Janet Sat in a worn wooden and leather chair next to Rob, in the small cluttered office. Diplomas lined up on the walls, stacks of books cluttered the shelves. As the doctor spoke, Janet felt like the room was spinning. Like she was losing touch with reality, but she tried to hide it as Rob grasped her hand tighter and tighter. The doctor spoke quickly, explaining that the cancer was aggressive and stage four, that Robs age was causing it to accelerate at a rapid pace. It had started as a small lump at the base of his neck, spread to his lymph nodes, his liver and his stomach. Robs reluctance to go to the doctor at all allowed it to go undetected for half a year. Treatment was an option, but it would be brutal, the doctor outlined what he felt was the best course of action but ultimately they were buying months not years. Janet stifled a moan, as tears fell from her cheeks, Rob sat there silent in complete shock.
They had dropped the kids off and Hannah's that morning for a day of sleigh rides and hot chocolate. Janet had lied to Hannah, letting her believe that she and Rob just wanted to spend some time alone together. Never letting her best friend know the endless tests that Rob had been undergoing for weeks. Janet drove home from the doctors, almost grateful for the awful snowy driving conditions that kept her mind focused on the road and not on the knowledge that her thirty three year old husband was dying. He hadn't spoken a word, mind reeling still in shock. He thought is was mono, when the kids got better and he didn't. Janet nagged him day after day to go to the doctor, but he was so busy he didn't want to take the time. By the time Halloween came, it was three months of body aches and exhaustion, by thanksgiving he had gotten on the scale and realized he had lost fifteen pounds. One night in bed, Janet kissed his neck and found the lump. It was only then after her tears and begging that he agreed to go to the doctor, again still thinking it was mono. Foolishly so. A few blood tests and body scans later and his fate was sealed. He was dying, leaving behind his family. Janet would know the pain of losing a spouse, something that had nearly destroyed him, if not for her. Janet had saved him from the unbearable pain and loneliness, she gave him a reason to move on to move forward. Annie would have to endure the loss of losing another parent, while he was grateful that Janet had adopted her, he would not be there for all the moments. All of the things that were important. It wasn't fair when Annie had lost so much already. And Ryan, they would never know each other, Rob would be an image in photos, a character in a story a missing piece to the puzzle.
"We need to talk about this Rob."
"I know we do, but my mind is made up. I don't want to waste time arguing. I don't want the treatment. You heard what the doctor said. If I have such a sort amount of time left, I don't want to waste it being in hospitals, being sick."
"Rob, he talked about a trial too, the treatment could buy you some time... I cant believe you don't even want to try!"
"Janet, I want to spend my time with you and the kids and my parents and my brother and our friends. I don't want to spend it hooked up to IV's, throwing up, being sick. I can manage how I am feeling now, with the meds he gave me and with you by my side. I can manage for as long as I have left."
"Rob, no. I cant accept this, you just giving up."
"You just don't get it, and you don't have to…this is my decision to make!" Janet felt like he had just slapped her across the face, the pain of his words ripping thru her entire body.
"Your decision, wow. fine. I am going to pick up OUR children." Janet stormed out of their house, slamming the door behind her. This was not happening, it couldn't be. After everything that she went thru to find someone like rob only to lose him. It just wasn't fair. She pulled over a few bocks away when the tears in her eyes blurred her vision. She pulled out her phone, wanting to call Rob, wishing there was something she could say to make it all better. Instead she called Hannah.
"Hannah, Hey. Its me, listen.. uh... can the kids spend the night..."
"Of course they can, Janet is everything ok. You sound off..."
"Um, no. Hannah they're not. But I cant talk about it right now…I gotta go."
"Janet you are freaking me out...where are you?"
"Hannah, please just... take care of the kids for me ok..."
Janet hung up the phone, needing to go somewhere she felt safe, somewhere she could hide. A smile broke her face just as she pulled into the parking lost at Sully's. She liked the idea that no one really knew where she was, she needed space... she needed a drink.
She stared at Eddie blankly, she felt empty and hollow. She wanted to tell someone, the weeks of keeping it in weighing so heavy on her shoulders. Rob had shut down in the very beginning, not letting her in. It was so unlike him, and now his refusal to even discuss treatment. She felt like an interloper in her own marriage.
"He's dying." Janet finally whispered. Eddie couldn't believe what he was hearing, he felt like the floor dropped out from under him. Despite the fact Rob got the girl, they had become friends. Not that over the years Eddie hadn't daydreamed about him getting eaten by wolves or lost at sea. But this, cancer, so young. Eddie had realized long ago that he and Rob were not so different. Their first love was Angela and their last over was Janet.
"Janet, how... what?"
"Cancer, stage four." Her voice broke and tears fell from her eyes, her emptiness being replaced by fear and sadness one again. "He has months maybe, and he is refusing treatment."
"That's why you fought?" Janet nodded. Eddie reached across the table, grabbing her shaking hands. "Janet I am so sorry, i cant imagine..."
"Yeah, either can I."
"Come on, let me take to Hannah's, you like you are about to pass out."
"Hey Rob, its Eddie."
"Hey Eddie. Is she ok?" Robs voice was raw, Eddie could tell he had been yelling and maybe even crying.
"Uh, no. She was at Sully's, three sheets. I took her to Hannah's, she is going to sleep it off."
"How are the kids?"
"They are good, Annie and Sam were watching a movie and Ryan was fast asleep."
"Did she tell you."
"Yeah buddy she did. I am so... angry... for you for her... I know we have had our whatever it was, but..."
"Thanks Eddie...I mean it... I will take anger over pity any day..."
"If you need anything, you know anytime, anyplace anything."
"Yeah. I Know. Listen I am here with my parents and my brother, they are taking the news even harder then Janet did so I got to go. Thanks for taking care of her."
"You don't need to take me."
"I guess you were right after all Eddie, I was just Mr. Right Now." Rob let out an awkward chuckle, before hanging up the phone leaving Eddie speechless.