I didn’t know what it was at first, this map of mysterious continents shifting beneath the gauze on his head. These lines measure the blood that creeps out along his incision, a meridian that just the day before was nothing more than a faint scar, a reminder of the vanquished enemy we’ve been fighting for the past year.
But it came back. Even though he took all the pills and I held my breath in every tunnel we drove through. Even though we made other plans and pressed forward with the lives we wanted to live, sealing his brain tumor back in the distant past. It came back even though we did everything right, did everything we could to keep it away.
He drifted in and out of sleep in the ICU, and when I looked up at his bandages just a few hours later these continents had moved again, with no regard to the ballpoint boundaries set earlier in the day.
Things change. And in a few days, the blood has dried and his skin has healed and all that is left of the horror of those 48 hours is a faint scar and a few photographs and our memories and these insufficient words.