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July 7, 2008. 6:45 PM
I remember my mom warning me not to go. That I could get sick again and be back in the hospital. But I wanted to go, Sheldon had barely gotten to see me these last few weeks, and I wanted to spend this day with him. She finally let me go, but with a strong warning. If at any point I didn’t feel good I was supposed to tell Sheldon and call her. I promised I would call if I felt weird, and she kissed my head and let me go.
Everything was going along great, we had eaten, gone on so many rides, and Sheldon had given me my 10-month anniversary present, which was a necklace with a heart on it. I told him I had loved it, and we kissed when the Ferris wheel stopped at the top. We had listened to the bands, and talked to some kids from our school. It wasn’t until the Tilt-A-Whirl when I fell and my world went black.
Sept. 7, 2007. 6:02 PM
“Hey, baby.” Sheldon greeted me, as I came out of my house. We had been dating for exactly 4 months now, and he was treating me to dinner and a movie. My mom and his mom have known each other and hooked us up at the beginning of school. My mom said that even though Sheldon’s mom knew what was wrong with me, I could not tell Sheldon. I argued with her for 20 minutes, then gave up and went upstairs. Four months later he still did not know, and even though he would wonder what was wrong when I missed so much school, I just said it was a cold, and he accepted it. Nobody knew, except for my family, and Sheldon’s mom.
“Hey.” I said, sliding into the front seat next to him. We kissed hello, then we drove away, talking about our home lives.
We pulled into the parking lot of the Restraunt at exactly 6:30. It was Blue Shore, a fancy Restraunt that was outside along the shoreline. I lived in North Carolina, not a bad place to be in Winter, when the temperature was in the 50s and 60s, but in the Summer when tourists came and it was 70 and 80, there were other places I rather be.
Outside, where it was fairly nice weather, we sat and ate. I ordered a garden salad and a Sprite, Sheldon ordered a steak with French fries. I picked a couple off his plate and he smiled at me.
“God, Clair, you are so beautiful. You know that, right?” he asked.
I blushed and smiled. “I did know that.” I teased.
He laughed and reached across the table for my hand. His face got really serious and he cleared his throat.
“I was going to wait till after the movie, but seeing as how you look so awesome, I just can’t.” he smiled.
“Can’t what?” I asked, leaning forward.
“Clair, we have been going out for 4 months. And I have felt this way about you for a while, but I really had to wait for the right moment to tell you. Clair, I love you.” I gasped, and my heart skipped a couple of beats. Tears stung my eyes and I took my hand out of his to wipe it away.
“I love you, too.” I squeaked.
He grinned and came around to my side of the table. He helped me up and we walked out to the car. Once in there, he kissed me and thanked me for being the girl of his dreams. I didn’t know what to say, so I sat there and smiled.
“You know,” he began, “I can’t go sit through a movie right now. Lets go for a walk on the beach.”
I agreed, and slipped my flip-flops off and walked barefooted, stumbling on a couple of rocks, before we reached the sand.
We had walked for a while, and we turned around to head back.
Sheldon dropped me off at home, kissed me good-night and said that he would see me in the morning. I wished him the same thing, went upstairs and fell asleep.
July 7, 2008. 6:57 PM
I could hear them, but not see them. All around me doctors yelled orders. My mother was crying, somebody was holding my hand, stroking my thumb. My dad whispered, “Baby, it’s okay. Your mom and I are right here. Nothing’s going to happen to you. I promise. Sheldon, Sheldon’s mom, everybody. We’re right here, and we love you sweetie.” I tried to smile, but I don’t think they could see it.
It was a while longer before I heard another voice, I still could not see.
“Clair, it’s Dr. Hanna, and your family is in the waiting room. You’re fine. Blood pressure is back to normal, but your temperature is still a little high, and your food tube is giving you all of the food groups. You can’t talk because of the food tube, and I know you can’t see me, because your eyes are still swollen shut, but I really want you to try and show Sheldon that you can hear him, okay? Now, when he talks to you, if you hear him, please squeeze his hand as hard as you can, okay? Can you do that?” I nodded my head, hoping she could see. “Okay, I think that’s a yes. Here’s Sheldon.”
“Clair?” it sounded like he had been crying. “Baby, I love you. I know you can hear me. I know you can, please….honey, please, squeeze my hand. I know you want to. Squeeze as hard as you can. I love you so much, I don’t want to loose you…please just squeeze.” I mustered up all of my strength and squeezed his hand. He kissed my knuckles. “I knew you could do it, babe. I knew it. You’re doing great. Hang in there, all right? I’ll be right here when you wake up, we all will.” he kissed my hand again, and let go.
I tried to yell for him to come back, but nothing came out. My throat hurt because of the supposed food tube, and I felt like I was in an oven.
“Good job, Clair. Sheldon said he felt you squeeze, that’s really good. I’m going to let you sleep now. Open your eyes at anytime, honey. We all miss you out here.”
October 31, 2007. 11:27 AM
“Hey, girlie. So, what are your plans for Halloween?” Haley whispered in math class. Math was the only class this year that Sheldon was not in, ergo, it was the only class where Haley and I could talk.
“Sheldon and I are going to this party in his neighborhood.” I grinned. It was supposed to be a really fun party, but only people in his neighborhood could go. Sheldon said that he talked to the manager, and he said that since I was in the neighborhood enough, that I could come too. I was really stoked.
“Sheldon, Sheldon, Sheldon. God, Clair, we have barely hung out since you and him have been going out, you know? Why can’t you come to my party? My parents said I could have one, you know your mom would let you come, she and my mom have been best friends since forever ago.” she pleaded and whined.
“All right. I’ll come to your party, but 4th of July is for me and Sheldon, okay?”
“Deal.” we slapped hands, apparently forgetting we were in a Math room, and got detention slips for tomorrow after school.
