On a brown leather chair, its connected footrest reaching out to its farthest extension, sat a thin fabric strand of a person. Her body felt like threads of a tested button hole on a tight shirt, holding on strong, waiting to release, the button breaking open the shirt, exposing the vulnerability that was protected behind the taught, stretched threads. The recliner was her reflection spot, her thinking zone, her respite recovery recliner, she used it a lot. Pale feet were an abrupt ending to her long legs that reached out along the leather padded supports of the chair. “Do you want some cinnamon apple pudding honey?” A humpback woman entered the room. Hair as white as snow and lips as red as apples, was this snow white or the evil witch? Allison’s head was turned sideways to the right, her arid cheek pressed against the dry, brown leather. Her gaze reached out over to the wide window that was beside the respite recliner, an expansive partner to the leather chair. The sun shone brilliantly, the trees were chattering in the wind. There was just a haze of blurry shapes, grey memories of a once visible, viable landscape. Cancer was the easy part, the treatment of burning and destroying the evil out of the body was hell. “Darling” wrinkled, white fingers reached out to caress Allison’s hand, “how are you feeling today?” The usually soft fingers felt like thistles against Allison’s skin. Allison sharply pulled her hand back, resting it on her lap. “I don’t need anything.” Her mouth releasing the dull words with the same dedicated action as a working person releases themselves from their home each day to attend to their job. Jelly, formless jelly that is what she had become. A single salty pear shaped tear released slowly from her right eye. Rolling down her dry cheek, leaving a stained path against her dry skin. Dripping off her face, drying up and disappearing forever into the shoulder of the black terry cloth housecoat. Allison closed her blue eyes, she drifted to thoughts of her job. The boring pattern of showing up each day at a job would be a welcomed vacation, a holiday from the reality of her life right now. The dirty microwave and complaints of over work and under paid. Sad Suzy who always had a humourous tragic date night story. “Stop traitorous thoughts, focus on today,” Allison shifted in the chair. The hunchback snow white creature turned, heading to the kitchen, “I will make some cinnamon apple pudding.” The fabled character was gone. Why is food the symbol of comfort? When we are happy we eat chocolates and have drinks, when we are less than happy we eat more chocolates and have extra drinks. Not now, the joy of food was gone. Her digestive system had become like the hard core bits of the apple, the part that everyone spits out. Millions of them lived within her body now. Dry, hard, sharp core bits lined her digestive tract. Food she swallowed caused the sharp bits to rise up within her, expanding their dry, sharp layered edges. Apple cinnamon pudding tricked the coarse cores, it slide by coarse cores and smoothed her insides. Like soft butter over toast, melting into the dry edges, it softened her. Another tear leaped, falling off her face disappearing into the black terry cloth.
It had now been over a year since Allison’s last chemotherapy treatment, her tests were all clear. Embracing the boring pattern of life, she had returned to her routine job. The long commute with fellow raging drivers, the stunning trees and the warm breeze as she often rolled down her window to feel the life of earth, as she sat on the soft padded seat in her car. A stark middle finger was grossly displayed for Allison, as the red car cut in front of here. “I don’t want any trouble from you buddy,” Allison thought, “go ahead,” as she waved a queens hello with her right hand, creating more space for bright red sports car. “Hope he gets where he needs to me,” she briefly closed her eyes and felt the breeze across her eye lids. At home, demanding bills of electricity, groceries, and endless requests, “Mom when is supper ready?” The song of daily life became the joy of existence, the sunshine of survival. Ridiculous tales of broken hearts from Sad Suzy where refreshing and charming now, with each new sorrow of another broken heart, came a new hope. It was good to be a work, treacherous thoughts Allison, focus on sad Suzy right it is very important. The six pack steroid head she just met at her new gym absolutely adored her. “He calls me Susan, I think it’s his pet name for me.” Allison always nodded her head in agreement, carefully swallowing the small laugh forming at the back of her mouth. The microwave was always clean now. The sharp smell of vinegar and lemon releasing from the clean microwave, soothed Allison. With the dedication of a wagging dog’s tail, she flowed with the pattern of her life. Her weathered, torn body had arose to the challenge, overcoming the treacherous tides of treatment. The hurricane of daily living, was now a gentle breeze in the weather of life.
Arriving home from work after another entertaining day of complaining and compromises. Allison was struggling to determine the main entrée for dinner. Soon the troops would be filling up on chips, cookies and the floor would be filling up on crumbs. Frantically pulling out various boxes and cans from the kitchen pantry, she was looking for inspiration. She found it, at the back of second shelf of the pantry. Hiding in the shadows of the tall Uncle Ben’s instant rice packages was a red and white box. Standing on the tips of her toes, she reached in to snatch the box from the shadows. A small, soft crooked smile formed across her face. She didn’t eat cinnamon apple pudding anymore, it tasted sour. Allison took the box of instant pudding, opened her glass cupboard, the one that displayed her Royal Dalton china tea cups. Allison placed the box on the front edge of the shelf, displaying its brilliant red and white colours. A reminder of torn threads and pear shaped tears. Food the Symbol of Comfort.