It was just a shadow on a sheet of medical film.
Then it became something else.
Then it was gone.
A day for sunshine and flowers.
Four years later new medical photos show only the shadow of a hole where the kidney and its tumor once were.
The doctors will still search because of the type of cancer it was. Each new medical picture offers them a view into my cancerous past like a telescope offers a view into the history of time.
They point at little specks on the film, say it looks okay, no changes.
But it doesn’t mean it won’t change.
No one knows the future.
In six months I’ll slide back into the electronic canyon and follow the directions of the cartoon faces that say, “hold your breath” and “breathe.”
And if all is right the new pictures will show nothing new, my spleen will still be unremarkable and all the little dots will be just that, things, just as unremarkable as my spleen.
And I’ll walk into the parking lot relieved for myself but worried about those whose time with this disease is not so nearly uneventful, whose lives will be cut short, whose families will face an empty chair at dinner time, an empty room.
I’ll continue to be a member of a club no one ever volunteers to join – the cancer survivor’s club – and hope the membership grows.
Then I’ll flip through the news on my phone and learn of another shooting, and other self-serving power hungry politician patting themselves on the back for another stupid idea that will hurt people they don’t care about, find another group with a grievance demanding attention, and wish there was a medical machine with cartoony faces we could slide society through and have it come out cured.
But there’s not.
The fight instead is one step at a time, one new home, one hot meal, one less gun, one less declaration of self-importance, one less act of hate, while thinking of a day when all the things what divide us will be unremarkable.