“Oh, come on, Sheldon. She’s right…we really haven’t hung out since you and I have been dating. She’s my best friend. You know other people in your neighborhood, you’ll have fun, I promise.”
“I just---Clair, I really love you, and I wanted to spend tonight with you.”
“Awww, baby that’s really sweet. But we can hang out this weekend, I promise. I’m not even spending the night, and I’ll be home around midnight, so if you are still up then, call me and we’ll talk, okay?”
“All right. Have fun, honey. Don’t forget…I love you, all right?” he said, pulling into my driveway.
“ I love you, too. See you tomorrow.” I said.
“Okay. Have fun tonight.”
“I will. You do the same, Happy Halloween.” I smiled, he grinned and kissed me good-bye.
I got out of the car and watched him drive out of my sight.
“Hey!” My mom greeted me as I came in through the door. “How was school? Did you turn in your make-up work from last week?” I had been sick all of last week with a cold, and Dr. Hanna thought it could turn into something so she made me stay in the hospital until Saturday, when she finally let me go home.
“Yes, Mom. It was fine, Haley wants to know if I can go to her Halloween party tonight. I know I said I was going to Sheldon’s, but I have already talked it over with him and he’s cool about it, so can I go?”
“Sure, but honey, be careful. I know that Sheldon lives in a nice neighborhood, but you have not hung out with Haley in a while, and I don’t know who she hangs out with now. Don’t get mixed in with them, honey.”
“I won’t, mom. I promise. I’m going to go get ready. She’s picking me up at five, because I’m helping her set up. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. Just stop in and tell Daddy where you’ll be so he can pick you up. I have to work tonight.”
“Okay.” I headed upstairs and stopped at my dad’s office. “Daddy? Can I come in?” I asked, knocking.
“Yeah, sweetie. C’mon in.” I opened the door and found my dad with his spectacles on, typing away.
He stopped, looked and me and said, “Hey, pumpkin. How was school?”
“Good. Mom said I could go to Haley’s party tonight instead of Sheldon’s, but she’s working so can you pick me up? She still lives where she used to, do you remember where that is?” I asked.
“Yeah, I do. That’s fine. Just call me when you’re ready to come home.”
“Okay. Thanks, Dad.” I kissed him on his bald head and left him to finish typing. Ever since I was diagnosed with leukemia, he’s worked at home so that he was always here in case mom or I needed him.
Haley showed up right at 5 o’clock. “Haley’s here! Bye!” I yelled, grabbing my purse and jacket.
“Bye, honey! Call Dad when you’re ready!” my mom shouted.
I shut the door behind me and hopped into Haley’s car.
“Hey, honey! Long time no see! Ready to rock and roll?” she yelled over the radio.
I nodded and she drove to her house.
When I stepped into her living room and saw the stereo system set up, punch and chips, balloons, and a disco ball I wondered what in the world she needed help doing. I soon found out.
Two guys walked into the living room from the kitchen, one on the football team, the other one on the wrestling team.
“Hey, guys. This is Clair, the girl I told you about? She really needs to loosen up, she tries so hard to be the best girlfriend she can be for Sheldon, but we all know that he belongs with me. So, boys? You know what you need to do.” she said in a sultry voice.
Then I realized, there was no party. This was all a set-up. A set-up to make me and Sheldon break up.
The guys smiled their sweetest smile, and started to walk toward me. I screamed, and started to run. They didn’t chase after me, I think they were confused. That was a good thing.
I ran all the way to the end of her street, which was where I stopped, short of breath, sweaty hair sticking to my face, and tears stinging my eyes. I pulled out my cell phone and called Sheldon.
“Clair? Baby, whats wrong?”
“Sheldon? Can you please come pick me up?” I asked, the tears coming hard now. I saw the car start in Haley’s driveway and got scared. I started breathing harder and I jumped behind the bushes next to the stop sign.
“Yeah, sure. Honey, what’s wrong? Please tell me.”
“I’ll tell you when you get here. Please hurry! He’s coming this way!” I shrieked. As the car pulled out of her driveway.
“Clair, don’t move. Stay right where you are. You are at Haley’s, right?” he asked. I could hear him getting into his car.
“No, the stop sign before you get to her house. Please hurry, Sheldon! They’re going to find me.” I cried harder.
“Okay, you know what. Stay on the phone with me, don’t talk. Just don’t hang up so I know you’re still there, okay? If you move from the stop sign tell me. Now, don’t talk…just breathe so I know you’re still there.”
“Okay.” I whispered.
When the car passed the stop sign, I told Sheldon they had left. I walked out of the bushes and met Sheldon at the car. He cleared off the seat for me and drove to his neighborhood. He stopped a couple streets from his house and turned to look at me.
“Baby, what happened?” I told him, and as it got increasingly worse, he would hold me closer, telling me it would be okay. When I was done, he told me that it was okay, that I was with him now, and I calmed down a little bit.
After hanging out at his house for a little while, I called my dad and he came to get me.
Sheldon called me after I had gotten home, and stayed on the phone with me until I fell asleep.
July 8, 2008. 4:45 AM
I heard somebody come into my room. They patted my foot and came around to the right side of my bed. “Don’t worry, honey. I’m just checking your white blood cells. Just a tiny shot, then I’ll be gone.”
I felt the needle in my arm, then I heard the footsteps go away. Another person came in, but I couldn’t see who it was, my eyes were still swollen.
“Clair? It’s Dr. Hanna again. Your eyes are less swollen, now. I know it’s still really early in the morning, but we need to make sure that you’re still reacting to things around you. If you are not in a coma, you are going to hear a sound, if your reaction is strong, we are going to try and open your eyes now. If it’s a little delayed, then we will wait until eight or nine o’ clock. It’s about 5:00 in the morning right now. Let’s test those reactions, huh?” I heard a boom, and I think my hand shook.
