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.