Florence makes a plan

Thirty days was not a long time. Sixty days to possibly live? Florence opened an excel file and made a calendar from a generic template. This won’t work. Florence printed the calendar and handwrote at the top Florence and Ellis’ Thirty Days. She was back home and day one was today. Ellis was at work to request off for the next twenty-nine days. As she walked to the gray sofa in their living room, the mirror in the hall caught Florence’s eye. She stopped and stared at her shrunken physique. Her peach colored skin was now translucent. I feel better than I look. The thought made Florence smile. She was right in all reality. She hadn’t hurt as much in her back, and her eyes weren’t as bloodshot as they had been in the past few weeks.

Florence realized that, as she fell into her couch with her notepad and calendar in hand, thirty days had to be carefully planned. When diagnosed, Florence thought about what would happen if she didn’t make it through this. She had internally made a list of all the things she would want to do that day the doctor told her about the cancer growing inside of her. However, that list escaped her now. Florence found herself trimming any traveling out of her calendar first unless it was with Ellis. Ellis would try to convince her otherwise, as her mother would be upset, but Florence wasn’t looking forward to being in a car, plane, or a boat with random people. Florence wanted to see all of the experiences she loved one more time, but with him.

By the time the calendar was completed, Florence realized Ellis would have new memories with Florence, which meant that Florence Bailey had to be perfect again for these memories to fit the idea she had molded. She called to plan, as only Florence could. The kayak, the motorcycle, the chartered fishing trip, the tickets to the zoo, and a trip to the beach with Roux; all were scheduled and ready. Every day was scheduled with a place for dinner, and some were scheduled with days to cook at home like they had always done. Written neatly at the bottom of the calendar was simply: “My goodbye party”. This would take careful planning. Florence scanned the calendar and found one day. “Planning day” was written in.

Finally, Florence walked to the wall by the television and pulled a thumb tack from the drawer in the entertainment center.  She placed he calendar on the wall, without concern for the hole it would leave once it was taken down.


Florence and Roux

Florence stirred in her bed. She had thrown up several times in Ellis’ truck and although Ellis was dismayed by the act of having to sanitize his floorboards, he calmly helped Florence out of the vehicle and into their loft. The sound of sniffing forced Florence to open her eyes. “What, my sweetheart?” She ran her fingers over the fur around Roux’s head. Roux was a seven year old boxer who was the epicenter to Ellis and Florence’s lives. Laying next to her as a concerned brother would lay next to his sister, Roux nestled his body and nose closer and closer to Florence until he could not any more. Florence smiled and moved herself to be a cocoon around the animal. His fawn coat was so perfectly placed on his body, with white spots and white socks. His eyes were encased in perfect black circles of fur. He was a beautiful being and more like a person, than “just a dog”.

After falling back asleep, suddenly Florence was moved by Roux jumping up to the sound of Ellis coming back in. Florence groaned as her muscles burned. Her joints felt inflamed and hard to move. Her head felt heavy and the pillow had offered little support. She had not drank in a very long time. This must be what a hangover feels like.

Florence dragged herself out of bed to walk to the living room. She tried to be graceful, but this was short lived, as she used her hands to follow the walls down the hallway. As soon as Florence saw the couch, a burst of energy filled Florence’s back and chest to propel her to the couch’s cushions. Ellis laughed behind her from the bar in the kitchen.

“Oh, I didn’t see you there!” She smiled. To laugh would have taken all her energy completely.

Florence tried to turn around and as she twisted her body, Florence saw black air and heard nothing else. Florence fell into the couch.