Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cancer bomb

Invariably, conversations steer toward my mother's health. Not just with best friends or family, but relative strangers, too. My hairdresser, for instance.

Hairdresser: How have you been?
-My mind: Are you a licensed psychiatrist and/or do you have a bottle of bourbon? If not, neither of us can handle the honest answer to that. 
--Me: Fine. You?
Hairdresser: I've been great. What's new?
-My mind: Please stop this line of inquiry.
--Me: I moved home to NC.
Hairdresser: Oh really? What for?
-My mind: Shit. Isn't it obvious that I don't want to talk about this? You're going to get a great tip regardless of whether or not we roll through the small talk.
--Me: I'm helping out my mom.
Hairdresser: Oh, that's nice. Is she okay?
-My mind: She is a lot of things. Okay is definitely not on the list.
--Me: She's a little sick.
Hairdresser: Oh no, I'm so sorry. What with?
-My mind: Really? Why even ask? You know the answer is going to be unpleasant.
--Me: Uh, well, brain cancer.
-My mind: BOOM. Cancer bomb.

Every time I tell someone that for the first time I feel like the Enola freakin' Gay. It makes me feel guilty. I even started prefacing the answer with an apology for sounding dramatic, but that just made me sound like a jerk.

The other option is to lie, of course. Spare myself the guilt and them the stain on their shiny day. But I'm not that quick on my feet.

Image: Nuclear explosion at Nevada Test Site, link.

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