by Angie M. Brashears
Publication date: October 1st 2016
We’re all just dots. . .looking for a line.
This is a story about two strangers with nothing but grief in common.
Mason is great at connecting dots in other people’s life’s, but not so much in his own. His website, The F#ck it List, is all about connecting sexual requests. Matching never have I ever’s like a pair of socks. Efficiently. All in an effort to raise money for charity. That’s all he wants, to give. Why is that so hard?
Chloe’s in denial, but that’s not going to make the cancer go away. When her doctor gives her an expiration date, she can’t deny it any longer. It’s time to break the news to family and her best friend. She thought she’d have more time. There’s things she needs to say. She needs to be heard, but not by her loved ones. They’ve got enough on their plates with the diagnosis.
Two Months? Not long enough to do anything except…dig the hole.
This is Chloe’s story and how she copes with the end.
Just as there is a song for every occasion, Chloe has a friend for every occasion.
A pity party friend.
A truth friend.
A fixer friend.
And an end friend. Mason.
Mason and Chloe have nothing in common but grief. Two dots, floating in a sea of sorrow.
He’s lost his mother. She’s losing the fight.
When the end is near, is it too late for a new friend?
One woman’s end journey. Even when it’s time to get your affairs in order, it’s never too late for an “end” friend. Someone that will listen? Share your burden, so the family doesn’t have to. Help with the mess she’s created by keeping secrets. Be there for her best friend, a shoulder to cry on when the time comes.
It’s one thing to donate money to a cause.
What about your time, heart and soul? How much should you be expected to give?
If a stranger asked, could you be an end friend?
All your weight, it falls on me. It brings me down.
Truer words have never been spoken. My family and their feelings, that’s the weight of my world on my shoulders right now. How am I supposed to tell my overprotective mother, who freaks out over a sniffle…that, I’m…dying? My brother, Ronny, out doing his job, protecting us, battling on the front lines. Is it fair to distract him from his task at hand? Maybe he gets killed, or maybe his buddy takes a bullet? Why, so I can feel better? What about dad? Thoughts of the man that stuffs a pink can of mace and rape whistle in my stocking every year, and my burden just got heavier. And last but not least, my best friend, Lola. We’ve been the odd couple since the tampon video in fourth grade. Neat as pin, she never has loose ends, never commits to anything, no tangles no mess. That’s where I come in. I’m a friggin mess. Everything I touch gets smudged. Or at least, I’ve been told that, since as far back as I can even remember leaving a mess. Possibly, Lola’s bored with her muted tones life, maybe that’s why she steps into my sunshine and rainbows. Cluttered with dust motes, dancing on sun rays, like spritely fairies. Could be. So, what happens when I tell her I’m taking the sun with me? Some days, I can’t get off this sagging futon. Between the pain, the isolation, the guilt, the secret… I just can’t. I look at the website again. The F#ck It List. A place to put your Never have I ever… and you’ll be matched with the right person for you. I’m not interested in the sexual stuff. I’m so over that, and besides, my boyfriend, well, not boyfriend, stops by twice a week and we’re compatible enough as it is. And he’s another one. I broke up with him, so I wouldn’t have to paste a smile on twice a week and pretend like my world’s not falling apart. I love him, but man, does he need a lot of coddling. I haven’t brought myself to click past the privacy screen. That’s not what I’m interested in. The thing my nurse keeps talking to me about. My chemo nurse, Courtney, whispered to me. “You need someone to talk to, get things off your chest. I know you don’t want to burden your family, Chloe, but who takes your burden?” I shrugged, not really caring one way or the other. “I’ll be dead soon, so who cares? They can bury it with me.” She smacked my hand, the one without the IV. She was the one who had to poke around for an hour to find it, so she was protecting it like gold. But her words were kind. “Just like that. Who do you get to say those things too? You’re too worried about acting normal for your chemo buddy over there.” Em’s on her phone. She hates needles. I do too. “You need someone to hear you and not your cancer, you got me?” Her eyes look so compassionate, so loving I nod. She rests her hand on top of mine. I didn’t realize I was crying. “It’s my first time, I’m still a rookie.” I blubber out. She produces a tissue box from thin air and rubs my hand. “I have a friend; grandson has a website.” She lowers her voice. “It’s like a sex something or other,” then she’s back to full volume, “but that’s just to raise money for charity. I know she said he’s always looking for people with illnesses to help. “I guess my face must look funny, because she feels the need to add, “not like murder or anything like that.” I laugh. “Honestly, I was just wondering when this nausea would start to go away.” She nods, and squeezes my hand. “It doesn’t.” Later, when I’m pumped full of poison, she presents me with a gift bag. It’s got Band-Aids and syringes all over it. “Wow, Courtney how’d you know it was my birthday?” She laughs, “Well it kind of is. It’s your Chemo-day. You’re very first. Congratulations, kiddo, you made it through. Enjoy. Inside is the softest, most luxurious cashmere blanket. Pink, with raised dots. “Very chic, Courtney. I love it!” She hugs me and wraps it around my shoulders. “For the chills,” she whispers in my ear and I nod. She reaches in the bag and takes out a box of masks. “Remember your nadir.” There’s hard candies to suck on, for when my mouths dry. And an oral bag! With a rainbow toothbrush. “Thanks so much, I would’ve never thought of any of this. On the very bottom, a free month membership to Netflix. “For when you can’t make it out, but still want to watch something.” “I’m touched, really.” I use my new blanket, to wipe away a tear. “But I’ll have to read up on the rules, I don’t know a thing about Netflix.” As I leave, in search of my chemo buddy, who I haven’t seen in the last thirty minutes, Courtney calls out to me. “Chloe, did you want me to check on that thing, Mason’s website?” I think about it. I’ve got nothing better to do. “Sure.” That was four months ago. I’ll never see her again, chemo’s done dude. I’ll miss her. But not in the add another brick to the pile way. No, I’ll miss having someone who listens with their whole self. Two dots, connected by Courtney.
Angie M Brashears is a lover of everything books. When not writing, she's reading anything she can get her hands on. She grew up in Southern California, and loves the mountains, hiking with her dogs, the beach, and of course, Disneyland! She loves music, and loves singing along to the radio, loud and off-key, performing for anyone unlucky enough to be in the passenger seat.
Angie loves dark and twisted, which she refers to as Dark Ever After books, but is known to read an occasional HEA story as well. When she's not writing, she working, saving lives. A busy Trauma ER nurse for over twenty years, she gets enough reality in her life, and is always looking for a story to take her away from the harsh reality of Emergency Nursing.
If there's football on, she sure to have a huge party going on to cheer her team on...Go Patriots!
As a new author, she'd love to hear from you!
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