• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 07


Gradual. I remember the exact word the doctor used, mom pulling me tight against her as if to stop me from falling. Your hair loss will be gradual. But when I saw clumps in her hairbrush and handfuls on her pillow, I knew there’s nothing gradual about cancer. He said it over and over again: most side-effects will gradually disappear, and recovery is a gradual process, ‘why the hell did you wait so long’ lingering in the air.

Back home, she gave me the ‘don’t think of me as gone’ look, touching her hair, rage burning inside me, unpronounced, yet so very loud, then got undressed. Took dad’s electric shaver from the drawer, adjusted the motor speed for a powerful shave, and handed it to me, Let’s get it over with.

Fixed on her soft, smooth skin, my eyes didn’t see a gradual cell destruction or a breastless woman, but the beauty that still remains.