Saturday, March 28, 2015

a little mole

I've always had something of a horror of moles. The kind you get on your skin, not the cute little ones that burrow underground. When I was a child there was a nice man who lived in our apartment building in New York. A fairly young black man. He used to help my mother carry her shopping up the steep stone steps of the old brownstone we lived in. He always took a shy glance around before he did so; looking back, I wonder if he didn't want people to see him being helpful, that it would have spoiled his image.

One day he wasn't there. After a while I asked my mother. He had died. Cancer. I asked her how he got it. 
- He had a mole, she said. It went funny. 
- Couldn't they do anything about it I asked? 
- No, she said, they caught it too late. 

So I've never really liked moles. It doesn't help that I have my own share of them. First noticed them when I was about four or five. My dad said they were beauty spots. Just as well. I probably would have freaked and thought I was going to die if he'd said they were moles.

By the time I knew what they really were I was old enough not to worry unduly. But when I was about thirty I decided maybe the time had come to part company with some and had a lot of them burned off with a cryo-gun. Some of them weren't completely gone; they left a kind of flat brown mark on the skin. A couple of months back one on my right collar-bone got a bit sore. Probably from the chain of the cross I wear. But still, a touch of the childhood horrors were there. A niggly little voice at the back of my mind said I probably should go to the doctor right away, but put I it off. Pressure of work. You know how it is.

I went in the other day. I had a gap in the schedule, a prescription that needed refilling, one or two other small things that needed looking at. I gave the doctor my wee laundry list. He checked out everything else first. Finally, 
- Off with your shirt says he. He looked at the mole, and one or two others. I steeled myself for his diagnosis.

-Yeah, he said, that's a mole. The others too. Want me to take them off? I've got a cryo-gun. 

It stung like blazes. He did three, then went back and did them all again for good measure. That stung more.
 - You'll probably want to come back so I can see if I need to give them another go. Leave it until after Easter. I know you'll be busy. 
- That's right, I said. I'll be pretty busy over Holy Week. Thanks. 

I left his office not exactly as if I'd had a burden lifted because I hadn't been frightfully worried in the first place. It had been more like a little niggle at the back of my mind. Still, stupid of me to leave it and I'm grateful the news wasn't bad. I really need to be a bit more careful in the future. But the niggling little voice at the back of my mind says 
- Good luck with that!

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