Your First Grey Hair
by Dan Sanders
I went through a rough period recently. I thought I had cancer. It turns out I didn’t. But things looked that way for long enough that it didn’t really matter. I didn’t have cancer, but that for a few weeks, there being cancer in my bones or my belly or wherever was didn’t matter. I had Schrodinger’s Cancer. I had cancer because I didn’t not-have cancer. Here’s the interesting thing: At the end of a few weeks of tests and self reflection and worry and sleepless nights and outright, shameful 3am panic – when the tests came back and I didn’t have cancer: I didn’t go skydiving.
The air wasn’t sweeter, food didn’t taste better. Nothing changed. I didn’t come away with some new understanding of the world or any wisdom. I went back to work. I just got to kick the tires on a few cancer specialists that I’ll eventually need later. It’ll happen eventually, right? And I don’t feel more prepared or wise or soulful about anything. I am exactly the same except a small patch of grey hair behind my right ear. A grey badge of cowardice, tucked someplace where I’ll never have to look directly at it, never have to think about how my suddenly being alive mattered so little that it barely altered the course of my own existence.
In the face of absolutely everything, I just wanted to not be whatever it was that I was at that time, and when that was done, I went back to not wanting to be the first thing either. I went back to the middle period between not wanting and not having, living and not dying, settled right back into existence and that is the most interesting thing that has ever happened to me. That despite everything, no matter what happens, it just happens and that’s all that happens because I am absolutely no one and so is everyone else.
Next Week’s Prompt: Boomerangs and Puppy Dogs