I'd scheduled it for a Wednesday instead of a Saturday, since I knew the pro-lifers staged their protests on the weekends. As distraught as Cali already was, the last thing she needed was to be dragged through a mass of zealots.

Eventually I was called from the waiting room to join her. I walked through the cool corridor, my Reeboks squeaking on the linoleum. It wasn't until the nurse directed me to room number five that the impact of the past three weeks hit me. And suddenly I froze in my tracks.

Me, everybody's rock. Me, who'd always been the "strong, level-headed one." I was having a mid-level panic attack and yet I was expected to walk into that little room and be someone else's courage. I wasn't sure I had enough to spare.

Me, everybody's rock, was starting to crumble.

But I walked into the room anyway. Cali had the Walkman clamped firmly to her ears to block out the sound of the vacuum. Enigma, I remember.

And in an extremely short amount of time it was over and she was safely in the recovery room. I called Scott to tell him the news and went out to the parking garage to have a cigarette.

Then I let myself fall apart. Slumped against the cold concrete wall, I cried. For Cali's pain. For Scott's panic. For the friendship we shared that I knew would never be the same.

And finally, for myself.

When have you crumbled?