I rub my sweaty palms against my jeans. My heart knocks around in my chest like a caged bird. The posters pasted around the room depict colorful images of inhalers and charts shouting symptoms of various diseases in bold letters. “Symptoms of Cancer!” the chart across from me cheers.

Footsteps shuffle past my door. The clock behind me ticks along sluggishly. This examination room has no windows, but at least I’m not claustrophobic. I’m just waiting for my test results.

My hands keep wandering to the lump to make sure that it’s really there. That I haven’t been imagining it all. I stand up and sit on my hands. There, no more checking. I wish I hadn’t checked in the first place. I wish I had ignored it.

“Symptoms of Cancer!” I read the first bullet. “Unusual lumps”. It’s like my body has filled with ice. I wrap my coat around myself, but I can’t get warm.

The door handle turns. What if I run? I could push the doctor out of the way and sprint down the hallway. I could be in my car driving home in less than ten minutes.

The doctor steps in with head bowed slightly. She doesn’t smile. “Symptoms of Cancer!” Cancer. And I knew from the moment I found the lump. Is it too late to run?  

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