For once I answered with the truth: Cancer.
The next forty five minutes I answered endless questions.
I realized, this is why I usually lie to the fearless stranger.
What's that scar on your chest from? Did someone shoot you?
No, it was a port under my skin for injections when I had cancer.
Now I would usually just say yes. Being shot, burned or bitten come with a lot less questions than having cancer in the past. Sometimes, and I have no idea why, I feel some people need to know my story. Maybe they'll be diagnosed with cancer in the future, maybe their future child will and they'll remember what I shared with them, or maybe they just need to be reminded that someones life has worse struggles in it than theirs.
It's always the same questions, and the same answers. This fearless stranger took it one step further though, their question: "What is it like to be so close to death?"
In my soon to be 13 years in remission, I have never been asked this. I have no answer for this question, but I had to come up with something.
"Honestly, I don't know. If you're looking for an out of body experience story, I don't have one. I will tell you that I have been 12 hours away from death, all I felt was pain. I was sent home to die, but I didn't know this, all I knew was that I was allowed to go home so I must be better, I never felt death around me."
For the first time during our conversation, this fearless stranger noticed my son (even though we had talked about him earlier). They looked at him for a moment before leaving and told me, without an ounce of doubt in their voice:
"You had angels protecting you then and one infront of you protecting you now. God has very special plans for you. Thank you for sharing your story with me"
I am not religious and do not believe in god, but the way this fearless stranger said this and looked at me, gave me shivers (and I am used to things like this being said, I live in the bible belt! people always say things like this trying to get you to join a church).
This happened 5 months ago. I have thought about it a lot since then, and it scares me.