Written by: Leni Sosa; Permanence of Wings
“Are you alright.”, she says. It can’t be taken as a question. After all, she knows that I know she really would rather be lied to. “Can I call someone?”
I’m silent. She’s desperate to keep talking, but my mind is fuzzy and I just want her to stop.
The older I get, the easier it is to understand what Silence is revealing. I’ve always been able to decipher the subtle nuances of a face and the resonance of a voice, but the Silence is a form of communication that is mastered in the later years when we crease and crackle. We become better at understanding It outside our shells. And sometimes we fall into Silence so it can convey what no words could.
I look beyond her, through the white walls upon walls of the ward into the horizon. In these rooms, there are human testaments to life and death. She avoids silence like most young people do. As she moves her mouth, I find myself pulling further away. She’s living proof that a high IQ and wisdom are two very different things.
She thinks I’m broken over the possibility of a short life, but I’m worried about how my situation will sit with my kids, mother, husband. There’s much to do. The severity of the situation lies in how they’ll cope.
There are two ways to get through this, and both are dignified. Some people want to put their war paint on and head into battle, others want to leave on their own terms. Perhaps because they lived the same way; perhaps because they never could before.
When my mind is catapulted back to my body and I manage to break free of the many possible versions of the future, I can’t stop looking at her hair. Such a vibrant, pretty face framed by luscious, long red hair cascading down her white coat. I’ve never been a red head before.
I am calmer than I thought I’d ever be if I were in this situation, but I’m still in some shock. As I walk out without a word, I hear her say something about expecting a call.
I get in my car and drive, and I find myself at the shop I had come with my sister only three years earlier. In the end, she chose not to fight. I miss her every day.
“Can I help you?”, the woman says.
“Yes, I want a wig. I have cancer and I want a wig so I am ready for when my hair starts falling out.”, I blurt out.
She smiles. “There are several blonde wigs that may be similar to your natural hair. It may not be as noticeable to others if that’s important to you.”
“No, I want a red wig.” There will be days I’ll let the world stare at my defiant, exposed bald head, but there’ll be days I’ll want to escape the sympathetic looks on the faces of strangers. Life should be a fine balance, and refueling will be important for what’s to come. Besides, I feel a need to try something new.
“Of course. This way, please.”, she says. And as I follow I am well aware that I’ll be picking up the sword.