The Man Named Cancer | Teen Ink

The Man Named Cancer

December 16, 2012
By WhosLaughingNow SILVER, Endwell, New York
WhosLaughingNow SILVER, Endwell, New York
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

I remember it very well
Yes, yes I do
I stood a mere three feet off the ground
Him, about six foot two
His name was Travis
My name was Liz
He lived in the hospital
I only visited

I had long wavy hair
He had little to none
I told him I’d give him some
If my mom let me cut it off
He laughed and told me not to
It’d be a waste of hair anyways
“Give it to someone who’ll be here next year
Give it to someone who could really us it.”

I asked him what he meant
And he told me a story
He told me there was a man named Cancer
And that he cut off all his hair
“You see, Cancer made it so
I’ll never have lots of hair like you.
Even if you gave me some
There isn’t much it would do.”

In the car going home that day
I told my mom about the man named Cancer
I told her about my new friend
And with a sad look on her face she told me about my cousin
She told me that Cancer had met my cousin Liam
Back when he was my age
She said that the year after I was born
Cancer stole him from us

This left my four year old mind outraged
“Mommy, why would someone do that?”
She simply shook her head
“I don’t know baby.”
I told my brother about Cancer
He told me he already knew
“Did you know he steals people?”
And he shook his head yes

For the next few months
When I went to work with my mom
I’d find Travis and talk to him
Ask him more about Cancer
Then I asked him about his family
He had two sisters and a brother
His mom and dad were both teachers
I told him about my family too

One day, when I was with him
I noticed his Pokémon blanket
I told him my brother and I loved Pokémon
My favorite was Jigglypuff
He laughed and said “That’s cute,
But Gyarados is cooler.”
I disagreed

I remember late December
Two days after Christmas
Me and my brother went to work with my mom
I wanted him to meet Travis
I ran to the front desk
“Where’s Travis, the boy who met Cancer?”
She looked down at me with a gloomy glance
“Please Lizzie Bee just with your brother.”

We sat in the lobby, waiting for our mom the be done
When I saw my preschool teacher rush in
Followed a man with two daughters and a son
All looked terrified
I tried waving to her, but she didn’t wave back
The man sat near my brother and I
Hushing, the screaming baby in his arms
My brother told me not to say anything

A little while later my teacher came back
Holding a Pokémon blanket
Holding Travis’s blanket
She acknowledged me, then looked at the blanket
Holding it out to me she said
“Liz, this is for you.”
I shook my head
“No that’s Travis’s.”

She handed it to me anyways
Attached with a note on top
And with her family
She went back to where she came from
I asked my brother to read the note to me
And after he did
I realized that the blanket was mine
Because Cancer had stolen someone again

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