AA-meetings – Chapter 17: Achievement



“Are you sure this is, like, hygienically safe for you to be here?” Amy asks while throwing a terrified look around.

She remembers the hematologist saying something about keeping clear from environments that could make her sick. A farm definitely could make you sick if you touch just enough animals. 

She walks through the sand on high heels and it’s not comfortable. Why are they even here? Seriously, the blonde can’t remember ever setting foot on an actual animal-keeping, wheat-growing, dungarees-acceptable farm.

Alex mocks her words and drags her along to one of the stables. They took a three hour drive to get here. She will not be bothered by what Dr. Cullers ordered her to do.

“Stop whining. Help me get in here,” she orders the blonde while pointing at a big barn-door.

Now the thing is, Amy’s not the model-ish type like Alex. She doesn’t get a manicure two times a week or spends an hour in the bathroom before leaving the house to get a simple cup of coffee. She does, however, wish not to touch anything that might have animal feces on it. But one look at her wife and the memory of her excruciating battle the last few months comes flashing in front of her eyes. She lays her hand on the door handle and pulls it open like it’s nothing.

Alex’s hair is slowly starting to grow back. The dose of pills she’s getting now is kinder and her body seems to react less aggressive. Still, she’s wearing a wig. Alex can’t stand walking around with her fluffy hair. She’s way too proud to show her illness to the world. Amy lets her. If this makes her feel even the slightest bit better, so be it. If milking a freaking cow will make her happy, she’ll do it – and she’ll fucking smile while being at it.

The farmer, an old fart with way too much love for mother Nature, welcomes them and Alex just explodes from joy. His hair is grey and messed up. Must be from working all day.

“Hello, girls. Are you Alex, the girl that called me last night?”

The delight on her face is worth a million dollars. This might be the first person in years that doesn’t recognize her immediately. She decides to keep her fame a mystery and nods, completely settling in to the unanimous lifestyle.

“Yes. I would love for you to teach me how to milk a cow,” she proudly announces.

It is, without a doubt, the craziest thing that ever came out of her mouth and Amy starts laughing secretively. The farmer takes it serious, though, and takes her hand as he guides the overly-dressed model through the stables that are covered in hay and straw. Amy stands by and watches the spectacle from a distance. She is not feeling this whole reconnecting to nature thing. Not with everything that’s going on. Not with finding the good moments in between the mood swings Alex’s treatment automatically triggers.

“Really, Alex?” she scoffs while noticing that her wife is more than excited about it.

Somehow, she always doubted the determination when it came to actually going through with this part of her bucket list. Why? You don’t see a supermodel crawling under a cow every day, do you? Alex winks at her and gestures to come and help.

“Do you really want me to milk a cow, babe?” she jokes while closing the gap between them as if she’s walking on fire. “How gay must you be to be wanting to pull a bunch of nipples at once?”

The farmer seems less conservative than expected, because he secretly smiles over the comment. After a few explaining instructions, Alex is up. Time to fulfill that dream. The second she puts her fingers on the soft udder of the giant beast standing next to her, she shrieks with excitement.

This is one of these moments in life when she realizes just how girly and gibberish a woman is capable of getting. The cow moves a feet and Amy jumps aside, slightly fearing for her life. The farmer tries to assure her, but it’s not really helping.

“How do you come up with these things?” Amy wonders out loud when she decides to have a try at it as well.

It’s weirdly soothing to be this close to nature. The second she lays her hands on the teats, she stops herself from comparing them to Alex’s, because that’s just way out of line. Instead, her best attempts prove to be very successful. There’s milk. And it’s actually a great experience.

“I have cancer cells floating through my entire body,” Alex tells her so at ease it could’ve been a joke. “It works in mysterious ways. Sometimes I see pink elephants.”

She’s bend over and levels Amy’s head. They stare at the cow’s udder and realize just how absurd this situation is.

“Really?” Amy asks her while licking her upper lip, all concentrated.

She knows a lot about the things that are going through the Latina’s mind. They talk for hours about the treatment and the effects that the illness has on her body.

But it turns out that the model’s just joking: “No, I wish.”

Another week at the hospital has gone by. It was easier. Dr. Cullers has been video chatting with Dr. De Weerdt in Belgium and they decided to try a milder form of chemo for the next couple of weeks. It was a pleasant change for Alex, because she feels a lot better than last time. But that doesn’t change the fact that she ends up being moody. Fighting cancer is hard either way. It’s never a fucking joke. Sadly, that translates to the direct group of friends and family.

