Last week a man gave me a gift without knowing. I was on my first nightly venture since the diagnosis last March. It happened as I was walking down the aisle to find my seat at the symphony. My seat was five rows in front of my daughter’s and as she peeled off to the left to take her place, I yelled out, “Hey Wilton, meet me in the lobby at intermission.” I cupped my hand around my mouth and spoke in a voice much larger than a whisper, sort of right into a man’s ear.
This man, standing between my daughter and me turned and looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Wilton?” I said, “Yes, is that your name too?” He said, “No, but it could be, depends on what you’re offering.”
And in that brief interlude we laughed deep in our souls and we plunged into each other’s eyes and I was recreated feminine. Not a woman without breasts or a patient with cancer that has ravaged body, arms and lymph nodes, not someone unknown who has to repeat her birthday again and over, not a number in a clinical study or a subject whose blood pressure and pulse is measured each doctor’s visit. Certainly not a woman who is afraid to live and be beautiful. Never that.
His laugh, his light, his pleasure in the flirtation and the joke created a living testimony that despite all the treatment and dehumanizing experiences of this year, I am still a beautiful woman worthy of a flirtatious tryst. Still desirable and sparkling. As he gave me this gift of lightheartedness and laughter, I opened my heart and received. And he will never fully know the moment that passed between us but I will never forget it. Thanks be to God.