Posted by: miilee | March 15, 2011

Nothing Fatal


She must have faith, she kept telling herself. She looked at herself in the mirror. For 45, she looked pretty, people told her. She had long brown hair, hazel, almond-shaped eyes and slightly petulant shapely lips. One could just see the slight wrinkles at the corners of her eyes and the etched laughter lines. She wasn’t one to hide her age but one of those women who acquire elegance with every passing year. Each new wrinkle just added to the beauty of her face. Barring a slight eye shadow and lipstick, she barely used any make up. Even to the parties, she just put on an elegant dress and an even more elegant smile. That was enough to make her the most luminescent person present.

But now, as she stared at her reflection, she could see nothing of that beautiful woman. For the first time, she saw a very worried, single and lonely woman.

Faith, she repeated to herself. She must have faith.

But she found her hold on positivism slackening as she kept running the last few days over and over in her head.

When Nancy had died two weeks ago, it hadn’t exactly been a shock. She’d been diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago. Yet, the absence of Nancy’s cheerful laughter at the other end of the line made the reality even more dreadful. It had dawned on her just yesterday, that even she could fall victim for cancer. She’d never examined herself before; it never occurred to her that something like cancer could happen to her.

She’d gone online and checked how to detect the cancer and examined herself. When she’d first felt the lump in her own right breast, she’d pulled back her hand in horror, not wanting to believe the tell-tale indicator. She’d then cried herself to exhaustion. The next day, she’d excused herself from a party and made an appointment for a medical check up. The doctor had had to ask her to stop shaking while she conducted the mammogram test.

It had taken all her energy; she didn’t know what she was going to do. The doctor had told her not to worry and that her results would come in the next day. But she couldn’t stop thinking of Nancy. Had her doctor too told her not to worry? Had she too been crying like this before she got the results? What was she going to do when they handed her the documents spelling her death? Would she be one of those people who looked beautiful even when they lay in the coffin? Or would she shrivel up like Nancy had in the last year of her life? Would people even remember her beautiful self? Or will they only remember her last, depressing face? Would they even remember her, either ways? Would anyone care enough to remember? Would anyone put wreaths of flowers on her grave on her birthday? She didn’t have a sibling, spouse or offspring she could turn to in her misery, who would want her to live as much as she did.

Tears engulfed her again. It was a tidal wave that was sweeping her away without her consent, pulling the very ground from beneath her feet and tossing her about, ruthlessly. She felt the salty, choking feel in her throat. She felt the air leave her lungs and realized, panic-stricken, that it wouldn’t come back to her. At the same moment, she became aware of a sharp stab of pain running through her breast. It was like the little lump had decided that it didn’t want to gnaw at her like it had with Nancy. It wanted to devour her whole, right there, when no one could hear her or help her. She could feel its grip strengthening, expanding across her lungs and clutching at her wind pipe like an iron fist….


There was a sizeable crowd at the gate of “Crescent Ville”. Media vans were strategically parked, each reporter jostling for the best shot at ‘live reporting’. When the men with the stretcher brought her out, barely anyone got a glimpse of Anna’s slightly tumescent remains.

“TV starlet, the beautiful Anna Hopkins passed away last night due to what seems to be a massive heart attack. She was never known to have a heart condition and her death comes as a shock, especially in the aftermath of the death of her dear friend and social activist, Nancy Turner. Her body is now being brought out of her residence. An autopsy will confirm the cause of death.”


Arthur took one long look at Anna’s lifeless face before he made the first cut. She was one of those people who looked beautiful even in death.

He sighed and began his work. It took him only minutes to establish that she’d had a heart attack. The cops would be happy with that; there would be no need for further investigations.


“Well, the autopsy clears it. Heart attack all right. No suicide, no murder.” Jim said as he put the file down.

“Curiously, she’d gone to the doctor just the day before.” The second officer said.

“What for? Routine?”

“No… she didn’t do routine visits. The records say she went for a mammogram test.”

Jim groaned. “She should have taken the cardio tests too; she’d have seen the danger signs there. Anyway, the results?”

“They came in just a while ago. It shows a slight calcification lump. Nothing fatal.”





  1. Good one.. lot of melancholy…. Iam working on a short story almost on the same lines – Big Round Beady Eyes of Faith.

    • funnily enough, the working title for this one was ‘The Last of Faith’.. 🙂

  2. there is lot to leqrn from here if one must ! Wish she had spent the day doing better than crying for something that jsut wasn’t there !!

    So good to see you write again 🙂

    • Thanks! I have you to thank for that!

  3. A good learning.. really…
    it teaches us not to get hyper on any thing without giving a thought to another side of the story.

    and yes.. welcome back to Blogging World Maithili 🙂

    • Thanks… I guess I’m gonna try and post atleast once a week now… *fingers crossed*

  4. i just kept reading it.. now a third time still holding my breath.. wow…
    i’ve no words to describe what i feel.

    i’m going to come back again..will definitely want to read it many more your narration.

    • Thanks Aparna… wrote after a long time… glad you liked it.. 🙂

  5. Oh my.
    How often do we waste away our days worrying about things that may not even exist. In the process, we lose out on precious moments or like in your story, life itself.

    A wonderful tale very well written.

    • I’m glad you liked the story enough to comment… Thanks… 🙂

  6. Reminds one of that adage: ‘It’s not the loss that hurts u, it’s the fear of it”.
    Another one : “Cancer is curable, till hits ur brain”.
    Or: “Knowing that u will die is not scary, but knowing when u will die sure is”.
    I specially want comments on the last one, since it’s from your’s truly’s own pathetic personal collection!Heehee!
    Hey, another fresh one: ” Ye dhaai kharab ka haath jab kisi pe padta hai, to aadmi uthta nahin uth jata hai!!” Get it! :):)
    Lovely, ciao.

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