Ana stood naked in front of the bathroom mirror with her hands pressed down over her breasts, imagining what she would look like without them. Her daughters, Cate and Bella, were sticking their tiny fingers underneath the locked door trying to get in. Ana turned from side to side. Cate and Bella called out for their mama. She pressed her breasts down harder. If the treatment made her lose her hair, she’d look like a boy. The front door banged shut and the fingers disappeared from underneath the door.
Ana’s husband, Doug, called out for her and then made his way upstairs. She heard the girls intercept him halfway. He laughed and kissed their round cheeks. “Ana?” He called her name again.
She dropped her breasts and her shoulders lurched slightly forward. Her bra was lying on the sink. Ana hooked it around her stomach and pulled up the straps. After throwing on her t-shirt she opened the door. Doug was already coming through the doorway to their bedroom. She hadn’t told him the diagnosis yet. The appointment that morning was still a bit of a blur. He wrapped his arms around her waist and squeezed until her feet barely touched the ground. Cate and Bella giggled and grabbed their parents’ legs. Ana buried her head in his shoulder and kissed him on the neck. Doug released her and turned to his daughters.
“Who wants to help Daddy find his slippers?” They both raised their arms and jumped up and down, squealing.
“One, two, three, go.” Cate took off first, running downstairs while Bella wiggled underneath her parents’ bed. Ana followed Doug into the closet.
“How was work?” She said while helping him find a pair of jeans hanging in the back.
“Fine. Nothing exciting.” He slipped off his shoes and slid off his belt. “How was your appointment this morning?” He hung his belt on the rack.
“No big deal.” She picked up her husband’s shoes and placed them in line with the others.
Doug stopped unbuttoning his shirt. “Did they tell you anything?”
“No. Something about the tests taking a while to get back.” Ana turned her back to him and bit her lip.
“Well, maybe next week.” He smiled at her back and reached up to rub her neck. Ana knew she’d have to tell him eventually. But not here, in the closet. He started to slide his hands down her shoulders when Cate and Bella ran into the space, each waving a blue slipper.
“I found mine first, Daddy. I did. I did.” Bella tried to push her sister out of the way, but Cate, who tried to never let her older sister win, shoved the shoe in her father’s hand first. As Bella clenched her teeth, Doug bent down and grabbed both girls in his arms. He smiled up at his wife and reached his hand up to bring her into the circle.