“Good, good. A little delayed, but that’s okay. Let’s open those eyes, huh? Then your mom and dad can come in. I don’t know if you’re aware, but the food tube was taken out a while ago, about midnight we took it out, so once we open your eyes you can talk, just it’ll be real scratchy, and try not to talk so much, okay? Now, I’m going to open your eyes.” I felt like a needle opened my eyes, and when they were opened, I saw Dr. Hanna peering at me.
“Hey, there. We all missed those pretty brown eyes. Now, try to blink.” I did.
“Nice. I’m going to go wake your mom and dad up.”
“N-no.” I whispered. I could barely hear it, but she stopped and turned around.
“What? Why? Don’t you want to see your parents?”
“L-let them s-sleep. T-they are tired.” I managed. It was really hard to talk, and every time I did it took a while for me to catch my breath.
“Oh, no. Honey, they’re awake. They have not been able to sleep, trust me. They want to see you. Hold on, I’ll get them.” she smiled and disappeared behind the door.
They walked in a moment later, all smiles.
My mom looked like she had been crying and my dad had bags under his eyes from no sleep.
“Oh, Clair.” my mom gasped hurrying over to my side. My dad quickly followed. My mom was on my right, my dad on the left.
“Hi.” I said.
“Oh, honey. We missed that voice, that smile.” my dad said kissing my cheek. “We missed you so much, when the hospital called saying you collapsed at the carnival we knew Sheldon must have been freaking out, being the only one with you. Sure enough, we arrived and he was in his own hospital bed, they treated him for shock.” my dad smiled.
I tried to laugh, “That must have been funny, him in the bed. Not me.” I said, pausing after every three words.
“Yeah.” my mom said. “He was really worried about you. He’ll be so happy to know that you’re okay.” she said, patting my hand and kissing it.
“Did-did you guys think that I had died?” I asked.
My mom and dad exchanged glances before answering.
“Well,” my dad started, “the doctors said it could have been a possibility. But, then, they said you were okay.” he smiled.
“Oh.” I said.
“Yeah, but baby, we know you must be so tired. We’ll let you sleep.” my dad said.
“No, I w-want to see S-Sheldon.” I said.
“Honey, Sheldon is asleep. When you wake up, he’ll be here. I promise. Just relax. Try to get some sleep. We’ll see you later, honey. Goodnight.”
I was going to say goodnight, but my eyes closed before I got the chance.
November 18, 2007. 3:53 PM
Throw it away, forget yesterday we’ll make the….”Hello?” I answered. I knew I sounded awful, I had a cold, and my mom had made me stay in the hospital. I had been in here for almost a week. I wanted to go home!
“Hey, baby. You still sound like you have a cold. You okay? You’ve been out of school for a really long time.”
“I know.” I smiled at the nurse as she came in.
“I’m just changing your IV, sweetie.” she smiled.
I nodded and answered Sheldon’s question. “I’m fine. It’s a really nasty cold. Really bad, I’ll be back by, at the latest, Monday.” I explained. It was Wednesday now, and my mom checked me in on Friday. The hospital food was getting gross, you think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m not.
“Monday? Are you sure it’s just a cold? Did you go to the doctor?” he asked. God, why was he so curious? My mom told me I could tell him anytime I wanted to the other day, but was today the right day?
“Yes, I went to the doctor. He said there was nothing else it could be. When I get the cold it’s worse then when you get it.” I explained, trying to ease myself into telling him.
“How?” he asked.
“Man, I wanted your Mom to tell you, but I guess I have to.” I sighed.
“Tell me what?” he asked, he was getting impatient and I knew it.
“Sheldon, I have leukemia. I’ve had it since I was 8. I’ve been in remission for a while now, but when I get a cold I could die from it so I have to stay in the hospital. Every time I’m not at school, I’m in the hospital. It sucks. I didn’t want to lie to you this long, I really didn’t. But, my mom made me and your mom swear not to tell you because she did not want you to worry over something that was not yours to carry. Your mom has known about me for a long time. She and my mom are really close. Only my family, you, the nurse and your mom know. You can’t tell anyone, please Sheldon…promise me you won’t.”
“Leukemia? Jesus Christ. F**k, Clair. I don’t know what to say to you right now.” Click.
I started to cry and nurses poured into my room.
“Honey, whats wrong?”
“Tell me where it hurts.”
“I told my boyfriend I had leukemia and he hung up on me.” I sobbed. Everybody sighed and left, but my mom stayed behind.
“Oh, baby. I’m so sorry. But, you gotta know, outsiders don’t take big news that well. Give him a couple of hours to think about it. I’m sure that he will call you back.” she said in a soft voice, rubbing my stomach.
“Mhmm.” I nodded. Then I sat up and puked.
Throw it away, forget…..”Hello?” I answered.
“Look outside your window, baby.” Sheldon said. I did, and he was standing there with flowers, a huge teddy bear, and a box of Kleenex. “Can I come in?”
I nodded and shut my phone as he opened the door.
He dropped the stuff and hurried over to my side. “Oh, Clair. My Clair….my baby. Oh, god. I can’t believe I cursed at you. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know what to think. After I hung up on you, I cried my eyes out at home, and my mom explained everything to me. I can’t believe you could die because of a cold. I’m sorry baby, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”
“I’ll always forgive you, Sheldon.” I smiled.
“Oh, baby. I’ll stay right by your side. I’m not going anywhere. Tomorrow after school, I’ll be here. And this weekend, I will be your personal slave.” he smiled.
“Thanks.” I said.
“Anytime.” he said. “Anytime.” My mom came, and was about to open the door, but she saw Sheldon, smiled at me, turned around, and left.
Sheldon laid his head on my chest and smiled up at me.