On her way out of the hospital, she refuses to sit down in a wheelchair. Amy charmingly tries to talk her into it, but it backfires. Everything always backfires lately. It’s frustrating. Neither George, nor David is there to help the supportive Amy. She sights annoyingly. It’s getting harder and harder not to lose her patience, but the second her frustration is about to erupt, she looks at her wife and witnesses the physical destruction that has hit her. And then she calms down. Because she’ll never win when it comes to moral reasoning.

“Shall I carry the bag?” she softly proposes after noticing how much Alex is struggling just by walking across the room.

She’s exhausted, but of course, there’s no way in life she’ll ever admit to it.

“No,” Alex refuses, as predicted. “I’m fine carrying a bag.”

But Amy acts as if she hasn’t heard the response and walks out of the room with the heavy piece in her hands. Alex is quick enough to follow her and confront her with the obvious ignoring that’s going on.

“Give me the bag,” she orders her wife, immediately angered.

But Amy says it’s fine. It really it. Besides: it’ll be too heavy for Alex. It’s just something she’ll never say out loud, because that’ll ignite a giant, vase-throwing fight.

They make their way through the hospital with a nagging Alex barely able to catch her breath after a few minutes. Amy keeps telling her she’s okay with carrying it for her.

“Give me the damn bag!” Alex suddenly shouts from a distance.

It startles Amy and her body stops moving immediately. Frustration is one of those feelings that haven’t left their bodies ever since they discovered the illness again. Alex is much more expressive about that.

People are staring at them. Some recognize the famous model and notice just how sick she’s looking. Also, they learn that there’s a fight going on. The blonde’s had enough of the aggressiveness sneaking up on her relationship and drops the bag with a loud bang.

“Fine,” she tells her all worked up. “Carry your own damn bag.”

Alex walks over to her, picks it up very confidently and suddenly feels the weight. But stubborn as she is, she starts making her way toward the front door. The tension can be read off Alex’s shoulders, though. She’s moving in a stiff way, determined to hang on. It’s heavy. Too heavy for her to handle. It takes her a few seconds before it gets too much and she painfully gets confronted with her lack of energy. A couple of months ago, this would’ve been the easiest job in the world. Up until that moment, she visited the gym nearly every day and pressed the benches like a pro.

Her fingers search for the support of a nearby reception desk. Her body is caving in. There’s a decision to be made: carry on or fall apart. Amy has stopped moving the second Alex yelled at her. She’s watching her from a distance and painfully awaits the next phase of the radically proud behavior. She desperately wants to believe that the Latina can do this. So desperately it makes her heart pound. But they both know she can’t.

When Alex drops the bag and moves on like it isn’t important to take home, she does it with such faked flair that bystanders don’t notice a thing. Of course the blonde does. She sees the embarrassment flowing from her small posture. And so she swallows her own pride and resumes the chase of her wife, only to bend over and pick up the bag on her way out. She throws it in the back of the car and takes place behind the steering wheel. When she looks to the person seated on the passenger spot, Alex’s ashamed and disappointed face breaks her heart. Tears get wiped away as quickly as they appear. Amy turns the key around and drives home – without saying a word. That night, Alex falls asleep in Amy’s arms.

Everything leads to the point that Alex can’t stop wondering about life after all of this. Make no mistake: she’s determined to fight. Despite her bad behavior – she’s well aware of how she’s treating everyone around her, it’s just that she can’t help it – she’s fighting for the ones she loves. Because a life with all her friends and family, that’s the most precious dream to her. Forget the modeling, forget the photoshoots and the fame. Her love for Amy, her bond with her pack of wolves, they matter. They are all that matters. It’s just that this venom inside of her brings out the worst of her personality. It numbs the compassionate aspect, the part where she’s supposed to be grateful until infinity. And man, does it spark her bitchy side.

George comes over to keep an eye on his weakened daughter while Amy’s at work. She’ll be gone for a few hours. He doesn’t mind having some alone time with his little girl. She spends most of the day on her tablet or smartphone. She switches channels every other second because she gets bored or video chats with her model friends who have a minute to kill in between shoots.

“How are you feeling, kiddo?”

