Saving Becca, continued

The kids have commandeered a table next to the dance floor. Becca flits among them, wearing low-slung khakis and a striped tank top beneath a baggy black cardigan. Her brows and lashes are back in force, and her perfectly shaped head sports a nifty fuzz her friend can’t stop touching. Sparkle dust brushed across her cheek bones, she moves with a confidence that sets her apart from her table-mates. She is anchored on either side by attentive boys, one of whom seems particularly smitten.

The party proceeds a little awkwardly. No one has ever been to a thank-you bash before. There’s no protocol for something like this — no receiving line, no predictable routine, no prearranged seating. Things focus when the church minister borrows the DJ’s mike. He’s a big, burly man unafraid to be a conduit for others’ emotion. He smiles broadly and leads the attendees in a warm prayer of thanks.

“Thank you, Lord, for the life still lived,” he says, gazing benevolently at Becca. She grins back. “Thank you for the strength in Becca and in her family, and for all it has taught us about trusting in your love and care. Bless this evening’s food as you’ve blessed our lives, giving us strength to walk in your path. Keep us strong, Lord, and continue to bless us with your mercy and love.”

Amen, says everyone. Bob and Sue’s eyes are dry — they’ve done so much crying in the past year, there doesn’t seem to be the need tonight — but more than a few others sniffle audibly, unable to shift their gazes from Becca’s radiant face.

Then Bob and Sue take the mike. If this were a TV movie, they would give a maudlin, lip-quivering thank-you, followed by Becca bravely and eloquently expressing her gratitude to her friends and doctors, and then to her family. Aglow with young womanhood, she would turn to Bob and Sue and tearfully declare how much she loves them, what their love means to her, how it got her through the darkest year of her short life. The audience would weep with satisfaction as the family fell into each other’s arms, and the scene would fade to black.