“I love you, Clair.”
July 8, 2008. 9:58 AM
I woke up, and just as my mom promised me, Sheldon was asleep in the chair next to me. I shook his arm and he opened his eyes.
“Hey, baby.” he said, rubbing my arm, up and down. I had goose bumps, and he pulled the covers over my arms. “Better?” he smiled.
“Yeah.” I gasped.
“Oh, honey. I’ve missed you so much, you scared me to death at the carnival. I thought you were a goner.”
“T-thanks a lot.” I whispered.
“Ssshhh……don’t talk. You need a lot of energy today. They’re moving you out of the ER and upstairs. That’s a big move.” he grinned.
I nodded. “So, they took the food tube out, huh? That’s good.” he said.
“I guess.” I said. “S-Sheldon?”
“Yeah, baby?” he asked.
“Do you remember when---I first told you-----that I had-----leukemia?”
“Of course. Why?”
“I dreamt about---it.”
“Oh. I cried for so long that day. I felt so bad for yelling at you. But I didn’t know how else to react.”
“Do you-do you remember what I said when you asked me for-for forgiveness?”
“No, what?” he asked, leaning forward to hear me.
“I said, ‘ I’ll always forgive you, Sheldon.’”
“I do remember that. But hey, listen, your breakfast’s here. What do you say I stay here and help you eat it? We got jello, pudding, ice chips, yummy. What do you want first?” he asked.
I pointed at the pudding.
“Pudding?” he asked. I nodded. “Okay.” he spoon-fed me the pudding.
Moments after I swallowed it, I reached for the pink bucket, but couldn’t reach it.
“Whatcha need, babe?” he asked.
I pointed to the bucket and sat up. “Oh, sh**.” He grabbed it and hurled it under my mouth right before the pudding came up.
“Ohhhh, baby. That’s okay. We’ll just do ice chips next time, okay?” he smiled.
“Okay.” I said, wiping my face. “Sheldon? Can you get my mom? I feel really dizzy.” I started to wave around, since I was still sitting up.
“Yeah, sure. Here.” he put his arms behind my back and helped me to lay down. “Do you want me to get your mom or a nurse?” he asked, putting the pink bucket aside to have it cleaned.
“Okay. Clair…I love you, okay? Don’t forget that. I really do.” I nodded and he ran out the room to get my mom and a nurse.
December 15, 2007. 7:56 AM
“Honey? Clair, come on, sweetie. You’re going to be late for school. Sheldon came by, you were still asleep, but I can take you. You gotta hurry, I have to be there at 8:30 for a meeting.” my mom called through the door. When I still didn’t answer, she opened it. She gasped at the sight of me, of course, so would I. My eyes were red and puffy from crying, and I was still in my clothes from yesterday.
“Oh, Clair. You really need to go to school today. You’ve already missed quite a lot this year, you know.” she said softly, coming toward me.
“You’re right. I’m going to get dressed and brush my teeth, get the car started, I won’t be long.” I smiled.
“All right, make sure you eat something.” she said before she left, closing the door behind her.
I got up, washed my face, got dressed, pretty much my normal routine. I grabbed my phone and went downstairs.
I got into my mom’s car and she pulled out of my neighborhood. She pulled up at the curb next to the school right as the bell rang for 7 minutes to get to class.
“Better hurry.” she said to me as I got out of the car.
I smiled at her, grabbing my backpack. “Bye, Mom. See you after school. I love you.”
“You too, have a great day.” she said.
I shut the door behind me and ran up the steps and down the hall to my Math classroom.
Haley got moved out of my Math class the day after the “party.” To tell the truth, I really had not seen her around school all that much. I kind of hoped that her parents found out what she had done, and had pulled her out of the school.
“Nice of you to join us, Clair. Please have a seat.” my teacher greeted me as the bell rang.
I took my seat in the 2nd row, right behind the really smart dork.
“Class, I know that winter break is coming, and you all are very excited, believe me, so am I. But we all know that finals come before break, and we do not need to forget what is most important. Grades are your key to survival in this school, and finals are most of your grade. Please stay focused this class period as you continue to work on the packet that I gave you last class. It has everything on the final, and is your key to an A. You may listen to your iPods or whatever they are called these days. But please, class, do not get unfocused from the task at hand. Thank you, the rest of the class is yours.” he sat back down at his desk, opened the morning paper, and took a sip of his coffee.
I picked up my book bag and asked if I could go to the nurse. I had forgotten to take my medicine this morning and I think my mom had given the nurse some. He excused me from class, and I hurried to the nurse’s office, which was right next to the main office.
“Good morning, dear.” Ms. Griddle said. “What can I do for ya?”
I handed her my pass. “I forgot to take my medicine this morning because I was in a rush, and I think my mom dropped some off here in case I ever forgot.”
“I think you’re right. Let me just check in this cabinet over here.” she said, getting up and walking over to a cabinet where they kept prescription medication. “Ah, yes, here we are. She did drop some off, sweetie. How many do you take?”
“Just one.” I said, she handed me a Dixie cup to fill up with water and one tiny pill.
“Thanks.” I said, walking over to the sink. I filled the cup up and swallowed the pill. She wrote my name down, thanked me, and sent me back to class.
I was halfway back to my room when I saw Sheldon standing at the end of the hallway, next to my locker.
“Clair!” he yelled, coming toward me. He kissed my cheek as soon as I was within his reach. “Oh my god, I’ve been looking for you all morning! Why did you not come out when I honked my horn? Your mom came out and said that you still were not up. Did you not feel good or did you get over-sleep?”
“I didn’t sleep a lot last night. I cried for hours on end and I did not want to go to school at all today.”
“Why were you crying? What happened?” he asked, taking my hand.
