No I’m not pregnant, I’ve got cancer.

When your 31 and you’ve got a baby that’s approaching 1 year old, there might come a time where you have to sit close friends and family down and you say “I need to tell you something”.

You’ll see this glimmer come over them as they think “I know what’s coming”, maybe they even smirk a little as they think “that was quick”. And then you have to say “I’m not pregnant again, I’ve got cancer.”

You watch the realisation flood over their face, top to bottom. First their eyes flicker as they recoil from the mental whiplash of going from excited congratulations to sympathetic horror. Then it creeps down their face as their cheeks pull away from their half-formed apples of a smile. Their mouth is the last thing to register and it usually goes one of two ways, you can get the lips set in a determined poker face or an ‘o’ of disbelief. Occasionally the wave hits their chin and rebounds, rippling back up their face as they set their faces in a hollow smile and say “you’ll be fine”, “you’re strong” or something else that means next-to-nothing but fills the silence while their brain tries to catch up. And then you reassure them. You tell them you’re fine (when you’re not, you’ve got cancer), you tell them not to worry (what’s the point in saying that), you answer some of their questions and then you try to get on with the rest of the day, pretending not to notice the sideways glances from eyes that fill with moisture when they look at you for too long.

They will never look at you the same again, those eyes. You are forever changed to them. What a bastard.

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