Sunday, February 6, 2011

Just Deb

The longer you work in the Napa Valley in the restaurant business, almost anywhere you go you cross the path of someone you used to work with.

That happened to me today, "up Valley" as we say, when Husband and I were with Midge and 6C, doing a tasting menu where their reception will be held late this summer.

Tending bar was an old friend of mine; I first worked with him eleven years ago, and when that place closed unexpectedly, he got me a new job.

"Darlin?" in his thick Texas accent I heard him say on the phone one morning.  We had worked together about two years at that point.  "I've got good news and I got bad news, which one you want first?"


"I guess the bad news" I said closing my eyes.

"Well, the bad news is you ain't got a job, the place closed."

Before I could squeak he said "The good news is I got you a new job."

So we worked together again.  He's one of the best and most cantankerous bartenders I ever worked with, and always looked out for me.  I hadn't seen him in several years, and then, there he was today.

As I approached his bar, he looked at me, and I could see he did not know me.  He looked again as I moved closer to hug him.  Then I saw it on his face.  The recognition of an old friend.  The surprise and shock regarding my appearance

I think it's one of the challenges when you are still fresh out of treatment, and you haven't seen someone in awhile.  You have to tell the story again, the one you'd like to forget.

He hugged me tight, and it still surprises me what hugs feel like now without Flopsy and Mopsy.  When I hug a woman, I feel the contour of her breasts against my flat chest.  When I hug a man, our chests are flush.  It's weird and foreign.

"Darlin, it is so good to see you, where you been, and you ok?"

Then comes the part where I have to explain I had breast cancer, just finished treatment, and blah blah blah.

Today was a good day.  Planning for Midge's wedding, and seeing her so happy.  A Super Bowl party at my boss' house, and spending time with co-workers I hadn't seen since before my surgery.

Tonight though I keep thinking about my old friend, when I saw him today, and he saw this me, and when my co-workers saw me too.

Their thoughts and worry scroll across their foreheads in red letters like one of those digital marquee signs.

Deb.  Cancer.  Deb.  Cancer.  Deb.  Cancer.  Deb.  Cancer.  Deb.  Cancer.

I miss the days when it was just Deb.


Mimi said...

What an honest post. I have seen my mom struggle with this, she is a breast cancer survivor of one year.

It will happen, probably not soon enough, but one day you will again be, just Deb.

Hugs & love,

Mollye said...

Hi Debbie, I've been ironing a pair of jeans and then reading one of your posts; ironing a workshirt and the reading another post and on and on and on! Please say you are not going to end your blogging adventures at the end of one year. I will have your back during your adventures ahead if you will have mine, so that means you have to stay around longer than Mother's Day. And the way; with husband #2 who died in 2000, he and I lived in the Bay area from 1988 to '93 and my oldest son Buddy lived out there from 1992 until 2005. We actually lived for almost 2 years in Napa on Atlas Peak Road behind the Silverado Golf Club and Course. We were the "domestic couple" for the Warren Simmons Family. I tutored the kids and cooked for the family and my hubs drove, did all kinds of other things and drooled over the young wifey's lega and other parts of her young and adorable body. We left the job right before I went postal on all of them! Peace, Mollye

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