What a fine day she picked to die. The fires in her mind were but glowing embers. The fight had taken too much out of her. Beauty had looked upon her life’s end, many times before. But she was sure that this moment, in her crude, one-roomed shack on the edges of Liet Wan, was going to be her last.
But she remembered one of the rags she picked from Ako, when they were still friends of course. Ako was always pilfering stuff from the houses she was sent to clean in the Ren. It’s a wonder those mzungus kept on asking her to come back. “They must be really desperate if they put up with her stealing all the time.” Beauty said to herself. So she remembered one time, when thumbing through those glossy pages, she came across a chart with pictures of breasts. (You could barely tell that they were human breasts, these mzungus sometimes though).
Now the fancy white people had discovered a new disease. All her life Beauty only knew about the dreaded African Killer disease, H.E.L.P Syndrome, but now the medicocrats had introduced another family of diseases- lifestyle, they called the maladies. Again she only knew about the flu and STIs. So apparently, this new disease was worse than even Human EnceLoPhallitic Syndrome (Although, whatever was worse than losing your mind while having your gonads swell up as if with water and burst at a most inopportune moment in time, Beauty didn’t know). They called it Cancer. It even sounded bad. Like something that ate up your insides but didn’t swallow, choosing to let you drown in your own self.
So here she was, looking at the page she had torn off one of the magazines Ako had pilfered. As she looked at the cracked mirror in her windowsill, hoping A.O wasn’t lurking nearby trying to peep at her modest mosquito bites; she seemed to see some difference in her boobs. Last time she had a look at her naked self properly was when she had peeped into one of those big, fancy shops in town that sold expensive clothes that she could buy at Le Loi Market for a fraction of the cost.
Back to the matter at hand, Beauty had noticed that her boobs were different and upon closer inspection she decided she truly was dying. The killer disease had indeed visited her hearth. From the torn scrap of the article, she was sure she was dying because one of her once-luscious breasts had a lump in it. She also felt another one in her armpit when she did the self exam as directed. She didn’t have access to private insurance but the N.L.I.F (National Life Insurance Fund) that the maharaja at the Posho claimed he remitted ought to count for something.
“So this was it, this is how it all ends.” she thought morosely.
This post is in honour of all breast cancer patients, current and past, living or dead. You’re braver than you know. Standing up to cancer takes guts and brings no glory. You may not live forever, but each of you will be remembered as a soldier for taking up the gauntlet. #touchyourTatas; you may end up saving your own life.