Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: cancer

Okay.

Okay: the best you will ever feel is “okay.” When I was little my grandmother smoked like a chimney and died. My mother couldn’t bring herself to say those words; she said grandmother “stopped breathing.” I was slow to grasp the full scope of that statement, okay. Grandmother once drew me a diagram about explaining smoking to me. Okay, she drew two sinewaves one under the other and she talked. She said you feel good and bad, smokers feel bad and worse. And when they feel okay they think they’re feeling good. Yeah? It’s not just smokers. Yeah. Okay? Okay.

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Cancer Detector

She bought a cancer detector online, set it up, and promptly forgot about it. The same way dogs can sniff out illnesses, the device claimed, it could analyse particles that came into it and sort them. She did not trust the thing, but she had bought it as a ritual, the same way she threw salt over her shoulder or turned her mattress every month.

Whatever; it started beeping in the middle of the night and the man she had taken home left in a hurry, thinking it was a fire alarm, or a good excuse, and that was it.

Enabling Nostalgia

You took a photograph of her when she was weak. You said that photographs enable nostalgia too much if we exclude moments like these. There was a kind of glee to your voice, a cheesy, plastic grin on your face as if you were the one in front of the camera. She, in turn, wore no expression, just a hospital blanket spattered with irregular polkadots, like someone had meticulously painted each one. The camera spat out the photograph like a bitter pill, but I looked in your albums today and there are only pictures of white teeth and deep dimples.

Do Not Enter

You come into our family like a tumour, growing viciously. Five years ago she had cancer, this feels exactly the same. I’m 14 now, you shouldn’t be here. They will forget me. The librarian gives me that look that people give me sometimes, when I ask her what section I should trawl through. I tell her you asked me to, she asks for your phone number. I give her my own number and hope that she won’t hear my pocket buzz. This is the first time I am put on a watchlist because of you. It won’t be the last.