It’s been a while since she started avoiding mirrors. Almost as long as she has been recoiling from his loving hands. Their lovemaking now reduced to a few minutes of hurried and uncomfortable pleasure. A predictable routine of fumbling in the dark, a nightdress hiked up but not discarded and his frustration obvious in the force of his thrusts. If she slips out of bed fast enough she wouldn’t have to notice the pity in his eyes.
Tonight as usual she seeks refuge in the bathroom, where she can rest her burning cheek against the cold tiles and fight the revulsion she feels for herself. The same revolt she believes that he is too kind to show.
She steps in the shower and remembers that it was in here she felt it for the first time. The pea sized unfamiliarity had held her attention for but a moment before it slipped from her mind as easy as the soap sliding on her wet skin. The second time it was him who found it beneath his caresses. But his concern soon drowned in their passion. After the third time she meant to do something about it, really she did. But there was always this meeting she couldn’t cancel and that trip she didn’t have the heart to miss. Somehow life got in the way.
As the months went by it was no longer unfamiliar and there were many a moment when her hand absently wandered to feel the hardness protruding against her soft flesh.
But she knew it couldn’t possibly be that because she was just too young.
Now she wonders how different life could have been if she had not conveniently assumed that it happens only to your friend’s aunt, your colleague’s mom or that teacher back in school.
They say she will be alright, she’s lucky to still have a chance. But for now, all she feels is hollow.
Hollow like the left cup of her bra.
The month of October is the Breast Cancer Awareness month.
It can happen to women young and old. Don’t wait till you are 40 to get your self screened. Early detection can make a difference in your chances of survival. Self examination is encouraged from the age 20 and a mammogram every 2-3 years for women in their twenties or thirties.