“Well, my dad didn’t come home last night. He went grocery shopping and he never came home. Mom said that they didn’t have a fight, but I think they did. They almost never fight. I wonder what it was about. Then he called me and said that he was spending the night with his brother, my Uncle Ross.”
“Oh. I didn’t know.” he said. We started walking, he knew I was in math, so we walked toward the direction of my class.
“It’s okay. I’m sure he’ll come back tonight.” I said, trying to think positive.
“Yeah, babe. Sure he will.” he kissed me good-bye, watched me walk into math, then he headed back to wherever he came from.
July 8, 2008. 12:45 PM
“That was quite a scare you gave us, honey.” Dr. Hanna said. They had just finished giving me my medicine. We finally figured out that with the excitement of opening my eyes, they had forgotten to give me my medication, so that is why I threw up, and got real dizzy.
“Sorry.” I apologized, as the nurses filed out of my room. My mom and dad were standing behind the doctor. They were about to help me out of my bed and into a wheelchair so that I could be moved to the upper level. Level 5, that was were I usually stayed when I came here. It was the level for cancer patients.
“Oh, no honey. It’s not your fault. I’m just glad that it was just something as simple as us forgetting to give you your medicine.” she smiled.
“Yeah.” I whispered.
“Okay, well let’s get you up.” she left to get a wheelchair and my parents came over and I sat up.
“Hey, baby. I’m going to take your covers off and then I want you to swing your legs over so that we can lift you up, alrighty?” my dad said.
I nodded, and my dad stripped me of the covers. I shivered. “Don’t worry. You’ll be warm once we get you upstairs. C’mon.” My dad helped me to swing my legs around and picked me up. He set me back down in the wheelchair once Dr. Hanna returned.
“Thank you, Mr. Setter. I’ll take it from here.” Dr. Hanna placed a blanket over my legs and she wheeled me down to the end of the hallway. She stopped to press the elevator button and my mom, dad, Sheldon’s mom, and Sheldon came up behind me.
“Wow, the gang’s all here.” Dr. Hanna said. The elevator beeped, signaling that they had to go. Whenever I was in the upper level, my mom and dad could never come with me. At least not right away. They had to go through testing to make sure that they were not sick. If they were, they had to wear a mask so that none of the cancer patients would get what they had.
“Okay, sweetie. We are going to go get tested. See you up there in about 45 minutes or a hour, okay?” I nodded and my dad kissed my forehead as they left. Sheldon rubbed his hand against my cheek as he went by.
We got to the upper level, and found my room. 506D. There was nobody else in my room, which was good, because then it would be easier for me to fall asleep when I needed to.
The nurse helped me get settled in my new bed, which was fresh with clean sheets that smelled like Snuggle.
“Your parents and boyfriend should be up here in just a little while. Whenever you get hungry just push that little button next to you and we’ll bring you some food.” The little sectary said. They always said that to me, so I had pretty much memorized it by now but they had to for safety reasons.
It was 2:00 when Sheldon finally came into my room. My mom was first, then dad, then Sheldon’s mom, and finally Sheldon. None of them had masks on, so I figured that they had all passed the test.
“Hey, babe. How you feeling?” Sheldon asked, sitting in the chair that his mother had pulled up when she visited.
“Better.” I said.
“That’s good. Hey, I bought you something in the gift shop.” he said, reaching into his pocket.
“You did?” I asked surprised. I didn’t need any more jewelry, and that was all they sold at the gift shop. Plus, he had just given me a necklace for our anniversary.
“Yup. Here.” he pulled out a key chain that had a pink heart with my name inscribed below it. Clair.
“Oh, Sheldon. I love it, it’s beautiful.” I gasped, taking it from him.
“Your welcome. I thought you might get tired of looking at the same boring room so I thought I would hang it up somewhere. Any idea where you want it?” he asked, taking it from me and standing up.
“Yeah. Right there.” I pointed at the little hook on the window.
“That’s a perfect spot.” he smiled at me.
“You know, Sheldon----I was thinking-----you shouldn’t stay----here. It’s summer----go play with----your friends.” I took big breaths, my oxygen machine wasn’t in here yet and it was kind of hard for me to talk and breathe.
“No, no.” he said, hanging the key chain up. He got down from the chair and looked at his handiwork. The key chain glistened in the afternoon sun. “I love being here. I mean, yes, it’s a hospital and I only get to see you some of the time, and the beds aren’t all that comfortable…but, when I do see you I love it, and when I think of your smile it’s like I’m sleeping on a cloud, so I love being here. Besides, I’m always going to be right here, and I want you to know that.”
“That’s really sweet----but, please take----a day off-----go home and----have time to---yourself. Please-----do it for me.” I gasped.
“Baby, if it really worries you that much, I’ll go home tonight and stay there until tomorrow night.” he said, sitting back down in the chair.
I nodded. “Yes, thank you.”
“Okay. But I’m coming right back here with a million kisses to give you.” he promised.
“If you say so.”
“I know so. Now, go to sleep. I’m gonna go find out when your oxygen is coming. You sound a little wheezy. Have sweet dreams. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“Okay. Bye.” I closed my eyes, but not once before glancing at the key chain hanging from the window.
January 3, 2008. 9:35 AM
Throw it away, forget yesterday we’ll make the great escape. Won’t hear a word…”Hello?”
“Hey! Happy New Year! Sorry I have not called in a while, my family has kept me really busy. Anyway, how was your new year?” Sheldon asked.
“Oh. Not that exciting, we went out to eat and then went to the beach to watch the fireworks go off.”
“Fun. Sounds like you had a great time. Do you mind if I come over for a little while? I have not seen you since Christmas and I really miss you. Besides, I got some things you might like to do.”
“Well, I’m not dressed yet.” I laughed, getting out of bed. “Actually, I just woke up.”