She leans back and pushes off the blanket To her, that’s an achievement.

George’s been through all of this with her before. Now it’s different. Now Amy’s here to take over a huge part of his responsibilities. His little girl is not the same girl that lay her fragile body in his strong daddy-arms when she was at her worst in Belgium. She’s married now. Married and acting like a complete bitch to her precious wife, but that’s actually part of the process. George tried to explain it to his daughter-in-law earlier. How Alex even dared to yell at him until he walked out of the room crying when it happened the first time. How he didn’t like it, but endured it anyway.

“Daddy. Sit down, please,” she asks him, patting softly on the empty spot next to her. “I want to ask you something.”

He does as he’s told and gently strokes her skinny leg in a loving way while she rinses her mouth.

“Tell me about mom, please. I wonder … I can’t stop thinking about what’s next,” she starts nervously.

The mom part was always pretty simple to her. She died after Alex was born. George always told her what a beautiful spirit she had and how she looks so much like her. Pictures prove him right. He lowers his bald head and takes a deep sigh. She is craving for some answers now. Craving to know what her mom will be like when she dies.

“Do you think she’ll like me?” she softly asks.

It’s the thing that keeps her up at night. Because she knows just how crazy Amy is about her. And she has experienced the support and love from her family ever since she was born. But her mom is the one person she never had a chance to impress – the woman remains a mystery.

George’s eyes flare up and he demonstrates a charming smile: “She won’t like you, Alex. She’ll love you.”

But her hand quickly grasps on to his sleeve, like she’s about to explode with fear and anxiety.

“I’m afraid to die, dad. I’m so afraid to die. Last time, I … I thought about it and it scared me. But now.”

She isn’t even looking at him. Her eyes are focussed on the pictures on the nearby cabinets. The AA-meetings.

“Now it’s, like, life has too much to offer to let go. And I’m not getting a lot better. My blood values are not going up and I’m scared to leave all of this behind. To leave Amy. I can’t leave her again.”

He puts his hand on hers and sighs. Not even this professor has the words to soften the fear that’s rushing through her mind.

“There’s something you need to know. I never told you this, but before your mom and I got pregnant from you, we had a miscarriage,” George surprises her with a secret from the past.

It’s like he needs to tell her now before it’s too late. Because he understands the feeling his daughter has when she’s thinking about Amy. He felt the same about her mom. And now he’s feeling that way about her. Alex is thrown off for a while and can’t do anything but look at her father.

“It was a baby boy. We were going to call him Emilio. But sadly, he wasn’t meant for life on this earth, and passed straight on to heaven. At that time, David was about to be born. And your aunt Jen hadn’t passed yet. Everything was so different from what it is now. So surreal, looking back. Everyone was happy, the worse thing that had ever happened to us was losing that little boy of ours. So when we got pregnant again, I was so ecstatic. So out of my mind happy that we got offered another chance. And then you were born and your mother got sick. And instead of being simply, normally, just perfectly happy,” he says with his hand stretched out, like the memory is there to grab, “I was torn between devastation and utter joy. I lost your mom that day. I lost the love of my life, but in return her magnificence got traded with exactly the same thing: you.”

Alex never really heard her father say a lot about her mother’s dead. And when he did, he normally explained it to her in a PhD-format, with thought-through life lessons hidden underneath the surface and a monotonous tone. But now he’s finally done filtering his emotions out of his memories and she’s the receiver. His shaking hands make her taste tears in her mouth. It makes her throat dry as hell. Her father’s too carried away to notice.

“I accepted your mother’s loss by picturing your birth as the … the purpose of life for me. I’d raise you to be a good girl, be a fun dad, have meaningful conversations with you and order you to read a book once in a while. I’d love you, no matter what, because that’s what your mom would’ve done. You were the purpose of my life. And now you’re …”

“You can say it, daddy. I’m dying.”

He swallows deeply while attempting to nod so strongly that it looks abnormal. She’s not allowed to say that to him. There’s still a chance. Though he has to accept: it has crossed his mind on occasions.

“And I don’t know what to think of it now. There’s nothing to understand after you’ll be gone – to justify the loss. I’ll have no son, no wife and no daughter and that’s the scariest thing that ever crossed my mind.”

