TITLE: THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS
GENRE: YA Contemporary
Before I could stop myself, I reached for my hair, my fingers smoothing over my naked scalp. Gone, it was all gone. Even now, almost a year later it still came as a shock. I did this several times a day, like clockwork. It felt like a phantom limb, my hair.
My oncologist for the last year or so, Dr. Meredith, bustled through his office door. Noise from the hallway bled through for just a moment, before the door shut behind him, sealing us in. My mom drummed her fingers on her leg, a nervous habit. Dad reached over and took her hand in his, absorbing her tension.
Dr. Meredith was a large, robust man, and jolly, too with rosy cheeks and this perpetual baby powder smell. I always thought he would be better suited as a Santa Claus at the Green Oaks Mall rather than a doctor charged with the duty of delivering earth-shattering news. Maybe his appearance was supposed to soften the blow. The bad news is you have cancer. The good news is Santa Claus is your doctor. Peppermint stick for your trouble?
I’d always had this strange affinity for fat doctors. I wondered if they got on their scales every morning, shook their fists at death, and said, “Ha! Still fat and still breathing, suckers!” But, seriously, they knew how very possible it was to just die. At any moment and for no reason. Death did not discriminate.