What do we do to ourselves?

In  a  triumphant  kind  of  way  she  announced,  “I’ve  got  cancer  of  my  breast.  The  tests  are  positive.  I  will  have  a mastectomy and chemo to treat the cancer.” Her eyes had a strange fanatical stare. Her voice was slightly strained, even a little hysterical.

“Why are you so convinced to have the harshest treatment? How aggressive is your cancer?” I wanted to know. “No, no. I told my doctor that he must operate immediately. I want to be in hospital, in a private room, for at last 10 days.  My  doctor  will  help  me,  I  know.”  She  dipped  her  eyes  to  the  floor.  Her  body  language  communicated something I was not able to read. Somewhere there was something wrong, that much I could decipher.

“How  is  the  rest  of  the  family  with  the  news?”  I  asked.  Her  head  jerked  up,  eyes  wide  open.  “Oh,  now  he  is  very upset and angry. But he will have to pay. It is going to cost a lot of money. He will have to pay. He will see!” Her voice had a sharp edge to it. “For 20 years I have been a good wife to him. Never did I ask for anything. He loves his  money  more  than  anything  else.  Now  he  will  pay  ….“  Her  voice  trailed  into  a  mutter.  Absent-mindedly  she rubbed  her  face  and  eyes,  staring  blankly  above  my  head  at  the  wall.  Slowly  the  picture  was  becoming  a  little clearer to me.

“Do you have any children?”

“No”, she said in an emotionless voice.

“All my family live overseas. I have no family at all. I  do have good friends. Mine. Not ours.” Her eyes flashed the message  to  me.  She  and  he.  Separate,  yet  dutifully  sharing  a  home  and  life  over  two  decades.  The  bitterness  in her face was telling a story.

She  left,  clutching  a  bag  filled  with  tissue  salts  and  liver  drainage  remedies  to  help  her  through  the  surgery.  She walked in a hurried way, looking down, her face sad and slightly bloated.

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