I don’t recall seeing him this bright eyed before. There’s always been a shadow in his gaze. It was there this morning too when we briefly met up at the library before he headed off to his own job. When he popped in this afternoon with smoothies though, his eyes were so clear and bright that I thought for sure there was something different in his life, something new.
Turns out I wasn’t all that wrong but when he first told us I couldn’t understand a single word he was saying. Mira seemed to understand more of what he was saying than I was so I ended up asking him about it after we’d gone back home, of course.
“So what’s remission?” That was the first word I didn’t really know the meaning of and as he chopped up vegetables and I prepared the broth for our soup, he told me. He explained that it was something close to a temporary diminution of the severity of a disease or pain. I guess that made sense. I still didn’t know what Cyrille had meant when he said his sister’s cancer was in full remission though.
“You remember when he told us that Magali was undergoing chemotherapy?” Of course I remember, it seemed like something that was supposed to help her but she looked tired and Cyrille didn’t seem like he really wanted to talk about it so I’d honestly just put it to the back of my mind and I’d more or less forgotten all about it.
I nod to answer his question but then realize he has his back to me so I make a little ‘yes’ noise so he’d go on while I add the first batch of veggies into the soup.
“Well, chemotherapy is used to treat cancers. Cancers are sicknesses that can kill you and a lot of them can’t be treated. That’s the easiest way I can explain it.” He drops the rest of the veggies in a bowl next to me and starts to work on tearing the chicken into smaller pieces so we can add it at the end of the soup preparation. “So when he said she was in complete remission, it means that she’s not going to be in pain any more and there’s no sign of the cancer in her though it doesn’t mean it’s completely gone. The real short version is that she’s healthier and pain free now and that was just a really happy and joyful moment for him.”
When I think about it, as it is explained this way, it makes sense. It really does. If Mira had cancer, though I don’t even know if that’s possible, I would want him to be in remission as fast as possible so he wouldn’t be suffering, I can understand why Cyrille looked so happy and so pleased with life in general. It also explains why he didn’t really stick around long, just long enough to tell us about Magali before he was on his way.
I love simple meals like these, just a light broth, a lot of vegetables, some meat, some noodles and voila. A warm, nourishing meal that came together pretty easily and can just as easily be warmed back up again and that’s the point of it all. I can’t say it fills me with joy the way Magali’s pain-free days do with Cyrille but I’m pretty happy with that kind of thing.
We both send him a text message after we’ve eaten to ask him to give his sister our best. We’ve only met her briefly but she seems really important to Cyrille so I don’t see why we wouldn’t be nice to her. That just seems to make sense really. He doesn’t message back and that’s just fine too, I’m sure he’s no where near his phone and he’ll get these messages before he goes to bed or after he’ll be getting up tomorrow morning. The world isn’t about to end because he doesn’t answer.
The dishes are washed and cleaned, put away and we settle into the living room for a few hours before we head to bed. It still is too bright outside to even consider going to bed at this point and I don’t think we’d get any sleep just yet.
“How did you learn about all this cancer stuff?” Well, I have to ask him, I’d put that thought behind me when it had been brought up since he didn’t really seem to want to discuss it, after all.
“I went and talked to Armin after we got home that day. I was really curious and I wanted to know more. I didn’t understand what Cyrille had talked about and I told myself that Armin was best placed to know about human illnesses. I could have asked Eoghan but I don’t think I really would have gotten the same kind of answers.”
It makes sense, in a way. If course it’s saddening to think that Armin knows about these human illnesses because he’s at least half human and it brings back to the surface the thought that he might just be dying long before either one of us. This isn’t really something I like thinking about, it hurts to know that he’s not really like us. That he’s only a little like us and that he’ll be gone before we wish he were.
I grump softly at the thought and I shake my head. Mira seems to take the hint as he chuckles softly and bumps his shoulder into mine. “We could watch a movie.”
Watching a movie might not hurt. Our collection is small and we don’t have direct access to Eoghan’s collection upstairs but we have a few DVDs of our own. Mira leaves me to decide on what we watch and he heads off into his room for a few moments. When he comes back, it’s with a bag of popcorn and I have to wonder why he keeps it in his room though I don’t ask. I admit at times I might snack a bit on whatever I find in the cupboards and I’ve eaten my way through stuff he was keeping for later, so I guess it makes sense.
He sticks his tongue out at me as he notices me watching him wander back into the living room with his bag of popcorn and I shrug sheepishly. It’s not the end of the world, we’re both still learning to adapt to this life we have here with this roof and these clothes and this job we have.
It’s a bag of already popped stuff, it’s half his size and I can’t recall when he might have actually bought it, I would have noticed something this big coming home with him. Maybe he asked Eoghan for it, that could be it. It doesn’t really matter much. He takes a turn into the kitchen and I figure he’ll put some of the stuff into two bowls before bringing it back into his room. I know he has it now but we have a rule, if it’s in our bedrooms, we leave it alone, that being, if someone’s in his room, I don’t touch it, if it’s in mine, he leaves it be.
Finally I decide on a random movie, not even looking at the box as I put it into the player and as I’m settling back down to get it started, he puts down the two bowls on the low table. He settles next to me and stretches.
Today has honestly been a good day. A great day for Cyrille but a good day for us, the worst of the school rush has died down again so we’re not running around like crazy to get the books these folks needed anymore and that’s for the best. Mira tripped several times on the way to get books and then back because people were almost shoving and pushing to get their hands on what they wanted, it was crazy.
People are crazy.