I’ve only driven myself a few places because the pain from the tumors has gotten notably worse, and I’m still struggling with stamina. But I needed to get out and see strangers and a store filled with the sort of modern conveniences that people take for granted—like...peanut butter.
I used a grocery cart instead of my walker and could only grab a few light items when my hip and leg started throbbing. I limped to the front of the store, knowing I’d need to sit down after I paid, or call Mike to come and pick me up.
I smiled at the cashier, who was still helping someone else. She didn’t need to know I was in pain and that I keep having dreams about a long, cancerous death. So why not try to brighten HER day?
And that’s when it happened.
The guy in front of me seemed like a total jerk. You know the kind: Still wearing his class ring two decades after graduation... He had bling all over the butt of his jeans and a shirt that was a size too small—in an effort to show off his huge muscles. (See how good I am at not judging? 🤦♀️)
Anyway, he flirted with the young cashier and then started ranting. “2020 was the worst year of my life. The day sports got canceled was the worst day ever! And now we have to wear masks! I can’t even see what you really look like,” he told the cashier. And as he continued complaining, I had to stop myself from ripping him apart. I’m normally so sweet and nice—a doormat when I should take a stand. Yet, this man enraged me.
He thought he had it bad? Because he CAN’T workout? And he CAN’T bring girls to his favorite restaurant. And he HAS to wear a mask.
I made up the whole monologue in my head as I slumped over the cart, my right leg about to start shaking because I needed to sit down. I *wanted* to say, “Try having stage four cancer. Try being told you will die within two years. Try explaining death to a couple of teenagers and two preteens. While you’re busy worrying about sports and women, I’m fighting for my life, losing my hair and my dignity, scared shitless that I’ll die before my baby is 18 and my kids’ lives will be turned upside down. So before you go on about how shitty your life is, think about the lives lost because of COVID, the people separated from their families as they died. Hell, even think of me contemplating funeral arrangements at the age of 37.”
And just before I could say any of this, he took his bags and left.
“What a creep,” the cashier whispered. “He could have kids my age.”
I went and sat on a bench at the front of the store. And I thought about how I shouldn’t judge. I guess those things are hard for him; he doesn’t know any better. But it would be so nice if people like that could break free from their bubbles and realize how lucky they really are. He’s healthy. Instead of complaining—he should just go live!