Summer was ending, so they soaked in the warm evenings while they could. The kids chased lightning bugs while the adults sipped drinks.
Eventually, chill descended from the star-filled sky. Sports talk and job complaints wound down, the kids grew tired and weepy, and everyone hinted about going home.
In the far corner of the yard, Sandy, the only teenager in the group, sat with her mother, each in a rusted lawn chair. Sandy finally asked her mother the question she’d been holding inside all evening: “What did the doctor say?”
One hand cupping her breast, Sandy’s mother whispered, “cancer.”
John Sheirer lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with his wonderful wife Betsy and happy dog Libby. He has taught writing and communications for 26 years at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, Connecticut, where he also serves as editor and faculty advisor for Freshwater Literary Journal. He writes a monthly column on current events for his hometown newspaper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and his books include memoir, fiction, poetry, essays, political satire, and photography.