The young girl in front of him has no words to utter, not even a silly ‘I know’, and gets worried for a second. If even she doesn’t know what to respond anymore, how can anyone else? The only logical thing that eventually crosses her mind, after rational consideration, is putting her arms around his aging neck. The second she does, the sound of his deep inhalation deafens her ears temporarily. She’s daddy’s little girl. That has always been part of her purpose of life.

“So you see, you have to survive this. Because apart from Amy, there are other people that need you to live. So promise me you’ll fight,” he whispers near her face.

She nods and promises without saying a word.

“I wish we could go back to you pushing the swing,” she sighs through warm tears. “Everything was just so …”

He can’t even describe the simplicity of things back then. It all came so naturally that nobody even stopped and thought about it.

Her dad understands what she’s talking about, though: “I know.”

Later that night, Amy arrives at the apartment and George heads home after tenderly kissing his daughter’s forehead a few times in a row. The Latina walks him out, though it exhausts her. Just a few more weeks and she should feel better. At least, that’s how it went last time.

The emotions he displayed today have shaken her up completely. There’s no way out but crying. She needs to, now that he’s gone. Amy’s in the bathroom, changing into something more comfortable and trying to get rid of the stress of work today. Secretly, she’s so happy to go there every day. Because it makes her stop thinking and worrying about Alex for just a few hours. She feels normal, for just a moment. Is it selfish? She wonders a lot. Her friends say it isn’t, but that doesn’t make the feeling go away.

When she walks out of the room and into the living room area, she notices Alex leaning against the doorway where she kissed her father goodnight a few minutes earlier. She stops walking immediately and counts the tears that roll down the goddess’ cheeks. It breaks her heart. Alex realizes she’s near and puts a hand in front of her mouth to cover up her weeping face. But nothing can stop her wife to walk over to her and offer a shoulder to try and soften the emotional roller coaster that’s taking control of her life right now. Because Amy can’t handle seeing her cry. She can’t handle feeling helpless and unnecessary. If her tight hugs and loving soothing might help her cope with whatever that’s going on just a little bit, it’ll make her feel like a hero.

When Amy gets home from the airport, she’s worried sick. Alex hasn’t answered her text messages in hours. She and Susan had to go to Boston for two days, just to figure out some casting problems of the show they’re working on. Alex forced her to go. She told her it’d be good for her. In all honesty, the model has been feeling a lot better lately. Her skin looks less pale, her eyes sparkle again and the level of energy inside her small body seems to have gotten an upgrade. It pleases her a lot to see Alex like this. So, just to make her happy, she went. The last flight up, the earliest flight back.

As soon as she’s opening the door, there’s loud music blasting through the air. She runs over to the sound installation and presses the mute button, only to stare around the emptiness of the place seconds later. What the hell is going on?

“Alex?” she shouts.

Suddenly, the model appears, wrapped in some weird combination of sweats and tank tops. Nobody could ever tell she’s wearing a wig. It’s the exact replica of her own hair. That makes her look gorgeous as always, even with the illness radiating off her makeup-free skin.

“Amy!” she enthusiastically shrieks. “Hi!”

It’s clear she’s having a good day today. But the blonde stares at her patiently and doesn’t say a word, even after Alex runs over to her to passionately kiss her on the mouth. The Latina wraps her arms around her wife’s body and softly moans when they part. It’s pure joy. Then, she steps back and starts pointing out just how great she’s feeling. Her eyes are widely opened and the smile she’s carrying is dazzling.

“I danced in my underwear across the living room today,” she tells her. “Tried to do that Tom Cruise thing on my socks, but I fell. I’m okay now.”

Amy’s shocked by how much sugar rush is happening in front of her. The speed of Alex’s words almost makes her dizzy. Before she can comment on any of that new information, Alex starts rambling again. In the meanwhile, she’s pacing back and forth the place, like she’s on speed or something.

“And I played hot lava – might have accidentally knocked over a few lamps during the game. Oh, and then I ate ice cream on the kitchen floor until I almost had to throw up.”

Her words express so much pride that it makes Amy giggle.

“Without me?” she asks insulted.

But Alex doesn’t even respond. She just remembers the thing that came next.

“Oh, and I got a tattoo.”

That makes Amy’s jaw drop. What did she just say?

“I’m bored,” Alex suddenly realizes, while nervously looking around. “Let’s have sex.”

But Amy’s stuck in her last confession: “You got a what? Are you kidding me? When?”

