This Is Where The Magic Happens

This Is Where The Magic Happens

‘This is where the magic happens,’ the homeopath said as he waved us into his office.

My husband sat in front of the homeopath’s desk. I shut the door and sat near the window.

My husband told the homeopath about his skin cancer. Secondary. Spreading. And how the only cure was the surgical removal of the lymph nodes in his right thigh, as soon as possible.

The homeopath talked about vibrations.

My husband talked about how he didn’t want the surgery or its side effects.

The homeopath clapped his hands with joy. He told my husband he’d come to the right place. That you had to find the root emotional cause of cancer to really cure it, or it would just keep coming back.

I wanted to say that I’d never found the root cause of my cancer. That it had been diseased flesh, cut out and long gone. But this wasn’t my appointment or my cancer. I wasn’t the patient. I was the wife. The ring on my finger had boundaries.

The homeopath talked and talked and talked. Of miracle cures and deathbed recoveries. Amongst it all, there was something about him being sued by the family of a young girl who’d died, but he didn’t care about that because he was right about cancer and everyone else was wrong.

My husband handed over our credit card.

And so the cancer spreads.

Family, friends, and neighbours were very angry with my husband for cancelling his surgery. But they didn’t talk to him. He was sick. They talked to me—at the school gate; on the phone; in the supermarket. It was important to them that I knew how angry they were.

I stopped answering the phone. I shopped late at night.

And so the cancer spreads.

I didn’t know what to do. My husband had always been passionate about alternative medicine and it was his body. His life. His death. I left him to do his meditation and take his concoctions. I concentrated on keeping things normal for our two young children. I didn’t stop talking to him on purpose. I just didn’t know what to say.

And so the cancer spreads.

After several months, one family member took a stand. Not one of his sisters. Not his parents. Not my family. Not even me. My husband’s 21-year-old daughter, from his first marriage, said enough was enough. She circled the date on the calendar of his next scan. She told him if the cancer was still spreading by that red mark, he had to have the surgery.

My husband was so confident in his natural-therapies approach, he agreed—too easily.

‘I mean it, Dad. If you go back on this deal I will never, ever see you or speak to you again.’ She picked up her handbag and left, her shoulders shaking with silent sobs.

When she was little, she used to cry like that. About some playground spat or mean teacher. ‘It’s not fair,’ she’d say, and I’d try to explain that life isn’t always fair. That some things are complex. That some things are beyond our control. But it wouldn’t help. A trip to McDonalds was always the answer: a hamburger doing so much more than words.

The red-circled date on the calendar arrived. I took my husband to get his scan. The cancer was bigger. He booked in for the surgery, defeated.

I felt relieved and ashamed. How had I let such a huge burden fall on such narrow shoulders?

After the operation, she was the first one at his bedside.

We didn’t talk about the cancer, the homeopath or the surgery. Instead, she told us about her new job: how one rainy morning her shoes got wet running from the station so she’d microwaved them in the staff kitchen and was sprung by the office busybody.

The busybody put in a written complaint, the microwave was thrown out and a sign was put over its replacement that read Do not microwave items of clothing, followed by three exclamation marks.

We laughed.

We ate chicken sandwiches.

This is where the magic happens.


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