A few days ago, Mike and I went to Dolores' to get my pickup; Mike wanted new tires on it before Winter. Dolores and Cindy had been using it for a few weeks to get Cindy & Tiffany moved into their new home, haul things from one house to the other, and to take a few loads to the city dump; 'stuff' they had finally admitted they could live without.
Dolores & I excused ourselves to the patio to have a quick smoke and cup of coffee while Mike remained inside watching a news program. We chit-chatted for a few then Dolores said to me, "Dorothy, Mike is so thin I didn't recognize him when I answered the door". She hadn't seen him for a few weeks because I usually go to her house because it's just easier for her.
I was shocked into realizing that I had adapted to the changes Mike has gone through since his cancer diagnosis last January. When we got back to our home, I looked at him and remembered; this is not the man who always stood tall and erect, that stance of a man trained in the military. Instead I saw a little old man, stooped beyond his years; I remembered his trim & mostly fit body and saw the how the size 31 Levis that he had worn for years hung off his body like a too-big sack; I looked at the jacket he always wears too keep warm even though the furnace thermostat is set way higher than is comfortable for me; I saw his once thick hair, thinned and dried from radiation and chemo, his once pink skin sallow and colorless, his eyes sunken and darkly circled from the pain he feels every minute of every day. I longed to hear the deep melodious voice I loved so much, knowing it is forever silenced. I have adapted to this because he has a backbone of steel, never complaining, just accepting what is, is. I love him more because of his strength but it would be a lie to say anything other than it hurts to adapt.