The Big C

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The Three Cathy Jamisons

Cathy's eyes brim over. A little fear, a little shame. A little bit of love. She waited so long for the question and then when it came she didn't even get to answer it. She feels naked in front of Marlene and she knows that they are connected now, forever. It makes her angry and it makes her happy and it makes her terribly, terribly afraid.

In Fort Lauderdale, with the lights down low and piƱa coladas, with their feet on Thomas and their eyes on the ceiling, Marlene nods. "Cancer," she says, "Is a motherfucker."

Cathy nearly laughs. Some people say it's a gift. They sit in silence for a little while, thinking about death. "You know you can't hate black people, right?" Marlene doesn't. "I just need to get angry sometimes."

Just one Cathy Jamison in the room now, with Marlene and Thomas the dog, smoking a cigarette, with no secrets at all. Protecting nobody, hiding nothing. It's almost too bright to look at, so they don't. Marlene and Cathy can't quite look at each other, as they agree that just because they're friends now doesn't mean they're friends or anything. That they were both built for two. That they have found their people. That anger is excellent.

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The Big C

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