I should have known better. I saw “Breast Cancer” on the caller I.D. when I picked up my landline—the line only my parents and telemarketers use. I pushed talk. I should have known better. We beat ourselves up for should have known better.
A pause before the caller picked up—a surefire sign of a telemarketer—“You are a tough lady to reach!” My eyebrows knit together, do I know her? She is perky.
“I’m calling for the Breast Cancer something something.” I think of Debby. “We provide services for women who are dealing with breast cancer.” I think of Cheri. “Can I put a postcard in the mail and see if you can donate a little something to help us out?” She sounds too damn perky to be calling me about cancer.
“You can put it in the mail and I’ll look at it and see what extra I have after my other donations.” I answer, terse. I’m suspect that she’s some random charity. I’m not sure if I have donated to them before. I think of Meagan. I think of Hannah and how my latest cancer donation body part is pancreatic.
“Aren’t you an angel!” She cheers, sweetness dripping from her lips, through the landline and all over my sudden and involuntary mourning. I can’t even stop to tell her to take me off her list. I can’t stop to tell her just send the damn thing. I can’t stop to tell her to tone done the syrup. I pull the phone away from my ear and click END.
I’m swamped with guilt. She was just doing her job. I have tears in my eyes. I want to apologize without having to talk to her. I want to say, “It’s not that I don’t want to give you money. My friends just keep dying.”