His soft hand reached out for mine. “I’m sorry.”
My own skin, by comparison, must have felt rough. Humble. The calluses were testament to every day spent working the land. And after all, that was why I was here.
“The prognosis isn’t great,” he said, peering at his report. That meant nothing to me, but I nodded. “With aggressive treatment — well. The five-year survival rate is forty percent.”
Five years. Five harvests. If I was lucky.
My shoulders, once mountains, shook. I stared down at the mark on my skin. A childlike thought danced through my head: the pirates’ “Black Spot.” Mine, too, meant likely death.
Later, at home, I sat idly while my sister googled alternative therapies. “You could try yoga,” she said, not meeting my eyes. “Or meditation. There’s kombucha…”
I stared back at her blankly. “You’re kidding, right?”
“It’s natural,” she said, shrugging.
“So’s sunlight,” I replied.