i thought of this while i was going to the bathroom today.
my daughter and son come into the living room. they are both holding cups of water in their hands. they sit down on the couch across from me, brown and suede-y. my daughter's hair is still wet. my son drinks all his water. then he sets it down and looks at his watch. he is wearing a NOFX shirt. my daughter is dressed like MTV and Target.
i tell them i have cancer. it is in the bones, i say. the clock moves silently. my heart is pounding in my chest. it doesn't look very good, i say. they have looks on their faces of great seriousness. cancer is very serious, i think. my daughter starts to cry into her hands. my son holds the empty glass of water to his mouth and stares out the window. he is looking at cars and clouds. he bends his neck to see them go by. my daughter keeps asking how? how? how? how?
i was just kidding, i say. no cancer.
my sons starts laughing and shaking his head, rolling his eyes. that's fucked, he says. my daughter wipes her eyes and walks out of the room. a door slams somewhere. their father is gone. he hasn't been home in four years. i don't like to think about it. it was spring when he left. it didn't feel like the right time. everything was too sunny and blooming.
the living room is very quiet. they are both gone. i can hear the clock slamming down each second and the tick of the water boiling on the stove. they are both gone.
i still have cancer.