Yesterday morning I was texting with my sister the ex-mayor's wife before school started, and she proclaimed that she had to stop, as she was hitting the road for her nose surgery.
"You didn't tell me you were having a nose job! Maybe now people will think YOU are the younger sister!"
"I thought I told you. I have a skin cancer that they're cutting off."
Well, ain't that a fine how-do-you-do-goodbye-for-now? After stopping by there once a week, and bonding over her granddaughter Babes opening up T-Hoe to Main Street riff-raff while we were dividing Mom's estate...you would think Sis could have told me something of this nature. So then I was worried about her all day, about how much of her nose they might lop off, and worried about Hick, who took the day off for a urologist's appointment, about how much of his--wait. I don't think any lopping-off goes on at the urologist's office.
I knew Sis had a thingy on the end of her nose. The bulbous part. Not that she looks like W. C. Fields or anything. At the hospital, and at the funeral home, I saw that she had a bump there. "Oh, that's too bad," I thought, "that Sis has a pimple right there on the end of her nose from crying in grief and blowing her nose too much." Shortly thereafter, she went to the dermatologist, because that thing kept sitting there on the end of her nose, and if she scratched it or just scrubbed her face, it would start to bleed. On one visit to her immaculately-drivewayed house, Sis had a bunch of spots all over her face and arms and neck, like the black measles. "Oh, the dermatologist burned off a bunch of precancerous lesions." You'd think that would have been her opportunity to tell me of her nose's diagnosis.
I know that something of this sort would bother Sis. She's the one who told me, after my thyroid mostly-removal, "You can always wear a scarf. Or a button-up shirt. Or cover it with makeup." Yeah. That's not happening. I yam what I yam, as a wise, overly-developed-forearm sailor once said. It doesn't matter to me if people think I'm some kind of Frankenstein's monster, or that I've had a head transplant. It's not like I'm walking the runaway in Milan.
After school, I sent her a text asking how she was doing, and what kind of cancer it was.
"It's the most common kind: basal cell carcinoma. It doesn't spread or reoccur, but it eats away at your flesh. The plan was to shave it off, then send it to the lab while I waited about an hour to see if they got it all, then if not, shave some more, wait an hour, and so on. I got lucky, because after the first shave, it was all out. The doctor said it couldn't have been in a worse place. That if it had been on the bridge of my nose, or on the rim of the nostril, there would be something firm under it in case I needed a skin graft from behind my ear. But right now I don't. I just have a big hole in the end of my nose, which will heal, and may, at the worst, be slightly discolored."
"That's good to hear. Not your flesh being eaten way part. But the rest."
"Yes. I guess I will be homebound for a while. I have a big clown nose bandage that I'm supposed to take off tomorrow, and paint on a liquid kind of bandage."
"I hope Babes doesn't get ahold of it!"
"After the surgery, we were planning to have lunch at a deli that we like, but with this big clown nose, I didn't want to go in. So we picked up food and ate in the car. Then on the way home, I had to go to the bathroom. I couldn't hold it anymore. We couldn't just pull over, we were on the highway! So the ex-mayor said he would stop at Dairy Queen. I didn't want to go in, but he said, 'Just put on your sunglasses. Nobody here knows you.' After I was done and washing my hands, I looked in the mirror. I'm not sure that going in was such a good idea. They probably thought I was going to rob the place, with my giant sunglasses covering my face, and this ridiculous clown nose."
"I hope none of them ever saw your gun-running photos that the ex-mayor texted to me but I never received! They're floating around out there somewhere."
"Yeah. And they probably have a surveillance camera, and my picture will be on the news. 'Have you seen this woman?'"
"Well. At least your getaway car was clean."