I am still wading, swimming, drowning in the pain of breaking up with Nick.
Throughout all the ghastly cancer treatments I held fast to love and to my dreams. I anticipated the day that Nick and I would be together in Australia, putting the past horrible months behind us: camping, lying on the beach, laughing, swimming, eating and getting stronger together. I invested all my hope in our holiday. Then, the day I landed in Sydney I discovered Nick deleting texts from his mobile phone. When I challenged him about it he told me that he had been seeing someone else. He told me that he was not in love with me. He told me that he had never been in love with me.
“I have never loved you Lily” Those were the cruellest words I have ever heard uttered.
So now, instead of eating in nice restaurants I am forking out $150 an hour for therapy. Instead of touring Tasmania in a camper van I am being driven slowly insane with grief. I am very far away from my friends. I feel so alone. Nick is icy cold and distant. The more I have tried to salvage our relationship, the more he has rejected me. Repetitive questions circle in my head, as monotonous as scratched cds: "Why did you tell me that you loved me? Why did you fly half way across the world to be with me? Why did you burst into tears when Mr H told you that I was safely out of surgery? Why did you beg me for a second chance? Why did you insist that my family go to visit you in Queensland when you were already seeing someone else and planning to break up with me? Why did you book flights and a camper van and make all those plans with me? Why did you tell me how excited your children were to meet me? Why did you lie to me from the very beginning? Why did you abandon me when I needed you so much? Why did you think it was ok to hurt me like that? why? why? why? why? why?"
And then I found a lump under my arm.
I made an appointment to see Dr Hargreaves, Sydney’s answer to Mr Hadjiminas. I spent a week waiting, barely able to eat or sleep. I didn’t tell anybody.
“How are you?” Dr Hargreaves enquired, beaming at me. Well he did ask. So I told him: about the lump, about Nick, about crying all the time. “Oh dear,” he frowned, “well the Tamoxifen will definitely be contributing to depression. Let’s have a look at you.” He examined my neck, chest, breasts and armpits. I have always maintained that Mr Hadjiminas’ hands are better than any mammogram. I get the impression that Dr Hargreaves has the same kind of magic fingers. After all, these top breast surgeons feel women up all day every day.
“It’s just scar tissue,” Dr Hargreaves proclaimed. I expelled a breath that I seemed to have been holding since the beginning of time. “After surgery and radiotherapy you will get these lumps and you are bound to freak out. You just have to get them checked up.”
This morning I am driving to see my therapist. It is rush hour and I’m in a slow crawl along Old South Head Road. I divert into a side-road to take a short cut. Ten minutes later I’m lost and hopelessly snarled in a gridlock situation. Then I begin to scream. It’s weird. I have never screamed in my life before, not even as a child. I feel as if I have grown two heads. One head is observing: “What is that extraordinary noise? Where is it coming from? How are you capable of producing it?” The other head is simply screaming: deep, loud and vibrating with horror, the sound fills the car. And it will not stop. It screams and it screams. The first head remembers a song, by an American folk singer, titled “Screaming in the Car”. She sings about being pulled over by the cops for “screaming in the car in a twenty-mile zone.” My screams convulse and bend into sobs of laughter.
Does anyone know that song or the name of the singer? I would love to get hold of a copy.