I feel as if I am looking at the world from the bottom of a well*
We walk on eggshells around eachother in the office.
The door to J~'s office is pulled, halfway closed. The lights aren't on in there.
His absence creeps across all of us like the disease that is trying to so hard to take him from us.
The four lawyers left here alternate between speaking in whispers to eachother, and freaking the f**k out in the privacy of our own offices, wondering what the hell is happening at the hospital 10 minutes away. Our doors are closed so much more than is normal. We are an office of sharers - our doors shut so that we can change a run in our hose, or meet with an upset client. Rarely do we shut eachother out. But, now....
He is the heart and soul of our small partnership. He is our moral compass. He is the only one who knows who owes us money, and how much. He is universally well-loved by each of us, by everyone, really, who knows him. Now his silly toys sit silently. His tiny remote control helicopter indefinitely grounded. Without his sense of humor animating them, they seem ridiculous. When he is here, they are hysterical.
I am his niece. The others pull me aside. "You have to keep it together. For Christ's sake, you have to keep it together. This is your obligation, to HIM, to J~, keep your shit together."
I nod, they hug me. Behind my closed office door I sink to the floor and cry into my knees.
My assistant takes files from my hand. "I will do this," she says, "and then this. Then you need to do that. Okay?" His assitant hands me things hesitantly, "Can you sign these? Can you answer this question? What should we do with x.y.z.?" I answer her, as best as I can. My voice doesn't sound right. How can I make decision for his clients? He is so much better at this than I am.
None of us can believe this is happening again.
He has slain this demon twice before. We are all holding our breaths, saying prayers of all shapes and sizes, that he will rise up triumphantly, again. That he will cut the head of this wretched, creeping killer, again, and raise it up triumphantly and throw it's corpse into the abyss. That he will lop off it's head, and that it will finally, finally stop stalking him.
Fuck cancer. FUCK cancer.
*Mike Doughty, Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well