a toast to my twenties
at twenty years young, my friends piled into my car until every seat and lap were occupied and we drove until the odometer hit 100,000 miles in virginville, pennsylvania.
twenty-one was spent bar hoping with my uncle until the night ended with my head in my grandparent’s kitchen sink.
twenty-two was the year i graduated, moved, started over, and fell in love.
life at twenty-three was so unremarkable, i hardly remember it at all.
halfway through twenty-four came the scans, the cancer, the chemo, and the nurses that complimented the quality of my veins while i conquered my fear of needles.
my best friend skipped work to watch me ring the bell at twenty-five.
twenty-six and my body got weird and the world shut down and are we sure maybe not but i think you’re fine i’m sure you’re fine everything is fine but let’s test this and this and this and there’s still so much uncertainty at twenty-seven let’s just do a biopsy for your peace of mind but i think everything is fine and when the nurse cried while reading the results i had to let her know that i am fine and there’s no need to worry because everything is fine and i spent so much time reassuring everyone else there wasn’t enough room for me to be scared too but i’ve done this before and i’ll do it again twenty-eight now and my birthday is spent in the hospital i’m isolated then and isolated for months and i stopped talking stopped eating stopped bathing stopped being
i’m twenty-nine now and i am alive and i no longer regret being so.
in a year’s time, i will be thirty. in my thirties, i hope to see my little family grow, i hope to watch my brother marry the love of his life, i hope to travel and write and continue to learn.
i don’t know where i’ll be at forty but i hope i’m happy.
i want to spend my fifties like my father and fill my camera roll with sunrises and dogs and everything that breathes life into me.
maybe in my sixties or seventies or eighties, i’ll gather my grandchildren around me and tell them the stories i spent years collecting for them. i’ll pass on my wisdom, my warnings, my wishes.
and when i reach my nineties, i want the family history of cancer to start and die with me.