Sunday, September 14, 2008

How Are You?

Last night we went to the wedding. We appear as a couple in public. We meet people we knew and people new to us. I talk to Bob seated on my right and meet his wife, Christine. He is 80 and she is 60. In making small talk about families and grown children he says, “Well, my children don’t come around much. Christine and I met while I was still married. I fell in love with her and left my wife. I wanted to be happy.” It was more than 20 years ago. We talk about their life and businesses and travels. They are quite happy. I tell him that John and I are in a similar situation. He asks, “Do people try to make you feel bad?” I say, “yes, sometimes.” and Bob says, “Well, fuck them.”

During the evening John and I talk with other guests.
When people say to John, “How are you?” There is a moment of calculation.
Do they know about the cancer or not?
Are they saying, “How are you—given that you have cancer?”
Is it simply, “How are you?” and now he has to tell them about the cancer.

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