After I let the grotesque texture of the hospital food digest into my system, I looked at my Mom, my wide eyes asking her for something better to do. I skidded my hands across the ragged linens of the hospital bed, and let my mind drift to another place. I thought about when I was little, four maybe six. When I was innocent, healthy. When life didn’t bring so much drama and other unneeded situations of which emotions always get in the way. I tried to focus my mind on one memory in particular. The time when Charlie and I had our first day of school, still friends even then. I remembered how nervous, how scared I was to meet new people, to actually have to talk to them. I remembered the scratchy fabric of the dress that Mom made me wear, how uncomfortable it was to sit in that for hours. I remembered how Charlie took my small hand and whispered to me that everything was going to be okay, even then it just seemed so right, and so comforting. I sighed to myself, remembering when everything was just so easy. And now, life just turned down a course that I don’t know how to navigate, a course called sickness. I slightly frowned as I thought about the possibilities of my health's outcome.
"Trina. Are you okay?" Mom asked, peering down at the grief stricken expression on my face.
"Y-Yeah I'm fine." I responded, being broken free from my trance. Mom nodded and turned back to Dad. "Actually." I began. "I'm not fine. I'm bored out of my mind and I'm just tired of sitting here ." I looked over at Mom. "Can we take a walk or something?" I asked, almost turning my legs over the side of the bed.
"Honey. I don’t know if that's such a good idea. The doctor said that you have to stay in the hospital until we get the results from the test. Remember?" She looked at me with compassion, her face having a hard time saying no.
"I meant like a walk around the hospital. You know, something easy like that?"
"Honey. We're not going to." She grabbed my hand
"Why not!" I screamed, my expression turned into rage.
"I said that we should just stay put."
"But." I began, "How would you feel? How would you feel if you had to sit in bed all day, nothing to do but stare at the ceiling?" I once again attempted to get up, the tubes connected to me began to pull.
"Honey. I don’t think that this is such a good idea!" She screamed, trying to push me back down.
I ripped the oxygen tube from my mouth and slowly took the IV out, I wanted to be done.
"Stop!" I heard Mom yell, as I got up from the bed. I took Mom's coat that she left sitting on the chair and slipped it on. I went out the doorway, my legs felt heavy as my body felt free. All the doctors turned their attention towards me the runaway patient, I just ignored them and kept on moving, one big step at a time. Mom began to catch up to me as a familiar face appeared in front of me, Dr. Woods.
"Trina." He said, his face full of concern. "What are you doing up?" He paused, his face a mixture of disappointment and astonishment. I saw that in his right hand he had a paper, I darted my eyes towards it, reading my own name.
"Are those my blood test results?" I asked, now regretting what I had just done.
He put a sorry look on his face, as if someone he loved had just died. He motioned his hand over to me and placed his warm hand on my shoulder.
"Trina. You have Leukemia. It's a type of cancer that begins it's transition in the bone marrow. We're going to need to get MRI scans as well so that we can look for possible tumors." Mom and Dad had appeared behind me now, I turned my body into Dad's broad chest. "I'm so sorry." A tear fell down my cheek, it felt like acid as it stung my eyes.
I barely noticed as Wood's led me back to my room, my face wet with tears. He lied me back on the mattress and repositioned the IV and oxygen tubes that I took out, thinking that I was free of this place. He talked with my parents about chemo and how the process will work. But, all that I could think about was one concept. I am sick, I have cancer, and I might die. I rustled around on the bed and let the sadness of my new reality consume me. How could this happen? Wasn’t I careful enough? I have always been healthy, why now do I have to be sick? I let my mind block me out of the conversation.
"Trina. Are you okay?" Woods asked me, his eyes looking like he had just experienced sadness. I nodded, barely looking convincing enough for him to just ignore me. He started his conversation again, talking to all of us as a whole.
"Alright. So, with chemo it's really your choice of when we should start it. We can either start it today or tomorrow, or we can start it a week from now. You know, so that you'll have time to cope with everything." Mom and Dad nodded, their eyes began to glisten with tears. They clutched each others arms, unsure what to think.
"It's really Trina's decision." Mom said, Dad soon agreeing. I let myself have enough energy to speak to them, wiping off my tears. My face still stung from the salty tears, making me feel even more pain.
"We'll start it next week."
