When jaded and single Wall Street trader Nix Jones is suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer, an unexpected journey back in time proves just the salvation for her body and soul.
First appeared in May 2002 Issue #19 of Awe-Struck FLASH, the official newsletter of Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc.
© 2002 by Gracie C. McKeever
Nix Jones finished reading her obituary right before Doctor Foxworthy breezed into her room clapping his hands and licking his chops as if ready for seconds.
His attitude was entirely too flippant and eager to suit her. You'd think he was ready to cut into a big juicy steak and not about to lop off one of her breasts.
Nix reflexively palmed the offending appendage as if to protect it from the surgeon's greedy little carving equipment just as Doctor Foxworthy reached the side of her bed. He craned his head over the top of her newspaper to get a peek at what she was reading.
"What have we got our nose buried in there?"
"We are reading our obit."
"Now, now…" He plucked the paper from her hand, scanned the page quickly as if to discredit or confirm.
Nix knew the exact moment he caught sight of her name when he gaped.
"Nix Jones" wasn't that common a handle so seeing it in print under Death Notices was a shock despite several essential elements separating her from the dearly departed, the least of which were three kids and a husband.
Nix was happily single and childless.
Well, perhaps not that happy, and she didn't expect the upcoming surgery to make her any more so once the good old slice-and-dice team worked their magic.
One Breast. In a few hours she would have just one breast. Never had a body part held so much importance for her as it did right now at the thought of its imminent loss.
Nix closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to calm herself. She would not be a victim.
"Well, uh…I'll be." Doctor Foxworthy cleared his throat, closed and folded the paper in half before placing it on the bedside table.
Nix gave him brownie points for trying to hide his embarrassment.
"I thought you had better tastes, Nix Jones."
"You'd have me read the Dow Jones and Nasdaq and really lift my spirits?"
"I think the Street can survive one day without you."
She arched a brow. "But will I?"
Doctor Foxworthy pulled up a chair, took a seat, and presented his serious and sensitive medical man pose.
Nix stared at him, tried to ignore the echo of finality thumping against her chest like dirt pitched onto a coffin. She'd held out this long, had faced Bulls and Bears on the Street as fierce as Doctor Foxworthy's scalpel. She would not crumble now.
Besides, this could be looked at as a good thing. She'd never felt particularly comfortable with that area of her body, had been contemplating breast reduction for years. Not as much as a mastectomy, of course, just a few nips and tucks to stop her feeling so self-conscious. Leave it to her to walk the crooked and wide while everyone else was outfitting themselves with the Miracle Bra and Silicone, she wanted to take some off the top. Well wasn't that special.
Nix smiled at the absurdity and received an answering smile in return.
Doctor Foxworthy reached over and squeezed her hand. "That's the spirit. You're going to get through this with flying colors."
If you say so.
Nix tuned out as he launched into his pre-op spiel and laundry list of dos and what to expects, and his team rolled in a gurney to retrieve her.
She sang a jaunty Rod Stewart tune-"Do You Think I'm Sexy"-in her head, blocked out the doctor's words with a memory of her mother and younger brother, first time she had thought about either of them in years.
The team transported her to the OR, all very fast and efficient-too fast for Nix's tastes. The place froze her blood, the light sliced her retinas, and the bustling unbalanced what little equilibrium she had left.
She'd just been getting the hang of her daydream too, dang.
The anesthesiologist leaned into her field of vision, menacing mask in place as he introduced himself in a decidedly pleasant and non-menacing tone then mumbled something in her ear about dancing with the fairies and Devin in La La Land.
How did he know about Devin?
And why did he have on big bunny ears?
Wow, she hadn't even felt the needle go in. "You're good, skewy wabbit."
His eyes smiled-familiar and young-mask moving as he chuckled behind it.
The next thing Nix knew, she was crashing.
* * *
"Nix, how many fingers am I holding up?"
Where are the bunny ears? "Three."
"You're going to be fine."
"Hmph." Nix licked her lips-tried to extract the cotton from her mouth-doubted every word. "'S cold in here."
"We'll have you someplace warm and comfortable very soon."
"Did they get it all?"
"Nothing to get."
What did he mean? Had it spread irretrievably? Did she need more surgery?
The room was silent for several long minutes before Nix realized that she had closed her eyes and was alone.
Dreaming, she'd been dreaming about the faith healer again, touching Devin, unable to make him well. Liars and charlatans all. But it hadn't stopped her momma from believing and taking them to the revival services every weekend in the hopes that the preacher or one of his disciples would lay hands on her boy.
Nix used to want to be saved, would sit on her knees in the front pew on the left, facing the back doors, waiting for the time in the service when one of the old ladies in the congregation would fall out in the aisle, foaming at the mouth and speaking in tongues with the holy ghost.
She raised a hand now to the affected area, surprised when she felt her breast-soft, round and intact.
Nix opened her eyes, saw the anesthesiologist for the first time since he'd put her under in the OR. She recognized his eyes, knew now why they seemed familiar.
He was the faith healer from her Momma's church.
"It was Devin's time, Nix."
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