May 14, 2008
By Anna Cheung, Rocky Point, NY

The chills inched up Annie’s spine when she stepped outside for her daily, monotonous chores. Her small foot submerged in the snow and she withdrew it immediately. Some warm air escaped her jacket and was replaced by the bitterness of winter. As she paced down the icy driveway, she grasped the shovel and sighed. As Annie slowly strolled down the rough pavement of her road, she came across two little girls playing about. They had at least 9 layers of pants and jackets on and their curly, dark hair was tucked into their hats. They were full of joy and laughter as they sunk into the snow and wailed their arms in an up and down motion.

“Hi Danielle. Hi Monica.”

“Hiiiiiiiiiiii Annie!” they screeched.

“Come play with us! We’re making snow angels!” yelled Monica.

An anxious feeling conquered Annie’s mind. She has never heard of such a thing, a snow angel? As they stirred their arms in the snow, Annie was picturing her next to them, whisking her arms to make a beautiful set of wings. Right then and there, Annie remembered her reason for being outside. The girls frowned when Annie shook her head, but she had many errands to complete. Annie continued to walk down the road until she came across a brick red house to her left. She walked up the blacktop driveway and up the stone blocks that were lined up. She rang the doorbell and a scrawny, old lady opened the door.

“Hi Mrs. Howe.”

“Oh, Hello Dear. Would you like to come in?” she said in a shaky voice.

“No thanks, I have got to get to the restaurant shortly but I wanted to help you shovel your driveway first.”

Annie’s voice trailed off as she walked down the driveway. She slowly scooped up the snow from the driveway, one shovel at a time. After a couple minutes of this, a red pickup truck with tinted windows pulled up behind her. The windows slowly rolled down and a boy’s head popped out.

“Hey Annie, you almost done? Dad wants us to go to the restaurant now, it’s getting late and some workers are off today.”

“Alright Willis, let me get my stuff from inside.”

“Hurry, I’m getting impatient, you’re never prepared!”

Annie stomped fiercely into the house and waved bye to Mrs. Howe. She picked up her belongings and sprinted out the door. On the way to the restaurant, Willis interrogated Annie about her day at school and at Mrs. Howe’s. However, Annie wasn’t in the mood to talk, she just wanted to go to the restaurant and work for the night.

When Annie arrived, she gave a kiss to each of her parents and settled down to work. She went over to the refrigerator and cut some green beans up so there would be enough for the day. She then cut up some meat, sealed it, and stored it in the freezer. All the customers started swarming in one after the other. Friday was usually the busiest day since most customers got their paycheck that day. When the sun finally disappeared below the horizon, it was time to go home.

The next morning was terribly exasperating for Annie. She had to go to her CCB prep course at the community college. The class consisted of mainly 9th and 10th graders prepping for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Annie was one of the youngest students in the class, she had just entered 8th grade and her parents were pressuring her to take the SATs. Willis completed the SATs when he was 11 and got an almost perfect score. Now, her parents were convincing her that if she scored higher than Willis on the SATs, then she could graduate early. The weight was on her shoulders and there was no way out.

When Annie arrived in the classroom, she took her seat and waited for the professor.

“Good morning class. How was everybody’s week?” said Mrs. Lin.

“Fine.” The class said in unison.

We started reviewing vocabulary from the previous week, some new grammar, and also some math equations. When the clock hit 12:30, the phone rang in the classroom. Mrs. Lin picked it up and walked out of the classroom. When she returned, her tone of voice changed drastically. You could now here the shakiness of her voice and u could see her glassy eyes about to explode in tears.

“Annie, can I see you out of the classroom, please?”

Annie’s heart started to beat faster, she was curious as to what the mystery phone call was. When they exited the classroom, Mrs. Lin grabbed Annie’s hands and looked her directly in the eyes. She could not think of a possible way to say this without bursting in tears… there was no way to say it. Mrs. Lin then told Annie that she could not keep it in any longer.

“Annie, your dad’s on the way now. Your mom just had a visit to the hospital and they found out that she has breast cancer.”

Annie could feel her stomach curl and her legs become weak and unsteady. She ran out of the building and fell on the floor. Annie knew that ovarian cancer was one of the harshest cancers there could possibly be. She knew that it was hard to overcome and that her mom had a slim chance of living through her 40s.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, her dad’s silver car finally rolled in. She has never seen her dad this saddened before. Even when her grandpa passed away, her dad did not even shed one tear. I stepped into the car and we started heading to the restaurant.


“Annie! Calm down. We have time to go visit mom later, nobody’s at the restaurant right now and we have to get back there. It’s Saturday and we still need to make a living.”

Her nerves felt like they were going to explode. She could not believe how stubborn her father was. Her mom was just diagnosed with a rare case of cancer and they were getting ready for a regular day of work!

After the long day at work, they finally arrived at the hospital. The first floor was hectic; there were loud screams, piles of blood, and tears everywhere. There were many patients injured from head to toe. Annie gagged a couple of times and darted for the elevator with her father beside her. When they got to the 8th floor, her mom’s floor, everything got quieter. They walked past a couple of white curtains and many nurses pacing back and forth in their pink hospital uniforms.

When we finally reached the end of what seemed to be an infinite hallway, they finally arrived to her mom’s room. When Annie stepped into the gloomy room, her heart sank to the ground. Tears automatically poured out when she saw the pain in her mother’s eyes. Annie and her father spent the night at the hospital and woke up to find that the cancer was more serious than they imagined. The heart monitor started to level off, and a piercing noise increased.

This was the absolute end for Annie. She couldn’t take any of it anymore. She ripped open the door and dashed out. She raced down the stairs and out the front door. Annie then threw herself down onto the pavement of the road and she let the rain soak into her clothing. She was on her knees now and her whole body rested on the floor in a praying position. She rested there for a good minute before her dad raced after her. However, her dad was too late. A car raced down the hospital road and pinned Annie down to the ground.

Nurses raced out of the hospital with a stretcher and plopped Annie onto it. As the women raced her down what seemed to be a hallway in heaven, lights were gleaming in Annie’s eyes. She felt as if her life was coming to an end. She lost her mother, her hope, and almost her life.

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