ALL RIGHT NOW(11/02/2007)
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On being told I probably didn't have cancer
(CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE SIXTEEN)
Just on the offchance that anyone's been holding their breath since last week's article, in which I explained I was waiting to see a pneumologist who would tell me what the freshly discovered nodule inside my right lung was, I now have the answer: the pneumologist doesn't know exactly what it is (yet), but he's sure it isn't serious.
So I have stopped mentally writing the text I would have liked my children to read when they hit adolescence ten years from now, so they could hear the voice of their dead father rising up live and clear for the first and last time; I have stopped waking up in the small hours and playing my old friend Ian Senior's song about the London anarchists so that I could remember that good time in my life and say goodbye to it bit by bit; I have stopped fretting, in other words, about the possibility of the world – my world - being withdrawn from me within a period of six months to a year.
However, neither would I describe my feeling after being told I was off the cancer hook as one of unmitigated relief. On the contrary, I felt humiliated. I had been afraid, I had wailed out helpless laments at unexpected times, I had discovered I was not equipped to face off even a hint of death.
Death, by the way, when glimpsed close up, turns out to be a drab, persistent type in a grey mac who you know dislikes you intensely yet insists on keeping you company for purposes of his own (not unlike a man who tried to pick me up in a pub when I was fourteen). Although this time I have managed to make my excuses and leave, I now know full well he's still there in his corner, brolly in hand, his lips twitching out a friendless smile as he draws a bead on my back.