“Oh, sorry, Clair. I didn’t mean to wake you up, I was just calling. Sounds like today is a bad time, I’ll come over tomorrow.”
“No, no. You’re fine…come on over, just wait like 45 minutes.”
“Okay. I’ll see you then, Bye, Clair. I love you.” he said.
“Love you too. See you in 45 minutes. Bye.” I shut my phone and got dressed. I took off my cami and boxers and replaced them with sweatpants and a t-shirt from my girl scout camp that I used to go to.
“Good morning, sunshine!” my mom and dad said as I came downstairs.
“Hey, guys. Sheldon’s going to come over in about a hour, I told him I had to get ready first. What is for breakfast?”
“Oh, honey, are you sure? You just got back from the hospital a couple of weeks ago, are you sure that you’re up for it? Besides, what if Sheldon has something? Then you’ll get it and it’ll be another trip to the hospital.”
“Yes, Mom. I’m feeling fine, really, I am. Promise. And Sheldon knows that I have leukemia now, so if he’s sick he would have told me. I know that he would’ve. We’ll be fine, I promise.” I smiled, heading into the kitchen.
“Lynn, honey. She’ll be fine. Stop worrying about her so much.” My dad had been really patient ever since he came home from running away in December. Turns out he had run away because he thought that my mom was being too over-protective of me and he said that I was “his kid, too” so they had tried to include the other when the medical issue came up.
“All right. I just don’t want her to be in the hospital again. I don’t know if the insurance even covered our last visit, and I really need to call them. We can’t afford her being in the hospital every month, David.”
“Mom! Dad! Please, stop. I’m fine, Sheldon is not sick, and it’s a brand new year. Can we please not start it off like this?” I pleaded.
They both looked at each other and promised not to fight about the medical issues any longer. For my sake.
After that, my mom made me pancakes and right as I was putting my plate in the dishwasher, the doorbell rang.
“It’s Sheldon!” my dad called from the front door.
I hurriedly rinsed my cup off and placed it in the dishwasher. I closed and started it, then ran to the front door where Sheldon and my dad were standing talking, inside.
“Hey, Clair. Your Dad and I were just talking about the weather. It’s pretty windy out. I was going to take you out, but since it’s so cold, we’ll just stay inside.” he smiled. I shot my mom and dad an I-told-you-so glance and grabbed Sheldon’s hand, pulling him up to my room.
I had just cleaned it yesterday, restoring it to it’s shining beauty. The bed was made, with all of the pillows on it. The desk was nice and orderly, with paper and pen on top. My TV stand had my TV dusted, and all of the DVDs and VHS’s organized. My stereo was in another corner, with all of the CDs in alphabetical order by artist.
“Wow.” he gasped, moving to sit down on my twin bed. “You cleaned it.”
“Yeah.” I smiled. The last time he was in my room was the day after I had come home from the hospital and it was not a pretty sight.
“It looks nice.”
“Thanks. So, you said that you had things that I might want to do?” I asked, sitting next to him.
“Yeah. I rented a couple of movies, I thought you might want to watch them. They are all chick flicks, somehow I figured that you wouldn’t want to watch War of the Worlds.” he chuckled.
“Yeah, no.” I smiled. “So what did you get?”
He opened his book bag and pulled out 4 movies. “Sweet Home Alabama, Catch and Release, RENT, and The Notebook.” he said, pulling out each title as he named it.
“Ooh. I like them all. How about Catch and Release? I have not seen that one since it was in theaters.” I said.
“Okay. Sounds like a plan. You want me to put it in?” I nodded and he got up, and I took his place, laying back onto all of my throw pillows.
He took about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to put the DVD in with all of my buttons on my remote. I laughed, and he finally gave in and handed me the remote.
I got the movie started and he settled in on my bed next to me. He put his arm around my waist and we sat there and watched Catch and Release.
By the time it was done, I had fallen asleep. I felt his arm let go of my waist and he pulled the blanket over me.
I opened my eyes. “Ssshhh….baby, go back to sleep. You’re fine. I’m gonna go. I’ll see you later. I love you. Goodnight.”
“’Night.” I whispered.
July 9, 2008. 5:45 PM
I saw Sheldon’s face light up when he saw me through my window. I didn’t have any other visitors, so he walked right in.
“Hey! I missed you last night. But, guess what? I remembered that one time over Winter Break when I brought all of those movies to your house and how you loved it, so I did it again. I got A Walk to Remember. How’s that?”
“Oh my god.” I breathed.
“What? What is it? Do you not like that movie?” he asked.
I shook my head. “I hate it.”
“Why? I bet you haven’t even seen it yet, just give it a chance. It’s a really good movie.”
“No, Sheldon! I don’t want to watch that movie!” I yelled. My voice cracked on “Sheldon”, and I started to cry.
“Clair? What’s wrong? C’mon, I’m sorry. What is it?” he asked, coming over and rubbing his thumb up and down my cheek.
My oxygen tank was in here now, so I took a deep breath and strained to get enough breath in me to tell my story. “Sheldon- I don’t like that movie because, well, you know how Jamie has leukemia?” He nodded. “Well, I was in the middle of watching that movie when my blood test came back. I knew who it was because I saw the doctor’s name on the caller ID. I knew they had tested me for cancer, and I knew that the results were supposed to come back that day. When I heard my mom scream and drop the phone, I knew it couldn’t be good. I know you must be thinking why I hate that movie that much because of that, and why I was even watching it in the first place. You wouldn’t even think that an 8-year-old would want to watch that movie, but I did. Since my mom thought I was really sick, she wanted me to stay in bed. I had seen my mom watching it, and I wanted to see it, too. Turned out, I really liked it. Anyway, why I hate it so much is because my dad’s middle name is Landon, and when I found out I had leukemia I realized that I was more like Jamie than I thought. I was going to end up like Jamie…..dead, Sheldon.” I started to cry and my breathing got really short, I knew it was going to happen. I barely have enough energy to talk as it is, but I had to tell Sheldon.
