Some Very Bad News  


Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time


The news came on a dreary Monday afternoon. I say dreary, but it was sunny; and I say Monday, but it was Tuesday.

News this bad shouldn’t be delivered on any pleasant day that isn’t the start of a workweek.

I felt the seep of damp, chilly air defy the sun and sink into my bones. The distaste one feels for Mondays wrapped tendrils around my stomach and squeezed.

The sick feeling wasn’t even the worst of it. The worst of it was the way the bad news was delivered.

He sent it in a text message! How horrible, how self-absorbed, how cowardly does a person have to be to deliver the worst news possible while hiding behind a cell phone?

Did he think I would throw things at him if he told me the news in person?

I stared at my cell phone in disbelief. Was I reading this right? Was this how he was going to tell me? He thought it was appropriate to send news like this in a text?

I was in shock. Was there some kind of mistake? Perhaps I had just misread it. I quickly scanned and rescanned it hoping the letters would move and change into an anagram of better news.

No mistake. I’d read it right the first time. I just hadn’t wanted to see the words the missive contained.

Was it really about to end?

I swallowed hard and fought back tears.

I faced the news no one wants to hear: it was over.

I felt all the feelings a person feels when a relationship meets its natural demise: disbelief, shock, numbness, anger, denial, guilt, the desire to take everything the other person owns and roast marshmallows over it.

This couldn’t be happening! My teeth tingled and my hands shook. I yearned to throw my phone through the nearest window, but it wasn’t the phone’s fault. Was it possible? Could it be, somehow, maybe my fault?

My husband Brian walked through the front door. I turned to him, my expression full of sadness and heartache.

We locked eyes. My stomach felt like it was going to fall through my feet, and my ears rang. My whole body trembled with grief.

“What’s wrong?” Brian asked concerned.

“I’ve just gotten word by text,” I said in a hush, “our lease is up on this house, and the homeowner has decided to sell it.”

“No,” he backed away as if I were diseased, as if he could make what was happening to us stop simply by not hearing my words.

There was nowhere he could run to avoid this horrible news. I delivered it with a thud like a wet newspaper splatting onto your clean, white kitchen floor.

I took a deep breath and said, “We have to move.”

To be continued…

Nora Blithe

Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at