Here’s To The Men

Here’s to the men, particularly those who have refused to be ignored. My friend Darien perhaps at the top of the list. When I was at my lowest the phone was switched to silent, the messages left unopened, excuses made.

Sorry, I’d love to but I have work to do.

He rang and rang again.

“Are you sure you want to go to the oncologist on your own?”

“Are you sure you don’t need me to come down and stay?”

“Are you sure you don’t need to spend a night in town, we have room?”

And then finally, when he’d persisted, insisted. We went for lunch and giggled and giggled. We walked back to the car in the sunshine, hugged goodbye, and I felt infinitely better and supremely stupid I hadn’t been having lunch with him on a daily basis.

My friend Tim calls at night.

“I’m just on Skype with the kids”

“Can I call you back?”

He kept calling. Over the weekend he’d told his husband his concerns.

“Kirsty was there for me when I was coming out, what if she feels I’m not there for her now”

Damien’s reply had me giggling out loud. I could just see the eye roll, the dismissive head flick with a ciggie in one hand and a wine in the other. “Don’t be fucking ridiculous – she’s not thinking of you right now!”.

There is Hamish the doctor who somehow in the middle of me sending my weekly footy tips scored a Dear Abby letter. I told him everything and then promptly apologised.

“It’s fine to feel the way you feel. You should go to the footy tomorrow. Let me know if I can help.”

I took the doctor’s orders. He now emails me like a true medico.

“How’s your health?” I can see his smile.

I was lucky that my girlfriends married friends, and if they weren’t friends before they certainly are now. A text from a husband of a bestie. “Always available…if there’s anything…I was reading your messages from friends on Facebook and choking up…is that weird?”

My favourite was yesterday. My girlfriend Krissy has been away for the past couple of weeks and I’ve missed her, really missed her. I was on another call when her husband Billy left his message. The voicemail had his unique and unmistakable Aussie irreverence.

“Ah yeah, Kirsty. As you well know, my wife is back in 48 hours. You also know that the first thing she’s going to ask me is ‘How’s Kirsty’. This call is basically me covering my butt, because at this stage when she asks me that question we both know I’m not going to have the right answer.*laughter* Ahhh, call me.”

When I called and asked what he was doing he replied “dusting Kirsty, I’m standing here with a duster in my hand.” I pictured him in the clothes he would have worn to his construction site that day, now with a feather duster in hand. Good men, there are some good men in my life.

My own men, or men in training have been on the other end of the iPad constantly, and in the case of Henry Hotdog it has truly been constantly. He carries me from room to room. He puts me on the table while he eats his breakfast, takes me into his self made fort so we can have some privacy. I sit perched on the computer table while he does his homework. Today, for two hours while I wrote, sent emails and made phone calls he sat in the top right hand corner of the screen on my laptop. We kept the line open, no need to talk, but we were both just there if we needed each other.

“Mum if you had to choose between invisibility or the being able to fly which would you choose?”

“Mum if you could run at the speed of light where would you run to first”.

“Mum” he says as he leans into the iPad as if about to share a secret “Mum, how’s the..” he looks from side to side and whispers “how’s the breast cancer?” We both grin.

kids screen shots

Each of them has told a story, asked a question, taken me to a corner of the house and reminded me of something that needs to be packed. They have sat comfortably in their skin while discussing their lives and daily plans – each with the same confidence in their story telling. A common thread to their security, the same word, the same assurance, Dad.

Dad will take me. Dad said I could. Dad and I went to. Dad’s letting us sleep in his bed. Dad’s taking us for lunch at the office. Dad’s going to take us for ice-cream tonight! Dad said we should have a barbecue to celebrate when you get back but only if you’re not too tired.

On Sunday when I received the phone call I’d talked myself out of, a chance to work part-time in a job I am so excited about I’d possibly do it for free. When the phone call came “we’d like to move forward”. I rang G. It has been such a shitty few weeks, the emotion took hold. After all the worst things that could happen had happened, I had the best news.

“They offered me the job! They said I could do it part-time! Can you believe it?”

“Yes I can, because you’re brilliant at what you do. You’re a fantastic writer and you’re the best person for the job. So yeah, I can believe it”.

Here’s to the men. The ones who don’t stop calling. Those who make you laugh. Those who care. Here’s to the men who offer you a job when they know you’re about to begin chemo. Here’s to the men who are dusting.

Here’s to the men.

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