I love B.L.T.’s. Could eat one every day.
Toasted Ezekiel Bread slathered with Duke’s mayonnaise. Piled high with arugula ‘cause iceberg does not toot my whistle. Topped with the one tomato I dissected the farmer’s market for—the chubbiest, juiciest, reddest tomato possible. I slice an inch down from the stem and take another inch or two off the bottom. I flop what remains—it’s going to be hard to get my mouth open that wide—onto the bacon stripped toast. Bacon stiff like a diving board, not flaccid.
Before I bite I pray. Because this is a holy moment for me. See, I only eat one B.L.T. a year. Ever since Pappy died. Not long after he passed, I was at the doctor’s. For my occasional-'cause if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it appointment.
Dr. Davis patted the paper by my feet. “Scoot down some more.”
I squirmed toward him. Careful to keep the exam gown tucked about me, despite the inevitable.
Left then right he nestled my feet into the stirrups. “So what’s new?”
I focused on the breast self exam poster. “My father-in-law died in February.”
Dr. Davis paused. Rested a hand on my knee.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” he said. “What happened?”
I blinked slowly. Wondered if I’d cry. “Cancer,” I said. “Stage four. Stomach. He died 31 days after his diagnosis.”
Dr. Davis whistled. I heard instruments clanking. Paper tearing.
“This might be a bit chilly,” he said. It wasn’t.
I bunched the cotton blanket in my fists, on either side of my chin.
“What should we do?” I said “He do. My husband, I mean. So he doesn’t . . . get it.”
“Cancer? Of the stomach?”
I cringed. At the C word. I hate it. It’s worse than the F word.
The K-Y'd exam instrument clattered on the stainless steel cart. Dr. Davis stripped off his latex gloves. Winced as one snapped his wrist. He held out a hand to help me up.
“A study came out last fall,” he said. “Was it nitrites or nitrates that are the bad guys?”
“The stuff in hot dogs and bacon?”
Dr. Davis nodded. “And deli meats. Pickles.”
I tugged at the exam gown, so it covered my knees. “Bummer. I love bacon.”
He x’d boxes on my paperwork. “You know the old saying. Everything—”
I nodded. “In moderation.”
I love B.L.T.’s. Eat one every year.
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