A thrilling and emotional story about cancer and love.
It took several texts and two phone calls to talk Destiny into agreeing to meet, again. They set up a lunch meeting at a small Italian restaurant near the hospital called Anthony’s. It was easy to find, especially with the aid of the GPS in the rented Toyota telling her where to turn. Twenty minutes early, Victoria parked and turned the car off. Twenty minutes seemed a bit excessive, a little too desperate, but she didn’t care. This might be the most important meeting of her life.
Light rain dotted the window, running down in little streaks in places. The speckling mesmerized her, blocking the view of the gray day outside. But the longer she watched the water drops, the more she thought they looked like teardrops forming and rolling down a glass face. Ten minutes till, a small red Kia parked a few spaces over. Through the rain and car windows, Victoria only saw the dark hair but felt it was her. Destiny opened the door and stood, looking like her picture, but worried, and wearing bright blue scrubs from work, with cartoon characters on them like she worked with children. She had that Latina beauty with thick, wavy hair and big hoop earrings, reminding Victoria of the in-crowd girls in high school who always looked like girls from Seventeen magazine. A chill hit her when she opened the door and stepped into the rain. “Destiny!” Victoria waved at her, trying to smile.
She strode toward her, hand out, and Destiny met her in front of the cars. “Nice to meet you, Destiny. Let’s go sit down and talk.” From the way they walked into the restaurant, it might have looked like a normal lunch meeting. Well, Victoria wore black slacks with a gray silk top while Destiny wore work clothes. Inside, the tables were almost full with business people on lunch and a few couples. No one did more than glance at them as they walked to their table, still she felt conspicuous eating with someone in hospital scrubs. After she ordered water, Victoria started what would probably be the most awkward conversation of her life by saying, “So, you’re a nurse?” “Yes, like my mother. And you?” “I head this tri-state region for Financial Incorporated.” She still loved saying that, even here. “Matthew and I have a son and a daughter. Do you have children?”
Her water arrived along with Destiny’s ice tea. She ordered a pasta dish, wondering if she’d be able to eat, but she wanted to put Destiny at ease. Destiny ordered a side salad. They were both slim, although Victoria was the tall, thin type while Destiny was slim with curves. Maybe she had to eat salads to stay that way.
“I don’t have children yet,” Destiny said, picking up the conversation. “I work with children, and that’s plenty for me right now.”
Because this woman had dated her husband, Victoria found herself comparing them. They were both brunettes with brown eyes, but Destiny’s hair was much lighter and fuller, and she had honey colored highlights. Just the opposite in texture, Victoria’s hair was almost black and very straight. She had to use all kinds of product or it looked thin. She did consider herself polished, however. The word sleek came to mind. But she wasn’t here to decipher her husband’s taste in women.“Do you remember that much about my husband?” she began.
“To be honest, no. Just that it was a brief moment in a summer long ago.” A brief moment? But one that apparently had a lasting impact, both in Matthew’s memory and now on his health.
“Well, do you remember…Matthew saying he loved you?” The words stuck like rotten honey in her mouth, yet she pushed on. “And then you informed him you had cancer.”
Destiny’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t really remember what happened that night at the meteor shower. I just remember he said he loved me, and we saw a really bright shooting star.”
“Now Matthew has terminal cancer.” She stopped, seeing the suspicion drain out of Destiny’s face for a minute, leaving sadness in her big, brown eyes. That passed quickly. She seemed to brace for the accusation so Victoria voiced it. “He believes he may have taken it from you fourteen years ago.”
Her eyes went wide for a second. She didn’t laugh, as Victoria had at first, but covered her mouth and then took a sip of tea. Destiny shook her head roughly. “That is ridiculous. It’s not even possible. It is just some horrible coincidence of fate.”
Without meaning to, or knowing she would, Victoria slapped her hand down on the table. Shocking Destiny was worth the stinging pain. “Then explain this! He wished to take your cancer, and now, despite being healthy, he’s sick. His entire family has a clean bill of health. He’s always exercised and ate right. He’s never smoked. There’s no cause for this. Except you.” That last word crossed the line. She searched for a way to take it back but Destiny cut her off.