When the verdict came from the specialist oncologist through the

general practitioner who was of their generation and in their

group of friends, Fiona was the one who answered the

early morning call. Every day Ben left their bed first,

accustomed to early rising. He came from the bathroom and

found her pressed back against the pillows with tears leaking

down her cheeks as if something inside her had suddenly

given way. He stopped at the open door. Before he

could speak she told him. There is no looking for

the delay of an appropriate time for such . . . what? News.

Paraphrases from the novel Get a Life by Nadine Gordimer.