“Hmm,” Alfred said distractedly.
“I hear the robins,” she said, “It’s warmin’ up too.”
Alfred looked at her wrapped in her multiple jackets with the cast off coat on top. She’d lost enough weight that they all hung limply on her. Again he wished he could buy her a new coat. They would never get ahead. He glumly surveyed the sidewalk in front of him. Discouragement settled on his shoulders more heavily than it had all winter.
Inside the waiting room he looked at his hands while Donna knitted and talked with the woman sitting next to her. Donna had taken up knitting to pass the time at all of her doctor appointments and the hours in the car between Battle Mountain and Reno. The only thing she knew how to make was scarves. She had made three scarves for Alfred, two for Amy and seven for Kenny. What a baby needed with seven scarves, Alfred wasn’t sure.
Alfred rose when Donna did and followed her into the doctor’s office. He hadn’t heard them call her name.
They sat across from Dr. Michaels. The doctor was smiling, but Alfred wasn’t hearing what he was saying. Instead, Alfred was studying the plant in the window. The plant was dying. It didn’t bode well for a doctor to not even be able to take care of a plant.
Then Donna was smiling and she clapped her hands together, then reached over and grasped Alfred’s hand.
“It’s really remarkable,” the doctor said, “We’ve been very fortunate.”
“Fortunate?” Alfred asked.
“Haven’t you been listenin’?” Donna said, “The doc says the cancer’s gone.”
“We think it’s gone,” the doctor said. “You’ve responded very well to treatments and we caught it early enough that we were able to successfully remove the mass. The tests all look really promising. Of course we’ll want to see you back in three months for a follow up. If there’s still no cancer we’ll see you six months from then. We’ll keep an eye on things, but I’d say, everything is looking very encouraging.”
“I guess you can’t get rid of me,” Donna crowed. She was happier than Alfred had seen her in months. He was still trying to process what had been said.
They left the office and when they got to the car, Donna said, “It’s almost lunch time. Let’s go have lunch at the Nugget.”
Ordinarily they would have grabbed burgers at a drive thru but they felt like celebrating. They both decided they wanted chicken fried steak.
They went to John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks which was their favorite. When the waitress came to the table, Alfred noticed a green shamrock pinned to her white shirt. “Is it St. Patrick’s Day?” he asked wonderingly.
“That’s right!” Donna said, “St. Patrick’s Day. I’d completely forgotten!”
Alfred smiled across the table at Donna, his best friend and the love of his life. Donna was cancer free.
“It’s our lucky day,” Alfred said, reaching across the table for Donna’s hand. “I’m the luckiest man alive.”
Donna had a twinkle in her eye, she pulled a wrinkled $5 bill out of her purse. She handed it to Alfred. “Let’s find a Keno runner and we’ll put some money on number 17.”
“Do you need more time?” the waitress asked, bringing them back to the present.
“Nope,” Alfred said, “Two chicken fried steaks for the two luckiest people in the world.”
Thanks for reading this week's story! We hope you have a very lucky St. Patrick's Day!