“Oh my god, Clair. I had no idea.” I started to breathe harder. “Clair-Clair, come on, breathe with me. In….out. In….out. Come on, babe you gotta breathe with me. C’mon. In….out.” I finally gained control of myself and started to breathe with him. “Good, good. Clair, you shouldn’t have told me all of that. Look how out of breath that made you.”
“You---needed----to---know.” I whispered.
He looked sad, and then looked up and kissed my cheek. “Okay. Thank you for telling me. But, Clair, you are nothing like Jamie. Okay? At all. First of all, you are way prettier than her. You have more spirit then she ever will, okay? And, I am so much better than Landon.” he smiled.
I tried to laugh but nothing came out, so I just smiled. “Yeah.”
“Okay? I promise. You are amazing. She was cool, but you are an angel. You’re my angel. You’re my baby, and you’re not going to die. I promise. I would never let that happen. Ever.” he smiled and wiped a tear from my eye.
I nodded. “Good. Come on, you need your rest. I will go run back to Blockbuster and get another movie. When you wake up, we will watch it. I love you. Get some sleep. Bye.” he said.
February 14, 2008. 6:45 PM
“Clair, Sheldon is on the phone for you. He said he tried to call your cell phone but it was dead.” my mom informed me.
“Thanks.” I said taking the phone from her. “Hello?”
“Hey. Are we still on for tonight?” his voice greeted me.
“I think so. Where are we going again? I need to tell my dad and mom.”
“We are in for the works. I am taking you to the beach and we are renting a boat. We are setting sail at exactly 7:45 and we are sailing to the island where my parents went on their first date.” he said in a matter-of-factly tone.
I laughed. “Okay, hold on. Let me inform the ‘rents.” I covered the phone with my hand and explained to my dad and mom, who were sitting at the kitchen table, what Sheldon had just told me.
“That’s fine.” They said at the same time. “Just remember, we are going out too, so if we are not back by the time you get home then let yourself in through the garage. Be back no later than midnight. I don’t know what time we will be back yet.” My dad went on to tell me.
“Alright. Thanks, Dad.”
“They said it was okay.” I told Sheldon.
“Great, I’ll leave my house right now. Get ready for an amazing night.”
“Okay. I will, I love you.” I said.
“Love you too, bye.”
I went upstairs and took my hair down from my messy ponytail and Bobbi-pinned it back at the sides. I put on my V-Neck from Wet Seal that my mom bought me for Christmas last year. I changed into my best jeans and slipped on my Converse shoes. I grabbed my Hollister hoodie that was hanging on my doorknob and hurried downstairs to wait by the door.
I had only been standing there for about 5 minutes when Sheldon pulled up. He came up to the door to run through the plan with my parents again, and then led me back to his car so that we could have a great time.
“I got something for you.” I said, as we backed out of my driveway.
“Oh, yeah? Awesome. Sorry I didn’t get you anything, but this boat trip is costing me a lot of money.” he apologized.
“No, no, you’re fine. That’s actually why I bought you something, I felt bad hat you were giving me this and getting nothing in return.”
I pulled his wrapped box out of my purse and held it in my lap. I would give it to him on the boat, no reason for him to have a distraction while driving.
He parked in a spot right by the beach and came around to open my door.
“Why thank you, kind sir.” I said with a straight face.
He smiled, “Anytime. C’mon.” he took my hand, locked the car, and led me to the marina ahead of us. He stopped at a big sailboat with the name of “Starry Skies”.
“I like the name.” I said, as he used his muscles to pull the boat closer to us.
“Yeah, me too. The guy who owns it is an astronomer. He has been best friends with my parents for years, and that’s how I got it tonight.” he explained, straining his voice as the boat moved closer to him.
“If he and your parents are such great friends, then why did you have to pay for the boat?” I asked out of curiosity.
He climbed aboard the boat and motioned for me to take his hand. I did and he helped me take the big step from the marine’s dock to the boat’s.
“Well, he didn’t want me to pay at all, but with my dad being the nice guy, he insisted that I pay for it.”
“That kinda sucks.” I laughed.
“Not really.” he said, still serious. “It shows that you are a nice person and that even though they offered you something, you still be the bigger person and pay up.” he looked at me and smiled. “But, let’s not worry about money right now. It is Valentine’s Day and we are going to have a blast. Now, I need to take care of a few things before we set sail, so you can look around the boat, but don’t go below deck, because he does not like other people down there, okay?” he told me.
“Yeah. Cool, I’ll just stay on the front of the boat and look out at the sea. I love how it shines with the moonlight.” I said.
“Okay. That’s cool. Fine by me. I’ll let you know when we’re untied.” he left me there by the edge of the boat, rocking, as he went to the back of the boat to untie us.
I grabbed the lining on the side of the boat, and eased my way to the front. Once there, I found a little bench that was lined with soft cotton cushions. I laid down and looked at the night sky. The sun had just set, so it still had a pinkish glow to it. The moon was already out, and some stars were showing their faces.
I must have fell asleep, because the next thing I know Sheldon was shaking me awake. “Clair…Clair!” I opened my eyes. “Hey, sleepy. Better get up. we’re almost to the island and I want to do something before we get there. C’mon, let’s get up.” He stood up and took my hand. I used it to pull myself up, and he climbed up on the bench.
“Wait, who’s driving the boat?” I asked, scared.
“Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s on auto. I typed in the lat. and long., it’ll take us to where we need to be. Now, c’mon….take my hand.” I did and he pulled me up so that we were both standing on the bench. He took another step up so that he was almost at the very tip of the boat.
“I’m not coming up there if that’s what you want.” I laughed.
