Moving On

October 6, 2008
She gazed out the foggy hospital window, finding it ironic that just this morning it had been bright and sunny. Now, watching raindrops slide down the window pane, she considered the fact that life was just like the weather, sometimes terrible, sometimes wonderful, but always changing in mere seconds.

Looking back at this morning, Alicia thought it began just like any normal day. But now, as the sanitized smell of the hospital filled her nose, she wished she could start the day over again.

Alicia was a beautiful teenager, with long brown hair, bright green eyes and perfectly tanned skin. She was never mean, like some of the teenage girls she knew, and wasn’t caught up in all the material things. Because she was fun, outgoing, and also kind, many people would consider her “popular”. But just like any teenage girl, Alicia and her mom didn’t always get along. Today was no different, but looking back on the ridiculous fight they had about vacuuming the stairs, Alicia felt horrible for being so rude about it.

“Alicia? Jake?” her father sniffled, snapping Alicia out of the memory as he slowly walked out of her mother’s hospital room. Alicia's father Luke, tall with brown hair and green eyes just like the rest of the family, was almost always in a good mood. But as he slumped toward them, he seemed more upset than he ever had in his life and Alicia immediately knew what he was going to say.

“Um, your mom… well, you guys know that the chemo wasn't really working, and then the effects of the car crash this morning were worse then the doctors thought. And, she’s… she’s not going to make it,” her dad could barely finish what he was saying. It was hard for Alicia to watch her dad’s eyes fill with tears, while tears were streaming down her face also.

Leaving the hospital was one of the hardest things Alicia had ever done. The car ride home was almost impossible to stand, the silence only broken by sniffles, and the absence of her mother already sinking in. Pulling into the steep driveway, the lights in the kitchen were on, signifying that the little ones were still awake with Aunt Tara. The rest of the night was a blur, full of tears and emotion, so Alicia decided to go to bed early.

The nest day, Saturday, Alicia knew that staying at home would be too hard to handle, so she and her twin brother Jake decided to go to the library. As they set out in the crisp, autumn, Philadelphia air, they could see the tip of the gigantic, white stone building on the horizon. Eventually, they reached the huge steps of the library. They were Alicia’s favorite part of the trip because each step had a different inspiring word carved in it in tall, block letters. The twins bounded up the last three steps, and when the sun hit the second step just right, Alicia could read the word HOPE.

The Ridley Public Library was not like any other. It smelled of fresh air, because the back doors were always open and when you entered through the tall double doors at the front, you found yourself in the most magnificent rotunda you will ever see in your life.

Setting off for the fiction section, the amazing sculptures and paintings in the library reminded Alicia of her mother. Jake had settled into one of the enormous brown suede chairs, while Alicia started down an isle. The best thing about the library, Alicia thought, is that you can walk down an isle, pick out and put back as many books as you like, without getting questioning looks from staff or other people. Alicia pulled out a brick red book with a tattered spine and added it to the small stack in her arms. Not noticing the paper fall out of it, she slowly crept on.

“Excuse me miss, you dropped this,” a middle aged mad stated friendly, but quietly.

“No I didn’t?” questioned Alicia, “it’s not mine.”

“It fell out of the book you pulled out. The red one,” he replied.

She took the paper, thanked the man, and hurried off to where her brother was. She took a seat next to him and opened the red book first. Flipping through the worn pages, she almost forgot about the slip of paper. Quickly, Alicia unfolded it, being careful not to damage the already torn edges. She let out a loud gasp as she read the first line.

"Dear Alicia, First of all I want you to know that i love you very much," Alicia read outloud to her brother. She went on reading the letter, as her brother gazed in awe at their mother's this, beautiful, unmistakable handwritting.

"Right at this second, you, your father and Jake are out buying supplies for the new media room, so I know I have a lot of time. We both know how your dad gets at Home Depot! Anyways, About two weeks ago, i found out that i had skin cancer. Even though i didn't tell anyone, i knew i didn't have much more time here with you guys. So if you can remember the past few months, i've been making the most of it. I knew that whenever i died, the library would be your first stop. The man that hopefully handed you this letter was an old friend of mine. Hope he didn't scare you too badly! Back to the point. I know the next few months will be tough. Don't say they won't, because they will be. But i want you to know that you're strong, Alicia. Strong enough, without me, to handle any mean girl, stupid boy, or unfair teacher that crosses your path. The one thing i ask of you is to help your dad out. I told him many times that I wouldn't be with him much longer, but i don't think he ever believed me. Please take care of Zack and little Mackenzie. Help raise them to be wonderful people. And as for Jake, just keep him out of trouble! :) Alicia, you are my baby girl, the most precious thing God has ever givin me. Live life, have fun, and make me proud. I will always be with you darling. I will miss you, i love you with my whole entire heart, and i will never stop. Always have HOPE, not matter what life challenges you with. I love you Alicia. xo- Mom."

As Alicia finished, the tears that had been forming in her eyes finally began to inch down her nose. She glanced over at her brother, noticing that he was teary also.

Jake stood up first, helping his sister up also, and they shuffled to the front doors to head home. Trudging across the damp pavement, a smile grew on both the childrens faces. Despite the events to come, Alicia knew now that she could make it. She knew deep in her heart, that she was strong, and that no matter what, she had her family, the people that loved her unconditionally, backing her up. That day Alicia Demas finally realized that life was too short to waste, and what better way to live it than by making the most of it.

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