Cid’s specialist took him off the steroids and he once more became the slim and dashing attorney that I had first met so long ago over tea at the local truck stop. 10 years. I couldn’t believe all we had been through in the 10 years we had known each other. He had been my friend and adviser throughout all those years and we certainly loved each other quite passionately although not physically.
Cid still went to work and still had power of attorney over my life which was something I was comfortable with. When the tax season came around once more, D did the paperwork and sent it in. In no time at all we were summoned to the AISH office with the government claiming fraud on my part. D and I attended the first meeting where a bullish man threatened jail for both of us and again told me I had committed fraud because I had applied for AISH as a single person. Bewildered, I kept repeating that I was single, and his roaring accusations soon had me in hysterical tears while D clutched my hands and tried to comfort me. As the ex-policeman threatened jail for both of us, I could only think that perhaps Cid could save me once more.
One phone call later and Cid was on the case. He requested all the paperwork and the laws and regulations about AISH. While I sat at home and tried not to be hysterical about it all, Cid reworked all the figures and studied the regulations. The government was insisting that I pay back all the money they had so ‘helpfully’ given me. Remember that $857.00 per month? They wanted it all back because D and I were living common-law so therefore I was not 'single' as I had stated on the application form. They figured it out to be over $7,000.00. Cid did the math and found they were trying to have me repay them almost $1,500.00 too much. He took it before a review board for me and made sure I didn’t have to appear – and won. He arranged for me to pay them back $20.00 a month. We were so strapped, how could I afford any more than that. So I wrote out a year’s worth of cheques and sent them off and only thought about it again when the notice came around that payment was due. Then they got another 12 cheques. I had never seen Cid in action in court, but his quiet ways got him quite far and he always told me that was his secret. It’s great loving a man with those kinds of qualities.
A few months later Cid started feeling sick again. Sick enough that he decided to take some time off work. This was something he never did except at Christmas when he would take 4 or 5 days and spend it with his mother. But he never took holidays – no matter how much I begged him. After watching his doctors dance around him and ignore him for far too long, I started researching other options for him. I read of ‘healing dirt’ in El Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico and tried to talk him into taking a trip to this place and immersing himself in the dirt like the thousands of other pilgrims who flock there every year. I told him it could at least be a holiday for him. But he wouldn’t do it. Instead he came to the barn and stayed for 3 weeks.
While D went off to work, Cid and I lounged around and did very little. He didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. He had me take pictures of him on one of his good days when he was feeling spry and looked great too. We laughed and joked around as I used his fancy camera and snapped away. I tried to be upbeat for him and keep my own illness at bay so he wouldn’t need the extra worry of my mental health over his own problems. We would listen to the radio and read or watch tv. I let him sleep when he was tired and when D got home from work the two of them would spend time in the kitchen trading and sharing recipes. He taught us how to make Polenta from scratch and other Italian dishes that melted in your mouth. He loved to cook and so did D while I reaped the benefits. I had been unable to cook since coming out of the hospital and D had taken over that chore. He enjoyed it even more when Cid shared the kitchen with him.
Eventually Cid felt like he should go home and try to get some work done. I was against it as I didn’t want him to leave, but I knew he had to. He had clients that were looking for him and court cases coming up and I couldn’t keep him to myself forever. The world was calling.
He wasn’t home a week when I got a message on my phone. “Hi Aims – it’s Cid. I feel like shit. Pat’s going to zip me to the hospital. You have her phone number. She’ll know where things are at. Love you.” I hit the save button and picked up the phone again.
I didn’t like talking to his ex-fiancée but I had no problem making that call. I found her at her home which made me think that things were good if she wasn’t at the hospital. Instead she told me the cancer had gone to his brain and that they were going to operate. I hung up and packed my bags this time. I wasn’t going to leave him alone.