“Oh, c’mon, why not?” he asked, with the puppy dog face.
“Oh, I don’t know, because we could fall off?!” I yelled, laughing.
“I would never put you in any danger. Now, come on. Get up here.” he reached out for my hand, and I put mine in his. He gripped it tight and pulled me up.
“Nice. Very good. Now, come here. First, have you ever seen the Titanic?” he asked.
“Yeah, why?” I wondered.
“Just curious. Now, step up on this bar. I promise, I will not let you fall, just step up.” I was shivering by now, the wind had picked up, and it was getting cold.
“Sheldon, I’m really cold.” I whined.
“It’s okay. I’ll give you my sweatshirt after we do this. Come on, step up.” he ordered.
I did and he wrapped his arms around my waist. “Now, close your eyes, and say ‘I can fly.’”
“Why?” I asked, turning around to look at him. He turned me back around.
“Just because, now come on. We are almost at the island.” he said.
“Okay.” I closed my eyes. “’I can fly.’”
“Good. Now open them.” I did, and I saw the island ahead. It was beautiful, tropical flowers grew on the rocks, and the waves crashed smoothly upon the shore.
“That’s really nice, Sheldon. Can we get down now? I’m scared.”
He sighed. “That’s just great.”
“What?” I asked, stepping down.
“I did this for a reason. I planned all of it out, and you didn’t even like it.”
“Sheldon, I did like it. I loved it. It was amazing.”
“Whatever.” he said.
He climbed down and left, mumbling something about checking the coordinates. It was not until I was laying in my bed that night that I got it. He was trying to be Jack, and he wanted me to feel like Rose. He wanted me to fly like they did on the Titanic.
July 9, 2008. 10:35 PM
When I woke up, my mom was there, not Sheldon.
“Hey, sleepy. I was wondering when you were gonna wake up. Sheldon came back with another movie, but I told him you were still asleep, so he went ahead to bed. You guys can watch it tomorrow. But, anyhow, how are you feeling? Sheldon’s been in here more than me, and that’s fine but I want to know how you’re doing too. Are you doing all right?”
“I’m fine. I’m just always really tired, I’m never hungry, and I just feel like ‘bleck.’ You know?” I said. My voice had pretty much gone back to normal, and it wasn’t scratchy from the food tube, it was just hard to breathe sometimes.
“Yeah, honey. I know….but that’s what happens when you have this disease. I’m sorry, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask, your dad and I and Sheldon are all right here for you.”
I nodded, “What time is it?” I asked, the clock was on the wall, but I couldn’t read it because of the angle I was at.
My mom glanced at her wrist. “It’s about 15 ‘til 11.” she said.
“At night?!” I freaked out. I had slept for a long time. She nodded. “Geez.”
“Are you still tired?” she asked. I shook my head. I was always tired, but I didn’t want to go to sleep right now.
“Okay, well, we can play a game. Or we can watch TV, or your dad brought your iPod up today after work if you want to listen to that.” No, I didn’t want to play a game because that made you think. Watching TV was boring. Listening to my iPod would make me want to go to sleep. This hospital was so damn boring.
“Can we just talk?” I finally asked.
“Sure. What about?” she asked, sitting down on my bed and patting my legs.
“Why can’t I go home? There’s nothing to do here. At least at home I can call people, and I can rest in the comfort of my own bed and watch what I want instead of just the regular channels.” I complained.
“Honey, you know the answer to that. You fainted at the carnival. The doctors think you’re getting sick again, you temperature was 100 degrees while you were asleep, and I didn’t want to tell you, but since you brought up going home I guess I had no other choice.” she explained, trying to be sympathetic.
“Sick, sick ,sick. God dang, mom, I am always sick! Always! I’m tired of it. I just want to go home and live a normal life.” I yelled, turning around in my bed so that I was no longer facing her.
“I’m sorry, honey. I’ll leave you alone. I’ll be right down the hall if you need me.” she patted my head and kissed it, then left.
I’m pretty sure that I feel asleep again, cause this time, when I woke up my dad was sitting on the edge of my bed. I knew he had talked to my mom because he was looking at my baby pictures that he kept on his phone, and he only did that if he and my mom had talked about me. After being in this sticky situation for a while, I had picked up some things.
“Hey, Daddy.” I said. He turned around and scooted up on my bed.
“Hey, pumpkin. I talked to your Mom.” I told you so. “She told me what you said. I’m very sorry that you feel that way. Believe me, if I could trade places with you, I’d do it in a second. I promise you that. But, I can’t.” he explained.
“Why didn’t you guys tell me I was getting sick again? And mom never did answer my question, why can’t we go home? I can get better there, too.”
“We didn’t tell you because there’s nothing to worry about. Just a couple more pills to take once a day and that’s all. The doctors said not to worry about it, if it gets any worse we’ll let you know. You can’t go home because then we would have to pay for private home care and we can barely pay the bill as it is. I’ve had to take off from work, so we don’t have that much money rolling in now. Your mother works at night for a little bit, but it is not enough. I’m sorry.” he said.
“I understand. I’m sorry I’m putting us in such a rut.” I apologized.
“No, honey. Never, we love you, whether we are broke or not.” he laughed.
I nodded. “Daddy, what time is it?” I asked.
“It’s about 3 in the morning, why?” he asked.
“3 in the morning? Dad, why are you here? Go back to your room and sleep. I feel so bad! I’m keeping you up. If I would’ve known the time I would have told you sooner.”
“You’re fine. But I am kind of tired, I’m going to go back to my room, you going to be okay?”
“Yeah, Dad. Thanks, can I have my iPod though?” I requested.
“Sure. Here ya go.” he dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out my black iPod classic.
“Thanks.” I took it from him, put the ear buds in, and turned it to my favorite song. So Damn Clever by the Plain White T’s.