The news hovered over her reality; like a greasy haze just outside her periphery. Avoiding the automatic handicap exit, she shoved at the heavy glass door out the bare concrete building, thinking 'nothing is concrete.'
She heaved into the stark winter light; that door wasn't as heavy as she'd thought. Headed for the parking garage, one mindless stride at a time;
left, right, left, right.
Find the car and leave this place
Surely mistakes had been made. It just wasn't true and further testing would prove her right. A second primary was simply not logical.
She approached the downward spiral of the metal stairwell.
Surprised that her trusted doctor concurred with the pathology results, she had been certain he would have a better idea. He couldn't hide from her that it would be a tougher fight this time. The nurse got busy right away. More procedures were scheduled. More cutting, injecting, more surgical plumbing for another goddamn port. More sick, more pain, more drugs, more information than she could tolerate. More time surrendered to the latest that science had to offer.
Shadows led her deeper into the garage as she searched for her taillights.
This time, treatment was not a 5-minute injection and then 'outta there'.
Nothing left to salvage out of that day because
This time, it would be a full 8 hours to allow the best possible poison inside. This time, she would join the ranks of grey husks reclined against the wall like firewood; she would have to make eye contact in the infusion room. This time, she had the dreadful knowledge of what to expect.
Just Find the Car and leave this place.
Her footsteps resounded around her, but she knew she was alone in the cold. Digging deeper into her worn satchel, she felt the familiar fob on her keys, jabbed hard at the button and searched for the flashing lights. Nothing illuminated, but her horn echoed from farther inside.
"Fuck" she muttered, and then marched into the dark.
"Find the Car" was originally published in In Our Own Words in 2013 by the St. Louis Cancer Support Community.
From early childhood, Melissa Cullison was inspired to many creative endeavors as she sang and danced in the kitchen with her musical parents. She gratefully offers her photography skills to diverse non-profits. Her commissioned bronze sculptures are installed around St. Louis and upon her Father's headstone. Melissa has enjoyed writing songs, limericks and quatrains for celebrations with friends and family. She discovered the Women's Writing Workshop through the Cancer Support Community while searching for help with treatment recovery, a program that helped Melissa focused her writing skills to accelerate her healing and put a creative container around the difficult experience.