The Big C

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On their honeymoon the Jamisons went to France. She wore a bikini and worried about it. Bikinis are cruel to everyone; there was cruelty in the air. But on the topless beach, there were women there -- all sizes, all ages -- with their tops off. And Cathy felt so ugly. Five pounds too many, breasts already sagging. She had no idea. She was afraid of her body.

"I've been looking at old photographs, and you know what? I was pretty cute back then. But I couldn't feel it."

Paul swears he told her to go topless, that day in France. He's wrong, but not by a wide margin: It wasn't because she wasn't beautiful, it was because she was too beautiful. He'd get an erection, and have to hide it. He was afraid of his body.

"Speaking of which," Cathy smiles, and he buttons his jacket, grinning. He's proud of her body, he loves it. She didn't know. "You wanna do something about this?" he asks, just sweetly enough that she thinks it'll be okay. An intermittent lawn mower starts up again, just long enough: "Yeah. I want to do it in the grass!" The intermittent lawn mower shuts down again, as he whispers with a childlike glee, "Really? You want me to do you in the ass?"

The spell is broken. God, Paul. And besides, she has to get Adam from Brent's. She's rushing inside when Paul shakes his head, confused. "I just dropped him off at school to get on the bus for camp. He said you changed your mind..."

(We clean up after them and we shut the cabinets, and most of all we let them get away with it when they play the Homer Simpson card. In no way did Paul believe that she had changed her mind. But he wanted Adam to love him. And he wanted six weeks to get his wife back. So he threw his hands up in the air and shrugged and said, "If you say so." That's why. That's as clear as you can make it.)

"I came here to tell you that our therapist had some great things to say after you left, and I'm gonna keep on seeing her, and I'm gonna fix our marriage. Even if I have to do it alone." This is a great plan, Paul. Cathy appreciates it, but that still isn't the point. Paul can have Autumn and Winter and Spring, but the Summer is for Adam. "I need the summer, Paul. Just give me that. Please?"

She rushes out and finds Andrea, walking as promised past the UU church, with some gross slushie, atomically red, in her hand. "Do you have your license?" Yes, Andrea says, "But my picture sucks." She tells Andrea to get in and drive, and snatches the slushie away as they're trading seats, pouring it out on the asphalt: "Because I like you, Andrea." Cathy doesn't tell her not to say fuck this time, because she's in a hurry.

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The Big C




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