It's raining and 71 outside. Delicious.
I sit on her porch, seeing my own from her neighborly perspective. I can feel the mosquitoes around my ankles (why there, where there is no juicy fat?). I'm listening with one ear, readying my escape, going through my mental rolodex of excuses when she drops those words, so heavily weighted into my lap.
"I've got cancer," she says, this little old lady across the street. "I've had 13 operations, but I'm living with it." Her cane rests against the bench next to her. I've seen how slowly she moves among her flowers and always assumed it was due solely to old age. Now I wonder about pain, about the creaking of bone on bone.
"God has been so good to me," she continues, smiling. "I have your friendship and this house, my garden and my grandchildren..." her voice fades. "I know the cancer's a bad thing, but look at all the good."
I'm dumbstruck, stupid, and I don't know what to say. "I had no idea," I finally utter, staring down at her old lady shoes. "I'm so sorry," I try, but she waves me away.
"We all go some way," she says, and I am pulled into her voice, as faded and tired as her eyes.
I forget the time and stop looking to my own house. I am wrapped up in her stories of neighbors and family and church until the fireflies come out, and she says she must get to bed.