Every time we go to Lyon our life takes a turn. At the hospital, where each and every patient has cancer, all is orderly, purposeful. People get cancer, nothing unusual about it. We shouldn’t think we’re special, it’s happening to everyone there, that’s hospital logic. Out on the street, people paint trees to match the graffitti on the walls. Nothing ususual there either. That too has its own kind of order, its own implacable logic.
Cancer is redecorating our life in France, but not in colors that match our hopes and dreams.
We go up there on the train, the 200 mile an hour train. It’s fast, smooth, and nearly silent. On the walls of the train cars are pictures of little cell phones, eyes closed, slumbering peacefully. It’s been a long time since I slept as well as those little phones.
We emerge from the train station and breathe deeply, readying ourselves for the news of the day. We’re still waking up, remembering who we are and why we’re there.
We dive down into the underground Metro, where sometimes the doors slam on us, and since the train has no driver there’s no one to help. It sounds like a metaphor, but that’s how it actually is some days. Other days it just feels like that.
It’s hard to see where you’re going when you’re on cancer’s slippery slope, when your body lets you down and you can’t wake up from that dream of falling. When the door slams on you.
We fight for balance in our lives. Time to breathe, time to sing, time to make Thanksgiving shopping lists, time to scream into the pillow, time to clean the cat box, time for a shivering no sweater can calm, time for a crossword puzzle, time for a glass of wine, two glasses, time to wait and wait and wait and see what the doctors will say next.
You just don’t know where you’ll end up when you fall through cancer’s trap door. Today we’re off to Lyon again, off to see the wizard. There must be a magic wand somewhere and we’re looking for it, whether it’s in Lyon, or Barcelona, or London, or Seattle. Hope springs.
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