our "yes-it's-a-good-time" windows aligned, I knew I needed to get comfortable. I reclined my seat and turned off the ignition. Target would have to wait.

"What's up with you?" she asked. I've always loved Ebony's subtle Southern twang. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama that was ingrained in her, but even though she was definitely a country girl, we always knew she was more than just a little bit rock and roll.

"Nada. Much of the same. What's up with, you?" I put emphasis on you because I've always found Eb's day to day adventures far more interesting than my own. I smiled in preparation for what I knew would be a funny story.

I've known Ebony since we were in college. When she was a freshman and I was a junior, we lived in the same dorm. Later we pledged into the same sorority, and remained close friends ever since. I will never forget the summer that I went to medical school in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn't know a soul there and I was very anxious about all of it. Ebony was doing a summer internship in Indiana, but on several of her weekends off she'd hear the lonely sound in my voice and come to my rescue. Before I could even hang up the phone she'd be on her way throwing coins into tollbooths until she reached my apartment. I never forgot that.

If you know her like I do, you'd know why I was so happy to see her. Ebony is just one of those naturally entertaining people. Perfect comic timing, impeccable taste in most things and the kind of dancer that makes everyone around lose rhythm from watching her. That same energy has kept her firmly in the short list of my most favorite people of all. And even though we've grown older and we don't get to talk every day, our friendship has remained steadfast and true.

"What's up with me? Hmmm. Let's see. . . .well. . . .yeah, so I felt this lump in my breast when I got out of the shower a couple of weeks back. So girl, I went ahead and got it checked out."

"Uhh, okay."

"Yeah, girl. You know my sister was on my back so I went on in to get seen about."

"Good. So you cool?" And know that I asked that in the most rhetorical way ever. Where you fully assume that you know the answer and you prepare to move on.

"I have breast cancer."

Wait, huh? I tried to say something but nothing came out.

"Yeah, girl. I have breast cancer. But I'm okay."

"What?"

"I'm going to have to have chemo and get a mastectomy."

"What? What are you saying? What do you mean?"

"I mean I have breast cancer, Kim."

And right then and there in that Target parking lot, I wept into the phone as she told me the rest of the details. Her voice was stoic and brave. And I'm glad it was because that was probably the only thing that reassured me that she'd be okay.

And she was. And she is. And I'm glad.



It's October. And Zachary's football team is playing in pink socks and the NFL is playing in pink cleats. There are three day walks, two day walks and five kilometer walks all in the name of breast cancer awareness and breast cancer research.

And all of that is good. It is.

But. As time goes by, you start to have people you love as your pink socks. Those ribbons and walks represent your girlfriends and your she-roes. Bridesmaids in your wedding and sorority sisters who made road trips with you.


Sisters. Mothers. Friends. Daughters. Eventually, the pink isn't just hypothetical. It's real.

That day in the Target parking lot when my sisterfriend told me that she had breast cancer? That was when it all became real. Too real.


 This weekend is our college homecoming. Ebony and I will share a hotel room and, I'm sure, some inside jokes. I will likely beg her to do my makeup including a "smokey eye" and (I am certain) I'll leave with some article of her clothing. She'll make me laugh until my stomach aches and she'll also turn something completely uneventful like free hotel breakfast into an adventure. Because that's who she is and that's what she does.


This October? I'm especially aware. And from now on, always will be. . . . . .whether somebody wears pink socks and cleats or not.

That's all I got today.

***
Happy Thursday.

Now playing for Eb (and my other sweet survivor-linesister Michele.) Can't wait to see you this weekend!



9 comments:

  1. You and Ebony enjoy yourselves, and don't mess around with it; live and love like you mean it!

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    1. Oh man, we totally will. Thanks, Nancy!

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  2. Every time I hear about another person with this damned disease it throws another stone into my soul. I am glad that Ebony is doing well. I will add her to my prayer list. Y'all enjoy the time together.

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    1. Lisa, I am thinking of you as a part of my pink socks, too. She is doing well and please keep her and our other sister Michele on that prayer list.

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    2. It took a minute to accept the pink tee shirt, but I'm loving the pink socks.

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Beautiful post! I too am from Birmingham and know Ebony socially. I still remember when my husband confirmed her diagnosis, he went to TU with her. She is such a beautiful person and the epitome of a strong survivor! I hope I run into you ladies at the Kellogg or somewhere this weekend in the mean streets of Tuskegee University! Happy Homecoming! :)

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  5. I've never seen that picture of Ebony. Gorgeous. Love you both & can't wait to see you!!!

    Xoxo,
    Biz

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