The Scare

Looking in the mirror, my heart began to race. Something was different about my face. I've always had a couple "beauty marks," which I've learned to love, but after twenty years, I've also learned to ignore them.

Which made it hard when deciding if I had grown another one overnight.

My mind was going crazy, a million different thoughts fighting each other as I stood, frozen, staring at the familiar stranger in the mirror. It's strange how one dot can make someone look so different.

It took only a few seconds to realize that I was looking at a new mark, something small and dangerous, even deadly.

Skin Cancer. One tiny little dot.

I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't move. Who do I call first? How do I handle this? How did I get this?

It was only supposed to be one time. One time stretched out on a clam-shell bed, multiple lights surrounding me, tanning my winter frosted skin. One time to jump-start my tan for the season, helping my body to submit to my desires, and become the same shade
A few days later, I decided one more time wouldn't hurt. After all it was just one more time.
And then it was just one time the next time, too. 
And the time after that.

Did I tan one too many times?  Was it was because I went swimming outside...or did it happen when I sat in the sun at a family gathering? When does something like this happen? Did I catch it in time? Was it too late?

Suddenly I was no longer made of stone, and I could move. My trembling hand reached to touch the new mark, hoping to cover it up so I could pretend it wasn't there.

I closed my eyes, thinking of every childish way to make a wish I had ever heard, hoping to find a poem, a chant, a prayer, anything I could recite that would take the mark away. Could I wish upon a star that hadn't come out yet?

Slowly, I moved my hand away. The spot was GONE, transferred from my upper lip to my hand; a perfectly round, perfectly flat, spot of chocolate from a slice of dessert I had eaten hours earlier.

I didn't have cancer. I could breathe again.

I walked to my room and sat upon my bed. I thought about the many people who have gone through the same thing, but found that they did have cancer. I thought of my friends and family members who have had cancer. I thought of the loved ones who passed away from cancer,

  ...and I cried.


  1. Awareness and interior growth!

  2. Boy Pene, that is scary. But I'm glad it was just a scare.

  3. Boy,you gave a scare there!A big one!But I'm glad it was nothing

  4. Oh Penelope....I can so relate to this post! My grandmother died from a melanoma and my mother was just diagnosed with skin cancer a few months ago. Thankfully, she will be ok but it's a big reminder to me to be extra vigilant.

    On a happier note....you won a giveaway at McMommy and Me!! Go check it out.

  5. Thanks goodness it nothing to worry about.

  6. Hi Penelope,
    Stop in and there will be a little token for you.

  7. ha ha ha! Chocolate from a couple hours ago? I would've hated to have skin cancer on my face! Good thing it was just my arm.

  8. wow Pene, you are a seriously good writer!


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