I usually lie about it. There’s no reason to test everyone around me like that, to hand them the truth and watch them shift nervously, evading my eyes, wishing I’d take it back. It’s much better to pretend I didn’t receive any news this month. It’s much better to look at myself in the mirror and see only my reflection, and not the disease eating away a few inches within my skin. Some days I stand in the winter chill and watch the snow freeze the remaining leaves and drop them to their icy grave. “Does it hurt?” I wonder– not the death of the leaves but my own. Will the cancer simply freeze my limbs and guide me to a gentle sleep? I look at the tree’s bare branches and am sure that nobody has ever understood how utterly alone they feel without their leaves as I do now.
Track Name: Spring
If she hadn’t been in the treatment center, I would never have known she was a cancer-patient too. Everything about her sang of life. It was easy to like her, with her honest smile and fiery eyes, and even easier to love her. A simple squeeze from her hand before I entered each chemo-session was enough to say, “I know, it’s awful in there. I’ll be out here when it’s over.” She always was. That delicate little bird fluttered into my life with all the excitement and joy I had heard always accompanies true love. It seemed a cruel joke to find such joy amidst such disaster, like some pathetic attempt to soothe a third-degree burn with cold water. But she did soothe me. Soon, she was me, and I was her, and as the snow melted from persistent poppies, we felt ourselves bud into life.
Track Name: Autumn
Her death was quiet and sudden, the way she wanted. One morning we were chewing pancakes together in the light from the window; the next day my plate and fork sat on the table alone. Death did not bring the fanfare I had expected, but rather a deep ache and gnawing fear. She would have loved to watch the leaves as they turn from green to a deep auburn, and she would, no doubt, have led us on some leaf-chasing adventure to be weaved into the tapestry of days and memories, life and seasons. She would have brushed my fingers with hers and told me not to be afraid.
Without her, enough of me has died that it seems fairly painless to release the rest of me. I think of her easy smile, of how nice it will be to touch those cheeks again, and I watch the leaves floating peacefully to oblivion beneath the trees.