Juliana was lying in her hospital bed, more or less ready to die. Nothing had been settled yet and her cancer was not really terminal, but still, she felt like she had gotten the great lesson about life and death.
Her sister Madison walked in.
“Oh my God, Madison!” Juliana screamed in delight. “Where have you been all those years?”
“Hey sis, I heard you were not well, so I flew back from Australia,” Madison was smiling, but respectfully, like their mother taught them. There was illness.
“When did you get breast implants? Oh my God, they’re huge!” Juliana was genuinely surprised.
“Hey, they’re not so big. They’re for work, you know.”
Juliana was still smiling, but the pause became a little awkward.
“Oh my God, they are so big. They are like basketballs.”
“Now, now, they’re not that big,” Madison was feeling uncomfortable, but obligated to respect her sister’s condition. She presented the chocolates and the flowers, found a vase for the latter, and sat by the bed.
“How are you feeling? What did the doctors say?”
“Not so bad,” Juliana was putting on a brave face, implying that things were much worse than they seemed. She was good at that.”They say it’s benign for now, so…”
Madison took her hand. “We will make it through this. I’m here for you. I know I’ve been away for a while, but I’m here for you.”
Juliana was looking at her sister’s round hips, petite waist, and giant knockers. She remembered her in a plain brown dress running through tall grass on the farm. This Madison was much different.
“Why are you? Why the?”
“Why the implants? You really need to know, huh? It’s no big secret. I’m a model. Pretty famous in Australia.”
“What kind of model? A stripper?”
“No, I pose for nude photography and recently some videos.”
“You mean like porn?”
“No, not like porn. It’s very tasteful and artistic. Robert says I can really make it big.”
“Robert? Your guy?”
“Not really. My agent-slash-photographer.”
“So he told you to get these… things?”
“Not really, no. It was my decision. He agreed it would be good for the business. I have a website.”
Juliana, was rubbing her hands together, looking at the bed sheets.
“You’re uncomfortable with this?” asked Madison.
“No, it’s fine, really. It’s just that…”
“Just that what?”
“Nothing, really. It’s fine.”
“Hey, you’re sick and everything. But there’s no need to get judgmental.”
Juliana sat up. “I’m not judging you. I’m not judging anyone. I’m not like that.”
“Well, you clearly have a problem with the way I look now. I like my body. I accept it.”
Juliana looked in her sister’s eyes. They were still the same brown. She could see that little girl. But she could not get past a feeling that something was out of place.
“Well, thanks for showing up, sis,” she said, “Just don’t stick around for my husband to see you. He’ll drop my terminally ill ass in a second.”
They both laughed, but for completely different reasons.