Roxane (Don’t sing the song, she hated that)
Her black and white polka dot nightgown twisted awkwardly around her armpit. I fix it, and it wakes her from the cancer drug induced sleep. She glares at me at first, but then realizes it’s me, her best friend. She barely manages a smile. So I sit on her bed. I hold her hand. I tell her it will be all right. Even though we both knew it wouldn’t be. She tries to talk back but her cancer brain won’t let her find the words. It’s ok, because I wouldn’t know how to answer. I talk about stupid stuff. I talk about a million things yet about nothing. I rub her hand and hum quietly to myself until she falls back asleep, a sleep she will never wake up from. When they come to take her body away, I don’t want to look, but I have to. The men wearing black are serious, solemn and professional as they move her into the mortuary van with the name Hennessey Funeral Home and Cremation painted on the side. I wonder if her nightgown is twisted around her armpit again.
The sound of my other friends wailing awakens my motherly instinct, which I didn’t know I had until now. And I make French toast. And tell myself it will be ok. Even though I know it won’t.