It’s strange to live so close to sadness as, every day, I go to my office past the Gyn Oncology waiting room. The faces are mostly blank, unexpectant, but somehow also fiercely present—wild ears pricking up at the sound of twigs cracking underfoot.
I think of them, watching some midday television trash, reading last month’s magazines worn down by many women’s hands. They grip each page firmly, to feel in control at least of each small printed word, each glossy picture.
Because how can anyone have the authority to tell them, you have cancer, you will never have children? Each woman without any say over her own broken body. They hold together just long enough.
I walk down the hall toward the reception desk, and a woman walks away from the terrible revelation of her doctor’s visit. Her face is firm, she is resolute in her direction, unconcerned with my presence. As we pass each other, I am close enough to touch her hand, to hold her up. And at the last second before her face disappears from my peripheral vision, she breaks; her face shatters into storm-worried water, ravaging fire.
I am shaken by how close I am to disaster, by how mildly I regard it.