Dispatches from the Future (B-list)

Treatment Party

“Did you get one too?” Melanie asked Anita, interrupting her enjoyment of the beam of sunshine now creeping onto her chair. The tone of the question contained just enough snark to signal her friend that, yes, indeed she could not believe the contents of the invitation now being displayed on the surface of her cartabla.

Anita hated it when people pulled out a device at a table. The morning shared with Melanie at the little cafe had been pleasant, until her girlfriend had gotten bored with the lazy silence and tea. Default mode for her was always-connected to the speely. Invariably, Melanie would find something to get snarky about. It was irksome, but Anita didn’t want to make an issue of it; so, she signed, pulled her cartabla from her hand bag, and checked her message queue. Sure enough, near the top, under an advertisement for a spa, was the invitation in question.

“Yes. Hold on, what’s this? Isabel has cancer?” Melanie let Anita finish reading the invitation. Anita couldn’t understand how her friend might feel even the least bit snarky about the invitation. Then Melanie interrupted Anita’s train of thought to explain.

“Oh yes, hadn’t you heard?” said Melanie, not really asking. Anita hadn’t, in fact, heard anything. “Isabel was diagnosed, I don’t know, maybe a month ago. Stage three breast cancer. Can you believe that?”

“That’s bad right?” Anita was not too sure about the implications. People she knew just didn’t get cancer.

“Terrible I’m told. I had to speel some old medical locus to figure out how bad. I guess that twenty years ago it would have been a death sentence,” said Melanie.

“But Isabel is going to be okay?”

“Oh, of course. Read the invitation. She’s just trying to drum up some sympathy. It’s a ‘Treatment Party.’ I mean who throws a party before they go to see their oncologist, right?” The snark was back, and this time Melanie had turned the dial all the way around. “La-di-da, do you think anyone will go? What do you bring to a ‘Treatment Party’ anyway? I just don’t know.”

Anita still didn’t think it was very funny, but she could see her friend’s point. It was much like throwing a shindig because you were headed in to the shop for a manicure. She sat back in her chair and let the beam of sunlight illuminate her face and chest. It felt divine. “Well, are you going?” Anita asked Melanie making sure those three words betrayed their sardonic edge.

“Oh, of course. Isabel’s shindigs are usually pretty good. Everyone will be there.”

Anita looked down at her cartabla, then swiped down to the response panel. Everyone is going to be there? She would have to think about it. She touched the button labeled “maybe” and leaned back into the sunshine.

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