She was so tall I wanted it to be illegal. I hated her for it, and I wanted them to take her away. I wanted to see blue and red lights reflecting off pale skin as they tilted her into the back of the police cruiser, hands cuffed behind her, face somber, eyes still. Too tall to sit up, she would curl into a ball and lie sideways on the backseat where, I imagine, she would cry quietly onto the cushions, more out of embarrassment than anything else. But I would miss her. I would miss her if they took her away like that. I wanted her close. I Wanted to protect her from other men. From the officers who held her arms back. From men who were better suited for her. Healthy men. Men with five o' clock shadows. Men who wore basketball jerseys. Men with better taste. Men who could identity blackcurrant fruit in expensive bottles of Pinot. Men with rhythm. Men with deep laughs. Men with bigger penises. Men who had large, white teeth and argyle socks. Other men. Men who were, more or less, just like me.
I pictured us together, dressed, a cocktail party anticipating, her already towering above me and asking would it be all right if she wore high-heels. My response would be to stand on a phone book so that I could kiss her on the lips, and I would say, The taller the better, my dear, and I would brush her hair out of her eyes and call her My Little Skyscraper, which is an oxymoron, which she loves. She was so tall. She was so tall I wanted to climb to the top of a thick tree and shake its branches; shake its branches and yell crude, obscene things at her so she would look around and see me and say, What a curious boy. Or, What a strange boy, or, What an interesting boy. Any of those things, so long as she was looking.
I tried to picture us; a well-adjusted couple. A couple who held hands, conversations. Who had a dog. A short-haired dog who shed too much. My great, big, redwood of a woman would brush the hair off of her jeans and say, Where does it all come from? and then she would throw her head back and laugh. A laugh so big and tall it would break up the clouds. We would take the dog out to eat with us, the three of us, outside, and people would try to pet the dog, some would try to scratch it behind the ears. And they would always looks at you and ask about the dog. Always you. Always.
But I cannot picture us as this kind of couple. Something tragic needs to happen. The dog has cancer. No, she has cancer. No, we all have cancer, the three of us, all of us, shedding and shrinking and sickly. We met at a cancer support group and fell in love. We adopted a sick dog because we knew that we could nurture it back to health with all of the extra love we had to give, which was so much. We had all kinds of cancer: brain and skin and lung and finger, but we fought on, the three of us, eating scrambled eggs and Denver omelets and extra bacon that we fed to the dog under the table. It was the three of us, eating while our diseases ate away at us from the inside out, and it was ironic, and dichotomic, and contradictory, and an oxymoron, which she laughs at; which she loves.