She walks over to her over-active lover and makes her stop moving.

“This morning, with Silvie! It was awesome, I almost fainted. I feel so badass.”

“You just contradicted yourself in one stroke of air,” Amy informs her.

But Alex just smiles. For fuck’s sake, she smiles. For a second, the blonde is compelled to ask whether or not Silvie – AKA the notorious drug addict – has slipped her a pill or two, but the trust she has in her wife stops her from doing so. This is the ice cream talking. Alex hasn’t had any sugar in weeks. At least, not this much at once.

She’s not mad about the tattoo. Well, at least not a lot. It’s probably not even the right time to yell at her or something. It’d be rude, ruining Alex’s great day.

“What is it?” she wonders out loud.

Alex puts both hands on Amy’s neck and kisses the side of her lips softly before the explanation begins.

“Well, it’s a very symbolical warrior princess surrounded by a lot of dates.”

“Dates?” Amy wonders.

“Yes. When I first found out I had cancer, the day we got married and the day I found out I should enjoy every single moment like it could be my last. I’ll use that last one as a valid argument as to why I didn’t call you during this spontaneous epiphany.”

Amy carries an evil smirk while crossing her arms amusingly: “Oh, I see, first use of the cancer card, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” Alex admits while dramatically closing her eyes and pressing her lips tight. “And I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, there will be many more shameless incidents.”

Her wife heaves a doubtful sigh and doesn’t question it.

“Smart ass. All right, let me have a look at this … side effect of your chemo.”

Alex starts jumping around and subsequently starts lowering her sweatpants until her panties appear. The curiousness inside of Amy starts to grow.

“You’ll be pleased,” the model assures her, “I put it on a very sexy spot.”

It’s like she’s waiting for Amy to make the discovery on her own. Lately, there hasn’t been a lot of sexy times for the girls. In between the hospital visits and constantly being sick, sex wasn’t a priority, for neither of them. But Alex can’t shake the memories of how well they work together in bed, how Amy’s touch can lighten the most severe pain. She pulls her wife closer to erase the gab between them and kisses her long and deep. Amy’s desire starts to grow and she coughs to regain consciousness for a while.

“Are you sure about this?” she asks, picking up the pieces and putting them together.

Alex’s lips travel down her face and they lick and suck on Amy’s collarbone until she starts gasping for some fresh air. Her teeth leave red marks on her skin.

“You know, that’s the most beautiful jumpsuit I’ve ever seen. Let’s get it on the ground as quickly as possible,” the dark-haired beauty suggests.

Amy chuckles and walks her back to the couch.

“You really think you’re hilarious, don’t you.”

“Shut up, you think so too.”

She unbuttons the jumpsuit and steps out of it. Before lying down next to her lover, Amy grabs a pen out of her purse. She hands it over to Alex, who has already stripped down to her underwear, and orders her to write something on her hip.

“Like what?” Alex asks all surprised.

Amy lays down on top of her and while grinding suggestively against Alex’s core, she kisses her so passionately that both their lips turn white. The girl is skinnier than ever, but no other person in the world can take the place of ‘Most Gorgeous’ in Amy’s mind.

“Like how you feel about me now?” she elaborates. “But nothing too dirty.”

She sits back up and watches the sexual frustration shoot through Alex’s body like a fever. The Latina takes a moment to think about an appropriate description and starts writing gently on the soft skin of her wife.

‘I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.’ it says when Amy looks down on it.

Robert N. Munsch’s words. Words she had read to her a long time ago, late at night, in bed. The Latina remembered them. A heart-warming feeling of love takes over and she’s close to tearing up after rereading it a second time.

“I’m going to that tattoo parlor tomorrow and I’m going to order them to tattoo this handwritten message on me. I want you on me,” Amy explains.

Touched by the idea, Alex travels her fingers over the text gently. But then the look in her eyes shifts and she regains her naughty stare.

“And I want you in me,” she playfully replies.

Exhausted after the lovemaking, they fall asleep. It happens a lot that Alex barely opens her eyes during the day. When it’s bad, Amy is right next to her, to spend an eternity in bed. There’s no sexuality involved, just the fact that they’re together, even if it’s just to sleep or cuddle.

