On Sunday I took a trip to Ronda, one of the most beautiful towns in Spain and where the first bull fighting arena was built. Whatever you think about bull fighting, and this is not the place to argue about it, you cannot deny that there is an awful grandeur and dignity about it all. The ceremony of the matador, the dignity of an animal that fights to the death, the ritual that surrounds the fatal dance, all have a terrible beauty. I have never seen a bullfight, but as I imagine the blood, the pain, the dance of the matador, the chance that man or bull will go down first, I feel that I wouldn't be able to look through my hands, that although I would feel compelled to witness the last moments of a beautiful animal, that I wouldn't be able to look for the sheer cruelty and unfairness of it all.
And the same is true of cancer and those who suffer from it. I wore a scarf most of the time in Spain, but on the way over, when I was hot, I removed it and the looks I got, that I caught, were similar to the looks that I would give the bullfight. I would look for curiosity's sake, because of the cruelty of a woman robbed of her hair, and yet, I would also want to look away because of the sheer anomaly of it all, of a woman with no hair. The cruelty too, of a woman robbed of her 'crowning' glory, as well as a recognition that a bald woman is facing up to her mortality, has been temporarily or perhaps permanently crippled by cancer and its treatment. Just like the bull and his matador, cancer and its fighter are dancing. In a bullfight, the outcome is certain, but this bull isn't giving up anytime soon.