Christmas party at school

There is a Christmas play at school. Melanie always participated in the plays. It is her speciality, to be on stage and perform. She is so comfortable on stage. She likes people watching her. But, this year it is doubtful that she will participate. She missed all the preparations already. Right now, she has a break – in between chemos. She seems happy to help her friends out for the play. She seems happy with just being there. Her friends do not leave her a minute alone. Melanie is surrounded by good friends.

At play time, Melanie’s friends call her to the stage to sing along. She does not know the songs but she is happy to go on stage and smile. She does not mind not having her hair. She is wearing her green woolly hat. She smiles all the time. She is happy.

After the play, we look at the play photos as usual. Every year I buy the play photos. I spot the ones with Jasmin and take them. I see no photos of Melanie this year. This makes me sad and very upset.

Melanie’s teacher comes near me holding a stack of photos in her hand. She says these are the photos Melanie is in. These particular photos are not displayed on the wall like all the other photos because the photographer decided that these photos would not look good among the others.

I look at the photos. Then it strikes me. Up till that moment I had not realised that Melanie looked actually so poorly. She always looked so beautiful to me. But these photos were showing me something different. There is a girl in those photos looking very thin, pale and so fragile. Her big eyes are circled with large dark brown patches. This girl is Melanie, my Melanie.

It actually does not matter to me how she looks – she is my baby. I am glad that she is not (yet) so self-conscious. By that time, she will be healed completely.

I am not upset with the photographer’s decision but I am upset with the whole situation and unfairness.