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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Doubts and fears of a young woman afflicted by breast cancer are here told.

Submitted: October 24, 2017

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Submitted: October 24, 2017



Ramona Ingrami turned the keys in the lock and went into her apartment. She sat down on the red couch in the living room and started crying, thinking about what her doctor told her just a few moments ago.

"Miss Ingrami, you have breast cancer. It's malignant. We will do our best to help you.”

That diagnosis crushed all her certainty, everything she loved faded when she heard those words. Nevertheless, at that moment she did not cry, she remained tenacious and accepted the situation with the strength that only women can have. She thought of what her father said to him many years before:

"Promise me that you will be strong in any circumstance. And if there’ll come moments in which you won’t be strong, show your weakness only when there is no one around.” She kept that promise partially because she proved to be frail several times with the people she loved, since they wouldn’t have judged, but they would have understood, supported and loved her. However, she did not reveal to any of his family the illness’ symptoms that made her go to the doctor. Neither to the little Matías that was just eight, who would not fully understand what was going on, nor to Andrea, the 15-year-old son, who might have understood the gravity of the matter. She wanted to talk about it with her husband Cristiano, tell him about the nodule on her breast, about the swelling of her chest. But she didn’t, in order not to frustrate him in vain, because perhaps her illness was not a tumour, but something of little significance, something that would have been cured in no time. While she was crying alone on the couch, she thought that her life now was a huge dilemma, a mixture of uncertainties and doubts. A question appeared in her mind. "Why? Why me?" Despite she was 37 years old, she couldn’t find an answer to that question.

She went to the bathroom, washed her face carefully, and looking in the mirror, she thought that maybe his loved ones would never see her face again. The face of a mother, a daughter, a wife. She wouldn’t have the chance to see her children introduce their respective girlfriends to her, and perhaps she would not have survived long enough to become grandmother. Even though she rarely put make up on, that morning she did because she wanted to hide his psychophysical state that was slipping away, and to look beautiful and confident. She took from a handbag the make-up tools, and began to apply make-up. After finishing the operation, she went to the kitchen and found the dishes and pots used the night before not washed. "If I don’t wash them, nobody will” she thought, and began to clean and rinse, plate after plate and pot after pot. In the boys' room, she found the dirty beds, crumbs on the floor, and a stain of milk on Matías's blanket. "Now I'm going to wash this too". And she did, in fact. Perhaps because she wanted to throw away the tumour’s thought from his mind and continue to behave as if nothing had happened. She leaned to one of the boys’ bed. "Maybe God was defeated by Lucifer during the angels’ rebellion. Because if He had won, the children wouldn’t starve to death, wars wouldn’t kill innocents, politicians wouldn’t worry only about putting weight on their belly and I wouldn’t have cancer.” A few moments later, something happened in her brain, and with tears in her eyes, she heard a voice whispering:”If there is any God up there, you are in his hands.”

She went to her room and opened her wardrobe to look for a long black dress, one of those worn at funerals. First, she searched slowly between the clothes, then moved them vehemently, looking for the black dress that did not jump out. She threw several garments on the floor, but the dress she was looking for was not among those. In her soul and on her face mixed anger, sadness and tears, until Ramona took a deep breath and closed for a moment her eyes. Once opened, she saw the black dress. It was there, in the wardrobe, in front of her and next to the red dress she wore one night a few years ago when Cristiano took her out to eat for celebrating New Year's Eve.

She removed the sweater and the jeans she wore and leaned them on the bed, remaining only with her undergarments. She looked at her breast for several minutes, and thought that tumour might rip off her bosoms, that she would stop being a woman to become a victim of that murderer called cancer. She wore the black suit and with the eyes of despair, she looked at the mirror. "Yes, I'm ready for my funeral."

Despite the turbine of emotions surrounding it, she took paper sheets and a pen to write two letters: one for her husband, one for her two children.


Dear children,

I already know that Andrea thinks he is already an adult and hates being called child, but in my heart you will always be my children. When you read this letter I will not be there any more, or if things are fine and my tumour will be defeated, you will never read it and I'll tear it because I'll be here with you. During Christmas time it’s your father and I that bring you gifts, not Santa Claus, as you have already guessed. Christmas gifts can always be substituted, thrown away or not considered, since the next year you will be given another one. But there is a gift that is never given twice: life. I ask you to live your life intensely, without the fear of the judgment of others, enjoying every moment that is given to you. And most importantly, I ask you to be yourself. You will experience in your heart the suffering, the joy and the love, and all the other emotions that life will set aside for you, and you will face them all with your personality, with the awareness of being always yourselves and not who others want you to be. I ask you not to judge your father if he will find another woman, and if that happens, do not treat her with contempt, but I want you to accept her as a member of the family. I ask you to read this letter whenever life will put an obstacle in front of you, every time you are afflicted by dejection. I hope that reading it will give you the strength needed to overcome the obstacle and overthrow the dejection. Even though I'm gone, even though I cannot hug and tell I love you, just know I'm always here with you, it's as if I've never gone. I'm sure one day we will all meet, but dear children of mine, stick together and be strong, because a long time will have to pass.


When Ramona finished writing also the letter for her husband, she thought of how her family would react to the news of cancer. "I will do everything I can to defeat cancer. I will do it for my family, and for myself. I do not know how this war will end, but I know that if I die, I will by facing cancer.” Soon after, she took off her black suit to wear a pair of jeans and a green sweater and then go to the bathroom to remove make up. When she left the room, she heard the door bell: her husband and the kids were back.


Months later, in the kitchen, the air was filled with burning smell again. "Damn, I cannot cook without burning the meat," thought Cristiano. Matías and Andrea were with him in the kitchen, watching TV. A news of the newscast captured the attention of the three guys. A journalist announced the umpteenth death due to cancer. Nobody looked for the other's gaze, no one dared to speak. There was no need, their minds ran to the same direction, towards the image of a wife, a mother, a cancer-victim woman whose memory will never fade.

© Copyright 2018 Alessandro Antonio Arcuri. All rights reserved.

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