The first thing he noticed was those deep dark eyes that once again seemed to be looking right through him. The second thing was the grim expression on her face. He chose to ignore it and walked right up to her.
“Hello Amelia. It’s nice to see you again.”
She locked up his eyes in hers and said nothing at first then she raised her hand and touched his cheek, closing her eyes as she did. He stood motionless, shocked by such an unexpected gesture. She dropped her hand and turned her head to one side for a moment before addressing him.
“Hello Colin. How are you feeling?”
He considered the question for a moment. This is a cancer support group he thought. Of course, I need to remain in character.
“Well, I’ve been rather tired of late but I suppose I’m doing all right all things considered. How about yourself?”
The group leader called the meeting to order and Amelia went and sat down without another word, leaving Colin to do the same. It went the same as the time before and again when it came Amelia’s turn to contribute she declined and the next person in the circle began.
Colin considered what he should do. He was next and he needed a quick decision. He glanced at Amelia and she was looking right at him. He made up his mind. The facilitator addressed him.
“Colin, would you care to share with the group?”
He cleared his throat and began. “Hello everyone. I have cancer. It’s terminal and I’m not sure how much longer I have, but not long I suspect. I’m not doing too badly for now, though I have bad spells. I’ve been really tired of late. I don’t know what else I can say.”
Someone asked what type of cancer he had. He had an answer ready.
“Well, I have Lymphoma and I – “
“No you don’t.”
He was taken aback by the interjection, as was the rest of the room. Everyone except Amelia.
The group leader was looking at her. “Amelia, what is the meaning of this?”
“He doesn’t have Lymphoma. Simple as that.”
He cleared his throat and gave her a disapproving look. “Colin, please continue.”
Colin was flustered but did his best not to show it. “I’m finished. Please, let’s move on.”
The next person took their turn as Colin tried to catch Amelia’s eye but she wouldn’t look at him. At break time he made no pretence, he walked straight over to her.
“What was that about?”
She studied him for a moment. “You really don’t know, do you? I feel sorry for you Colin. You haven’t got long, you seem to know that much, and yet you don’t know the truth. I can’t quite fathom it.”
He wanted to ask what she was on about but the dream was on his mind all at once.
“Tell me something, what do you know about tarot?”
She shrugged. “Not a lot. I don’t need it. I have other ways of knowing.”
“Colin, you should see your doctor. I would do it very soon if I were you. I would treat the matter with urgency.”
“I did see my doctor a week ago. I had a physical, I…”
He remembered the letter he had received but hadn’t opened yet. He felt a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach and leaned against the wall.
“Not feeling well? You’re very pale. Can I get you some water?”
He ran to the door and then down the stairs. As the cool night air hit his face he felt chilled to the bone. He rushed to his car and got in and reached for the letter lying on the seat. He tore it open with trembling fingers and read it.
Dear Mr. Baker:
I need to see you as soon as possible. The results of your blood test reveals a highly elevated white blood cell count and is of grave concern. Please call at once to let us know when you can come in.
Dr. Ian Scott
Colin let the letter slip from his fingers and stared straight ahead into the starless night sky.