An hour later, Alex wakes up, alone. She hears Amy in the distance, singing under the shower. The girl is trying really hard to maintain the pen print of Alex on her skin, so she’s washing everything but that place on her hip. Alex listens to the sound of the singing. Magical. Today was simply magical.

It’ll be short-lived, this perfect bliss. Next week is the next part of the treatment. She’ll be in hospital for at least three days. But that’s not right now, or right here. And right now and right here are perfect. Her eyes travel down her skin. There’s a blanket draped over her naked body. She crawls up and suddenly realizes that her body hasn’t fully recovered yet. Walking around on a sugar rush is one thing, having passionate sex like bunnies is another. She yawns and stretches out, until something catches her attention. It’s her boobs. And something on them.

‘Thanks for fucking my brains out. Love, Amy.’

Her eyes flare up to the pen that’s on the coffee table next to her. She starts laughing enthusiastically and shakes her head as if she can’t believe Amy did that do her in her sleep.

“Peggy died,” Alex softly mumbles after putting down the phone she’s held against her ear for ten minutes.

Amy looks up from her laptop and momentarily escapes the television world: “Who?”

“Peggy. She was in the room next to me at the hospital the first time I stayed there.”

A few months ago. Suddenly, Amy remembers. She was the one with the pink pajamas. Always smiled, even at her worst.

“Oh, God. That’s horrible.”

But Alex shrugs in a weird way: “I guess. I mean, not everyone survives, right?”

The lack of compassion startles Amy. Maybe she’s just too upset about it to act rationally. Maybe it frightens her to the bone to end up the same way. It somehow has that effect on Amy.

“Do you want to go to her funeral?” she asks silently. “I mean, there might be people that you know.”

Alex’s eyes flare up at her and not in a good way. She’s obviously trying to fight off all the feelings that death and funerals bring along. She’s lying on the couch, dressed in a comfortable set of pajamas.

“I don’t have cancer friends,” she emphasized. “I don’t talk to the others on the floor. Peggy was an exception. She brought me cookies.”

Trying not to join the obvious prelude to an argument, Amy deeply inhales before replying: “That was nice of her.”

Alex remains quiet. All she does is nod, but so subtly and dazzled that it doesn’t seem to mean anything. She’s been shutting Amy out lately. The chemo treatments keep coming. The doctor told her her cells don’t seem to respond to the injections and pills. It scares her. Tremendously. And so, in true Alex style, she suppresses her feelings. The therapist she visits once a week is the only one who is allowed to shed a light on the coping mechanism of the model. Well, until last week. She had a massive outburst of anger and ran out to never return again. Amy doesn’t know it yet.

“Honey, why don’t you go over there more often, talk to the patients. It could help,” Amy attempts, choosing her words so carefully that it pains her.

There used to be a time when she could say anything to Alex. Now everything is potentially dangerous, though every word crossing her lips carries the best intentions.

“I have my therapist to talk to, if that’s what you mean,” Alex snaps, clearly lying about the sessions she no longer attends.

Amy doesn’t really agree and slowly sits back in her chair: “Well, your therapist doesn’t have cancer.”

“Neither do you,” the model viciously growls while getting up on her unstable feet to flee to the kitchen.

Amy’s so tired of it. So very tired of all this hostility. She pursuits the Latina and finds her leaning against the kitchen counter. For a second, she wants to ask her if she’s okay, but that’ll probably make her angry as well. The blonde sighs and experiences an enormous feeling of sadness taking over.

“Let’s just stop fighting,” she begs her. “We can’t waste time with fighting over stupid things.”

But Alex starts laughing uncontrollably for some reason. She throws her head backwards and keeps her back turned at Amy.

“Stupid? You think this is stupid? It’s not.”

Amy has learned to pick her words carefully and lowers her voice even more.

“Listen, we just – we shouldn’t waste our energy on this.”

Her words are enough to make Alex burst out with anger. She can’t help it. She hates herself for it, but it’s the frustration building up. The frustration that she’s not getting any better and it scares her. Because there’s no money or influential people in the world that can help her. There’s no treatment Dr. Cullers or De Weerdt can come up with that will make the cancer go away, so it seems. And she’s fucking scared. And Amy’s here and she’s her vocal punching bag. It’s unfair, it’s completely fucked up. But that’s how she works.

“For fuck’s sake, Amy,” she continues expressing her anger. “Fighting is important. It’s an important part of a relationship. You say we should skip being honest about our believes and morals and – I don’t know, doubts, because I have this stupid thing called cancer?”

