They were never the same after Beth told them the cancer that had started in her breast two years ago had relocated itself to her liver. Jo couldn’t stop thinking that it should have been her. She had much worse habits than Beth, who was perfect in a non-obnoxious way. Jo was haphazard about her exercise, had a weakness for Diet Coke and fried chicken–Beth was a vegetarian for Christsake!–and was pissed off pretty much all of the time. Amy couldn’t stop thinking about what she was going to do without Beth–the prognosis was not good, all of them knew that, although none of them said so, except Beth herself. Who was Amy going to call on those days when she couldn’t avoid examining the saggy-ness that had settle along her jawline–those facial exercises she’d been doing for six months were worthless. When a man she had slept with–more than twice!–transformed into a blank text message box she checked every hour, because every now and then a message came in and her watch didn’t vibrate against her wrist. Meg couldn’t stop cooking. Filling Beth’s fridge with BPA-free containers full of food, as if quinoa salad and homemade vegetable stock could cure cancer.
Only Beth seemed unchanged. Even after all her lovely reddish hair had fallen out–a parting gift from the chemo even the doctors didn’t seem that hopeful about. Beth remained cheerful–What the fuck? Jo thought. Who the hell is cheerful with cancer? And kind–Amy was embarrassingly aware she didn’t have it in her to be half that that kind, even on her best day. Playing her cello every afternoon until the nausea kicked in. Meg wondered what it would be like to love doing something so much, you’d keep on with it until you had to throw up.