By Beatrice Motamedi

April 18, 2022


I’m at my desk, playing with the idea of taking the day off, when the phone rings, and shit, it’s the landline, the number I dread, the one on too many contact lists and credit card applications to ditch, and unfortunately it’s in the bedroom, across my office and one hallway away, and even worse, I have to answer it, as I had a mammogram yesterday and I’m expecting a call from my doctor, who, like me, is well-aware of how breast cancer toys with my family, how it’s claimed three aunties and nearly one mother, or, if you prefer tissue and treatments, five breasts, one lumpectomy, years of chemotherapy we’d rather forget, multiple rounds of radiation, and one surgical biopsy, and that last one was mine, the one with the atypical cells just itching to swell, ripen and burst with the cancer it’s my turn to get, all of which makes it essential to catch this phone, this call, and so there is one last flick of denial before I explode from my chair, feet-in-socks skidding over hardwood floor, phone in sight, blinking innocently from the husband’s side of the bed, not far really, really within reach, except that my pandemic puppy’s in the way, and as my foot brushes his back I stumble and hit the floor hard with my knee (not the good one, the already bad one) just as the phone blinks, one more sad little red blink, and goes dead.

So. Here I lie, awkward and bruised, stuck between knowing and not knowing, trapped on an island of time I’d give anything to leave, when I literally take a second and realize that it is time, in fact, it’s my life I’m living here, one pure moment of it, safe from the reach of any doctor or diagnosis, a straight-up miracle, a clean break with whatever came before and what’s to come, a what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this gift.

As if he knew that all along, my puppy lifts his head and gives me a look of forgiveness.

All right then. Time for a walk.


Beatrice Y. Motamedi is a writer, journalist and teacher living in Oakland, California.


Image by Erik Mclean courtesy of Unsplash

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