"The Airplane"

A scene where a guy and a girl discuss what to call “cancer” so that it hurts a bit less every time it’s brought up.

“Cancer,” he finishes the sentence for me. “It’s OK. It’s hard for me to say sometimes too, but I like to think that the more I say it, the less it controls me, and the less important I make it.”

“Like the more you see the images of the planes flying into the twin towers, the more it seems like a scene out of some movie, and the less it seemed like it ever happened?”


“Do you really believe that works?”


“For me, every time the news played that video of the second airplane hitting, I cried harder, I think.”

“Yeah,” he says as his shoulders fall.

“So, maybe let’s call it something else, yeah?”

“Like what? Call the cancer something else?” He asks.

“Yeah, what if we called it ‘The Airplane’.”

“Wow. OK. Um, sure. Why not?” He fidgets around on his rock, carefully keeping hold of me.

“You don’t seem so sure.”

“It’s an intense thing to call it ‘The Airplane,’ isn’t it? Meaning, that at any moment it can strike, and my tower could collapse.”

“True,” I shudder. His body isn’t keeping me warm anymore. “I just want it to sound nicer.”

“It can’t. I wish it could sound nicer. But, on the other hand, the truth is, the airplane hasn’t come yet.”

“Yeah, and at least we know it’s coming this time. We can prepare.” We sit there in silence, listening to the faint sounds of life on the campground, holding each other and breathing the other in, watching the fictitious airplanes disappear in the sky.

twin towers

2 thoughts on “"The Airplane"

  1. I feel sad now. Not only are they dealing with the idea of cancer coming at any time, they are anxious about how to label it in order to control some part of it, the part that affects their emotions. Great writing though!

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