Amy scrunches her eyebrows in an offended way: “Are you kidding me?”

Her wife turns around and that’s when she finally allows the blonde in: “No, are you kidding me? I want this thing to tear me down in a normal way. If that means having a fight or a bad day or telling you you’re a bitch when you are, than so be it.”

Her wife painfully smiles and reminds herself how ironic that accusation is.

“I’m gonna ignore that last one,” she calmly says, all with good intentions. “Look, you can’t get worked up. The doctor told you to -”

“Fuck the doctor,” Alex interrupts her. “Seriously, Amy. If you can’t handle a stupid fight with me, than what are you even doing here? How do you expect to sit by my side as I’m losing my hair and barfing up my guts when you can’t even handle me sporting a bad mouth? Seriously, walk away while you can if you think this is the worst of me.”

It hurts Amy to hear her say that. Because that’s all she’s been doing up until this point: trying to keep it all together while Alex did lose her hair. While she puked until it hurt on the inside. While she screamed at her for no reason. And she said nothing, not once when Alex treated her horribly. She knows this isn’t the woman she married. It’s the poison making her react this way. But lately, it takes a lot of reminding herself, to keep tolerating it.

“Hmm. Okay, I am gonna walk away now – before we both say something we regret,” she blocks out the argument with tears welling up in her eyes. “Why don’t you come over later and use your reusable and convenient cancer card to apologize.”

She turns around and walks through the door, only to hear the very bitchy response of her spouse: “Fuck you.”

That’s when enough is enough. The limit is reached. Amy storms right back in and with an accusing finger pointed at the true bitch in this house, she snaps.

“No, fuck you, Alex. Look at this place.”

She points at the terrible state this apartment is in. There are bumps and holes in every piece of furniture. All thanks to Alex and her outrageous behavior. The Latina is surprised to find the ever too kind blonde exploding like this. Even worse: she’s not done yet. She pushes Alex chest hard enough to make her back up and grasp on to the counter for support.

“You think that throwing around vases and shit is going to solve anything? For fuck’s sake, you’re keeping an entire industry from going bankrupt with the mess you’re making.”

Alex finds herself unpleasantly surprised by this sudden outburst. She blinks a few times in a row and has a look around. It reminds her of something David told her last week. Unlike Amy, he refused to accept the way Alex had been treating everyone lately. He said it was unacceptable, but she didn’t care.

“Stop it, Alex,” he ordered her with a strict voice. “I am telling you and you better listen. Because everyone will leave you.”

The warning felt fake in a way that she didn’t really thought about it. But he grabbed her by the arm, forcefully, and made her look at him. His eyes spit honesty and threat. He was close to walking out for a while and not checking back in until she got her shit together. Quickly, he realized that his brutal honesty left out one important detail. One she hadn’t thought of yet.

She will leave you,” he specified, hinting at the terrible way Alex had been treating her wife.

That’s when her body froze to the spot. And that’s why it freezes again right now.

“Amy …” she utters, scared that her cousin’s words will come true one day.

But this time it’s Amy’s turn to act like a bitch. She tells her to fuck off and walks away. A moment later, the front door shuts violently. Alex is left alone. It’s the thing that scares her most, she realizes. It’s painfully clear to her now: she needs to change or Amy might walk out on her.

It takes hours before Amy returns home. It’s like she needed all the time in the world to cool down. She went walking and ended up taking a cab. Susan met with her to have a talk. After going on and on about the horrible attitude of her wife lately, she ended up showing her the tattoo she got on her hip. That’s when the handwritten scribble realized her how all of this was just crazy. The fighting, the cancer, the horrible moments. Yes, Alex was being a bitch. But that’s only because life fucked her over the second time around. Susan saw the change in her emotions happening in her eyes. She offered to drive the blonde home. The blonde first hesitated. Then the blonde accepted.

Alex is in bed, covered underneath a mountain of pillows and blankets when she walks in. She’s having the chills again. It’s one of the side effects. When she notices Amy nearby, her eyes are small and fragile.

“I’m scared,” she whispers.

Amy walks over to the bed and sits down next to the demolished woman she married.