"Okay" said Woods, he wrote stuff down on his clipboard. "Well with Leukemia patients, chemo is usually a full week of staying at the hospital. You'll stay here in your own room, and we'll try to make you as comfortable as possible. Now, we'll tell you all that she'll need to expect next week. But for now, we can check you out of the hospital and make Trina's next appointment." He slid his clipboard back over to his side. "So, Trina. You can go ahead and get back in your regular clothes, and then your good to go." He said in a cheery voice, a failed attempt to make me feel better. I nodded and waited for him to exit the room as Mom began to hand me my clothes. I accepted as I redid the process of taking all the tubes and cords from my body, but no longer feeling like myself. I went to the small bathroom on the left side of the room, and shut the thick tan door behind me. I threw the bundle of clothes to the far corner of the room, and looked at myself in the mirror. My face was blotched red as my hair covered my face. I could feel more tears soon coming to the surface, burning their path down my cheek. I tried to get myself together, slightly pacing as I tried to consume myself. I stared back at my reflection, the image looked foreign to me. My face was pale, slight tints of red on my cheek bones. My eyes that used to reflect hope now just showed pain. I covered my face with my hands, sobbing into my dry palms, my hands still icy cold. I tried to breathe, telling myself that everything was going to be okay, but my mind knew better than that. I always knew that life had it out for me. I let myself calm down so that I could calm my breathing, trying hard to relax. I walked back over to the corner of the room and picked up the clothes, the softness felt amazing among my fingertips as I began to untie my hospital gown. The strings came undone and soon I dropped the gown to the floor, beginning the process of putting on the pants and the T-shirt.
When I came out Mom and Dad had each other in their arms, bawling as if it was their last day to be alive. They heard my footsteps and turned their heads, wiping the tears off of their faces. The tears in my own eyes began to scorch again, but I quickly blinked them back in. The only way for me to feel like myself, is to pretend like none of this ever happened, that this is all a bad dream.
"Sweetie. Are you okay?" Mom said, coming close to pulling me in a hug. I dodged the gesture and walked over to the door.
"Are we going to get going?" I asked, trying to avoid any conversation that would end in tears. They nodded and led each other out, their eyes darting to the ground. We went back down the long hallway, and went to the receptionist. She handed my parents pen as they filled out the paperwork for me to leave. When they were finished we left out the thick hospital doors. I let the cool breeze touch my face, it was like a gentle hand caressing my face. We made our way to the car and I sat in the back. Mom and Dad turned to look back at me.
"So, Trina? Are you ready for chemo-" I cut her off, not wanting to start something.
"Can we just not talk about that?" I asked, a sharp tone in my voice. I turned my head towards the car window, and let normality consume me. "This is all a bad dream." I told myself, trying to convince not only my family, but mostly myself.
My lip felt scabbed over as I saw Mom walking into the foyer, a tense look written all over her face. I sat uncomfortably in the waiting room chair after being moved from the cot, my body still aching. When Mom fully approached me the principal, Mr. Louis, came as well. He too looked at me with a nasty glare. Mom stopped in front of his chubby body, glancing at me every few seconds. He had a paper in his hands, my name written on top in bold.
"Mrs. Sanders, I'm glad that you came. Charlie got into a fight. Know that him and the other boys both need punishment, so they will each be suspended for three days." I sighed hearing that last note. Mom is going to kill me when we get home. "Now, this will be on his permanent record. Our hopes are that he'll make better decisions when he comes back." Mom nodded, barely hiding her rage. Mr. Louis went back to his office, and left me with a murderous mom. I could barely look at her, her eyes felt like they were burning into my soul. She placed her hands on her hips.
"Come on Charlie. We're going home." I was surprised by her kind manner. I was a little nervous to see how she would react in the car. We exited the building and went straight into the car, she didn’t start the car as she glanced over at me.
"Charlie?" She shook her head, "What were you thinking?!" She said, her voice now sounding like the woman I know.
"Well you need to come up with something before I make your grounding sentence much longer than it needs to be!" She gripped the steering wheel.
"I-I. Um, it was nothing. It doesn’t matter now."
"It matters to me. So you need to come right out with it befor-" I interrupted her.
"They were making fun of Trina!" I screamed, looking at her right in the face.
"They were making fun of Trina! They were making jokes about her and teasing me. I-I-I just couldn’t handle myself! I felt like I had to do something for her!" I paused. "I know that my decision was poorly chosen but I just didn’t know what to do!" Mom looked at me, nodding her head.
"Thank-you Charlie. But you're still grounded."
I sighed as she started the car, mad about what I had just done. The car began to fill with silence, something that was always inevitable between us. Ever since Dad died, Mom and I have never been very close. We just drifted apart. Life has just never been the same in our house. I let the back of my head hit the headrest on the chair, a headache began to form in my head from so many questions racing throughout my mind. I peered at Mom out of the corner of my eye, trying to see if I could read her expressions. Her stature was tense, her hands looked as though they were glued to the steering wheel. She shook her head a bunch of times, looking as if though she were having an inner conversation with herself; convincing her brain to listen to her conscience.
When Mom turned down our street she began to ease out of her tense stature, making me become calmer as well. When she turned into the driveway my body ached as it jerked forward with the motion, causing me to slightly rub my arms. I got out of the car and kept my head low, still too nervous to make direct eye contact with Mom.
"Mom, I'm sorry."
"Save it." She said, approaching the door with a key in hand. I sighed as I walked towards the door. Mom didn’t listen, she never listens. Ever since we lost Dad, Mom lost her cheery attitude that made her who she is, or was. My theory is that Mom's personality died with Dad. We entered the house, I could feel a warm wave of heat cross over me. Mom went through the hallway and began to go into her room.
