Ghana · Prose

AFTERMATH

HIM

He couldn’t think of a better sight to wake up to. There was his wife in the closet across from their bed, standing in the full gloriousness of her nakedness, her back turned to him so he was staring directly at the soft, round globes of her butt.
He couldn’t help but stare; at her torso, a wide expanse of skin, which curved and tapered into a slim waist and then widened again at her hips to perfectly accommodate that butt of hers that was sending messages to his groin.

She was leaner now, he knew; the surgery and its attendant worries and anxieties having taken a toll on her but she was still beautiful, if only she knew.
A few weeks ago, he would have sneaked up on her, carried her squealing back to the bed, told her she was beautiful and made love to her till they were both glowing.
But a few weeks ago, she wouldn’t have been up at this time, taking a bath before he woke up in order for him not to see her naked.

He wanted to tell her that the surgery didn’t matter, that she was still beautiful and that he still loved her. Now though, there was a mental wall between them that he couldn’t scale so he would just have to make do with staring at her in the dark like a teenager sneaking peaks at his crush through her window blinds.

HER

She stared at her reflection in the body-length mirror on the closet wall. Since it was 4am in the morning, she had had to switch on the light bulb in the closet in order to see her reflection better. She had worried about her husband waking up to see her but she was certain he was still fast asleep and anyway her back was not what she was trying to hide from him.

She had looked at her reflection in the mirror every chance she got since she had come back from the hospital after the surgery and she couldn’t believe, couldn’t come to terms with what she was seeing, what she was touching or wasn’t, if she were to be more precise.

She hadn’t believed her doctor when he’d first made the diagnosis a few months previously. She had immediately sought alternative opinions but they had all confirmed what her doctor said: she had a cancareous tumor in her breast.
They had given her hope, or that’s what they termed it. Since the tumor had been diagnosed in relatively early days, they advised surgery to remove her breast. She had never truly known fear until then, feeling as if though she was stuck between the fabled Scylla and Charybdis with no way out in sight.

She still didn’t know how she said “yes” but after that, she had been in something of a daze as plans were made and medicines were prescribed in preparation for her mastectomy. She could recall her husband’s help all through the process. He took charge of the plans, took her for her doctor’s appointments and had demonstrated tremendous love and care for her.
She also knew he was confused now, hurting even, that she hid herself from him. She felt guilty for getting sick, for going through with the surgery, for shutting her husband out. She knew he loved and cared for her but she was scared of what she’d see in her husband’s eyes when he finally saw her naked.
Horror? Pity? Disgust?

She didn’t want to risk it, she couldn’t bear it. After all, she hadn’t come to terms herself with scarred skin and stitches were her left breast used to be.
~ Senam

Photo Credit : The Scar Project

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