After driving crosstown during rush hour and hiking cross-country through parking lots, then careening down corridors to the Cancer Research Center, my wife turns to me and sighs, “I’m sorry, Honey. I don’t think you signed on for all this.”
I had heard those words before. Long ago and far away, in the eighth year of a marriage and eighth year of RP, my then wife succumbed. “I feel like I’ve lost my best friend,” she told me. “It’s not that you’re a person with blindness, it’s the person you’ve become. I didn’t sign on for this.” Her despair was exceeded only by my own, for I knew I was its cause.
We settle into waiting room chairs. “You’re right, Honey, I say. “Sickness and health weren’t part of our vows. As I recall, I pledged not to talk so much and you promised not to interrupt so much.”
“In music, they’d say I added harmony to your melody,” says my wife.
“You are the soprano to my basso, the Diva to my Lothario. And I’ll say this about sickness and health. I’ve learned a lot, especially from you. Cancer is not your fault. Blindness is not my fault. Only if we let them become our fault. As long as we work together, we’ll get through anything. Life is ten percent what happens to us and ninety percent what we do about it. I haven’t always done my best with blindness. I withdrew and isolated. But you, you’re out there doing it. I admire your strength, your resourcefulness and your honesty and I’ll do anything I can to support you. You have so many…”
“Honey,” says my wife, “the doctors are ready for us now.”
“Really? I didn’t hear them calling. I must have been…”
“Talking,” says my wife
“Hmmm, yes. Well, let’s get on with the show.” We rise and my wife leads me left and right and straight to Exam Room 12 for her second or third or, maybe fourth opinion. But who’s counting?