“I know you are,” she responds softly, “but I cannot put up with this behavior any longer. If you’re afraid, then tell me you’re afraid. If you’re sad, so be it. But you cannot treat me like this anymore; like I’m a piece of shit. Because that’s how you make me feel right now. And instead of just living with that knowledge, you might die with that regret inside of you, Alex. You might be dying and you’re doing nothing more than picking a fight with me lately. And I don’t think you want to do that to the person who’s absolutely crazy in love with you. And your terrible fighting techniques. Not to say anything about your dancing.”

Just a little joke to express she’s not mad anymore. Alex apologizes to Amy without words. There are a million emotions shooting from her dark, brown, dreamy eyes that say it all – that spit out the regret and sorrow about the way she had handled herself around her wife lately. It is fear that sneaks up on her. It has manifested irrational behavior in the softness of her character. She’s afraid to die, to having to let go of Amy in a nearby future and that’s something she can’t make peace with. As a final act, she wraps her arms around the blonde and hugs her until their bodies feel both warm and sore from keeping still. Amy forgives her without a hesitation. Because, how can she not?

It’s not that Alex’s alone in her desperation. Amy’s just as scared. She’s never felt like this before. Not even when she realized she was gay or in love with her best friend. Seriously, that was the easy part. This – being forced to let go of her most precious possession, this is pure horror.

“Maybe you’re right,” she whispers, questioning herself. “Maybe I can’t do this. It’s so hard to see you hurt like this … It isn’t just hard for you, I’m suffering too. And I know that that comparison is crappy and uncalled for, but it’s the truth. I’m not ready to think about your possible funeral. I’m supposed to be strong for you but these images keep popping up in my head, because what if it goes wrong? What if you die and you leave me here, all alone? There’s just no possible way that I can help you and that sucks, you know. It massively sucks.”

Alex repositions her head and finds a soft place on Amy’s breasts. They are spread across the bed now, close in each other’s embrace. Amy’s stroking the skinny arms of her lady lover, comforting.

“I know, baby,” Alex ultimately replies after a moment of silent consideration. “And I don’t expect you to be Superman. I just need you here, by my side, if that’s okay with you. Fight the fight with me. Be my Mulan.”

A small smile lights up the depressing mood of Amy. She nods.

“But in all fairness: I know you didn’t ask for this, so … You don’t have to stay if you don’t want to; you can walk out anytime and I wouldn’t blame you. That’d be okay,” Alex tells her painfully serious.

Amy forces her wife to look at her and shakes her head – determined to fight the fight with her.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she smiles, sort of to ridicule the offer. “You know what a divorce would cost me?”

They both chuckle over the comment and heave a big sigh. Another silence kicks in.

“I don’t want to die, Amy,” Alex suddenly admits the truth behind it all. “I want to grow old with you, have kids, a picket fence and a rescued dog.”

The blonde knows that. She wants exactly the same.

“And a chick on the side,” she comments, to lighten up the mood.

That’s when the other one starts nodding enthusiastically, like that goes without a doubt:  “Definitely a chick on the side.”

Alex feels warmer and warmer by the seconds that pass. They can be so sweet to each other if they just try to block out all the bad stuff. Because if this cancer shit should do one thing, it’s bring them closer together, no?

“You can do this, okay? You can. Right?” Alex whispers.

Amy swallows down a lost tear and nods. Her lower lip is trembling. It’s dead-cute.

“You know it’s you, right?” the Latina asks.


Alex points at the place where she has the tattoo and talks to her in the softest voice she has used in ages.

“The warrior princess on my hip. It’s you. You are my warrior. I couldn’t go through all of this again without you by my side. And I don’t always tell or show you: but I am so grateful to have you here.”

She crawls up on her weak arms to kiss Amy tenderly on the side of her lips. It’s a thank you. And Amy loves seeing her this humble and sincere.

“You’re hard work,” she sighs frustrated, while smirking. “But you’re worth it, Alex.”

When Alex eyes travel down the side of the bed, she finds a couple of teddy bears that have followed her across the world. Three of them are Amy’s. One is from her dad when she was little. The most shabby one is the one her mom bought before she was born. Alex takes it with her everywhere she goes. It’s brown and used to be fluffy. Now it’s missing an eye and it kind of smells.

“I swore on my favorite teddy bear’s head I’d beat this thing,” she admits. “It’s not working.”

Amy turns her head and looks straight at the same bear.

“Well, teddy bears can’t do everything.”

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