"Mom!" I yelled, my arms out at my sides. "Aren't you going to say something? Why won't you talk to me?"
"What do you want me to say?!" Mom screamed back, soon covering her face with her hands. "Y-Your father always handled these things. He was supposed to be the one who talked to you about all of this!" A tear fell down her cheek. "He was supposed to help me. He knew how to handle this stuff. I-I just can't do this, I can't do this alone." Tears fell down her face now, streaming in small lines down her face. I raced over to her, pulling her into a hug.
"Mom. Mom I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you have to deal with this. I'm sorry about Dad. But I miss him too." I squeezed her tighter, tears of my own soon wetting my face. "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault." She said between sobs, almost choking on her own tears. We stood there, knitted together by a hug. My shoulder grew wet with tears as Mom sobbed into my neck. Tears of my own began to drip onto Mom's clothing as well. After all of these years we still can't let the idea of Dad go, the concept just brings too much pain. But let me tell you, you never forget.
When we got home I immediately went to my room, ignoring all of my parents efforts to keep me in the living room. I sat on my soft bed, the bed that I had yearned for in the hospital. I went over to my desk on the far corner of the room and retrieved my laptop, searching for any updates on my social media. When I reached my profile I was disgusted. All over my page were comments that I just did not understand nor know why they were posted in the first place.
Emily#AMAZING- Did you hear that Trina is sick, bet you it's contagious. #Stay away from Trina.
Jason@K- I know right? Disgusting. I bet you she has AIDS.
LucyTucy- How am I supposed to sleep at night knowing that sick pig was once someone I called a "friend"?
JakeK- Hope she never comes back. No one would miss her. I wouldn’t even go to her funeral.
I took a big deep breath after I saw all of those comments, tears forming in my eyes. How did they even know about that episode I had in the neighborhood? I let my tears fall on the black keys of my keyboard, not sure what to think anymore. I covered my face with my hands, and let the moisture of the salty tears wet my hands. I felt like I could barely breathe. I just didn’t understand, why people would say that stuff about me. I was always nice, quite, and I never said anything bad about any of them. They just stabbed me in the back I guess. I got up from my desk chair, and left my computer screen glowing, letting the horrific words of my peers sink into my mind. I lied down on the softness of my bed, and kept on sobbing, barely keeping anything straight. My life had just gotten a hundred times worse. Not only did I have cancer, I also had no friends.
I let my mind to continue to think about how they possibly could've found out. Sure, there were people walking around but nobody that I recognized. Maybe I was too out of it to focus on any single person. I lied there, pondering on the questions that just would not elude from my mind. The only person there, besides my parents, was Charlie. The thought sunk into my mind. I sat up in my bed, unsure what to think.
"It was Charlie, it had to have been Charlie." I said to myself, still nearly choking in between sobs
How could he do that to me, I thought that we were best friends? He has always been there for me, and now he just decided to stab me in the back. I continued to let tears stream down my face as I thought about this, the idea just making my stomach even more queasy than what was needed.
As I sat there I began to hear slight footsteps coming up to the surface of my door, the sound making the aggravating silence shatter. I heard small whimpers on the other side that sounded identical to mine. I could hear the feminine breathing on the other side, sounds that only my Mother could make. I could hear a slight ringing sound echo throughout my mind, making me headache grow even more. I listened as she placed her small hand on the wooden surface of the door, and braced herself to knock, she has always been wary of my privacy. I let myself create an image in my mind of how Mom was going about, her thin stature doubled over in grief and remorse. How guilty she must feel, she has always been the person to blame herself for tragic events; even though she is never to blame in everyone else's opinion.
A slight knock sounded from the front of my room, Mom’s voice nearly trembling. “T-Trina?” She said, her voice soon becoming shaky as she talked through the door. “Is everything okay up here? Can I come in?”
I didn't answer as she grazed the door knob with her fingertips.
“Trina?” She said again, the sad sound soon becoming an impenetrable boundary between us. I still didn't dare speak, tears soon becoming down rapidly, crying along with Mom.
“Mom, please just go away.” I said, my sobbing being made clear even through the thick walls.
“Honey.” She began, her tears interrupting her. “Please let me in. Let me help you. I just want to talk.” She changed her voice of sadness to compassion, I could hear her feet slightly hitting the bottom of the door.
“Just go away!”
“Did something happen?” She said, her voice concerning but yet so grief stricken. I didn't answer. “Did something happen with Charlie?” I stopped my breathing for a slight second. My mind racing towards the idea of Charlie.
“Yes.” I said, answering. “He stabbed me in the back. Our friendship is over.” I heard rustling on the other side of the door as Mom too thought about the new development. I turned in my bed again, still stricken with pure betrayal from Charlie.
“My life sucks.” I whispered to myself, blinking off one last tear, for the night anyway.