It was a long while before Danielle spoke and when she did it was with a soft and tender tone I had never heard before, it was a motherly tone which caused the lump in my throat to swell and become harder to swallow.
“Come on honey, tell me what has happened?” Dani asked,
I was still picking crumbs from the muffin and didn’t answer straight away but when I did speak my voice was as cold as snow, my usually happy disposition lost amidst a sea of sadness which threatened to drown me.
“It’s my mum… she’s got cancer and there is nothing that can be done,”
“Oh my god Anna, I am so sorry, I couldn’t even imagine what you’re feeling….” Dani said, a sad look filling her eyes, “Is there any chance at all?”
I shook my head and more tears slipped down my cheeks. I took a gulp of tea to try and compose myself but it was no use, the truth of the matter is that my mother was terminally ill and I was thousands of miles away.
“What are you going to do Anna? Does Megan know?”
“No, I haven’t told her yet, I can’t get my head around it and I don’t know what I am going to do …. Go home I suppose, I have to be with my mum. I need to think and decide what I am going to do.”
“If you go home though you won’t be able to complete your year here,” Dani said sadly,
“I know but at this moment in time being here is not my priority. You understand that don’t you?”
“Yeah of course. I’ll miss you is all I meant,”
“I’ll miss you too Dani. But I don’t know what I am doing yet so don’t be upset. My mum might want me to stay.”
“Yeah I am sure she would but you wouldn’t listen …. She’s your mum and I know you would be kicking yourself if you didn’t go.”
“Yeah I know…” I replied sadly, gazing into the dark depths of my cup of tea almost as if by doing so, the answers to my dilemma would float to the surface.
If I thought that I had cried all the tears I could then I was wrong. Silent tears stained my face for the rest of the day, my eyes were puffy and red and sparkled with a constant flow of unshed tears. The one person I knew I needed to tell was Megan but I didn’t know how to tell her.
My brain was going into overdrive. If I told her it would mean me uprooting Megan yet again. She already moved all the way to America to be with me and now she has become settled again, was I really going to uproot her again? But then again it wasn’t as though I was doing it on purpose.
I tried my best to keep my composure when Megan arrived home from work that evening but I knew that my girlfriend would twig that something wasn’t quite right and she did. We had just eaten a light meal for tea as my appetite was none existent (I wonder why?) and Megan pulled me into a hug.
“I love you Anna,”
“I love you too Megan,” I said cuddling into her,
“And you know you can always talk to me about anything….”
“What makes you think there is anything the matter?” I asked, trying to sound inquisitive and not accusatory.
“Anna, I know you so well. You haven’t been yourself all day, you hardly touched your food and I can tell you have been crying.
“I have got some bad news to tell you Megan, really bad news” I said pulling my legs up to meet my chest and wrapping my arms around them as though to protect myself from whatever the world was going to throw at me next.
“It’s my mum…” I could feel my eyes pricking again the more I spoke, “She found a lump on her breast,”
“Is she okay Anna? What have they said about it? It could be benign…”
“It’s not Megan, its terminal cancer. She’s dying and there is nothing I can do about it!” I said breaking down in floods of tears once more. Megan pulled me close to her and kissed my head but not saying a word.
“Anna, I don’t know what to say! I am so sorry! What are you going to do?”
I took a few steadying breaths and looked at her,
“Well, I am going to have to go back to England…. I have to be with my mum. She won’t die when I am thousands of miles away from her, I won’t let her!”