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Trevino, X. (2013). The Minus Side. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(2):406-413.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(2):406-413

The Minus Side

Xavier Trevino

It seemed like Cindy had been waiting for the bad news all her life, and now it was here. The result of the diagnosis was breast cancer.

The whole time we'd been together, breast cancer was a constant topic of conversation, and even when it was unspoken, it was always around like some lost sock in the back of the drawer.

“My mother had a double mastectomy” was one of the first things she'd told me about her family when we'd started dating in 1980. The other was that her father had just married his second wife after divorcing the cancer victim for reasons too complicated to explain.

And now as I sat in the waiting room at Beth Israel Hospital, Cindy was upstairs in some O.R. getting cut open. It was a round, windowless waiting room with dull gray carpeting and institutional furniture, much like the one upstairs, on the seventh floor, where I had waited for my son to be born 12 years before. I looked at him sitting in one of the armchairs engrossed in his Game Boy, seemingly oblivious to his mother's fate.

It was 20 years to the month since we'd started dating, in April of 1980. I remember it was April because I was on my first leave from the Army, and I had gone to the local watering hole, the Alibi Club, in hopes of picking up a girl. I had a gram of coke and plenty of cash in my pocket, and I'd announced to the bartender, Tommy Noonan, that I was going to buy a drink for the next girl that walked through the door.

The next girl through the door had been Cindy.

I knew Cindy; she'd gone out with a friend of mine briefly until she'd bitten a chunk out of his chest in a bout of drugged-up sex. She was a big girl, five-foot-eight, with some muscle on her. She had red hair that she always wore in bangs, as if she wanted to hide her face. I never understood that, because Cindy had pretty green eyes and a big horsy mouth that I loved. She was also very shy, not speaking much unless she'd consumed plenty of booze.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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