Five years ago I wrote a blog post about having seen this graffiti four years previously on a wall near the train station in Jerez. Something had moved me to take a photo of it. I think it was the heart under the sad message “I have cancer” that made it so poignant. Then a couple of days later I suddenly doubled over in pain and the rest, as they say, is history. Something I obviously hope will remain history.
I don’t know what made me think of this graffiti when I was back in Jerez for feria last week, but on the way back to the station I decided to have a look for it…. and there it was! Well, sort of. I thought that because I hadn’t noticed it again in over nine years that it had probably been painted over. And it turns out it had been, but not by another layer of graffiti as I had suspected. Someone just blanked it out with white paint.
I have to admit that at first this kind of gave me the shivers, especially as you can still see a ghost of the message showing through. I’ve often wondered if the person who created the original had actually had cancer, or if someone they loved did, or… well, there are many possible scenarios. Likewise now I am wondering why the graffiti was painted over. Did the artist (or their loved one) die? Or did they get better and this was a way of wiping out this spectre of their past? Or was it simply that the bar next door just didn’t like it being there?
Anyhow, I much prefer this modified version I made of it four years ago. It was a bold statement then as I still hadn’t reached “five year club” status. Though I think that no matter how many years go by there is always a “for now” lurking there when I think “I don’t have cancer”, because really, how do I know? Only the next PET scan can say for sure. Perhaps better to just think “I had cancer” (tenía cáncer) and keep hoping for the best while continuing to carpe that diem.