The words rolled over her then, crushed her flat as piecrust beneath a rolling pin. She watched him shaping the words with his mouth, this doctor whom she had grudgingly agreed to see after her husband had had what he thought was the last word in their long argument. Go. 

Now there was another word. Cancer.  And others, too. Treatment. Pain. 

This man, this doctor in his chair. He pulled out words as though they were stones from his pocket, polished shiny and smooth with much use, set them carefully before her on the barren wood of his medical desk.


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