The thing about breasts, my breasts, is that I associate them with my kids. Not sex. I never had tits until I was 16. I remember a projection evening in Basingstoke, circa 1966. An image from me on a beach in Cornwall in a bikini facing the camera, flashed on the wall.
‘Oh look, Elaine’s back view.’
Breast feeding gave my chest a whole new meaning. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snacks. And excuse me, isn’t it meant to protect you from cancer?
God, I’m angry.
But maybe it was 10 years on HRT?
But maybe it was all the fags?
But maybe it was all the alcohol I have consumed religiously since my husband died in 2000.
I watch the women in my Mums & Babies Creative Writing Classes, weighing a tit in hand to check which they’ve fed from last, and my heart somersaults.
My breasts were my friends. Life-sustaining, containing goodness, full of love.
Now I lay awake at night, fearful of the alien within. My head is a jumble of song titles. John Grant’s Sigourney Weaver, Tom Wait’s What’s He Building. Am I being foolish, waiting ’till July 30 for my op, fitting it around work? What’s munching through my right tit right now? Growing, breeding, eating up my life? I’m back in the world of day-to-day that I inhabited for three and a half years, after Jerry was diagnosed with terminal plasma cell leukaemia. Oh, foolish woman to plan ahead. To believe that I’m in control.
But why the fuck am I so worried? It’s tiny, it’s early, the world and her husband are reassuring me that their mums, grans, sisters, friends are all alive 456 years later. But my mum was dead three months after she was diagnosed.
Maybe I should give up drinking…