It had been a while since I'd been in my hometown, but now that I was back, it felt nice. I'd forgotten how homely it was. The houses lining the streets were near identical and yet, still held the identity of attempting at uniqueness. I passed one house that someone had painted a deep jazz purple. That made it stand out from the rest. Every other house exhibited bland, normal colors. This purple house, however....It told me a story of desperation to be unique, and I wasn't complaining at all. A lot has changed, though, including myself.
"Hello? Jasmine?" My old friend, Lizzy waved her hand in my face to get my attention.
"Huh?" I blinked twice and glanced at her. She crossed her arms rather forcefully, making the porch swing we sat on tremble.
"Did you not hear me?" She asks, raising her eyebrows in disappointment. Her golden hazel eyes stare into my blue ones. I can tell they're searching for something. Maybe she's trying to search inside me for that person she once knew five years ago. I doubt she'll find her.
"It has been five years, hasn't it?" I marvel, letting my words roll off my tongue. Lizzy gives me a look that tells me she wonders where my mind is at most of the time anymore.
"Yes, Jasmine, and you're out of high school now, so start acting like it," she orders me around like she's my mother. Ha, the joke's on her, my mother is back in another state.
"Oh, come on," I stand up, making the porch swing shake again, a sharp pain entering my stomach area for a split second, "High school was the end of something bad, but college can be the start of something good." Lizzy is giving me a weird look. I almost mistake it for understanding. I can't tell if she's considering my words or just plain ignoring them.
"Yeah," she shrugs in reply, "High school is over, after all. That's the fact."
"So?" I wave my arms in the air. I can tell she wants something. She'd better ask what it is or I may be forced to resort to desperate measures, which would be tickling her.
"Just ask the question, Lizzy," I command her and for a moment, her face softens. She lets go of the indecisive thoughts from another time and she smiles, making her eyes crinkle into two thick black lines. This moments reminds me of something a four year old would draw on a piece of paper; a girl with long golden hair and two black lines as eyes, wearing an outfit crafted from pastel or crayon.
"Okay," she admits and gives in. She inhales a breath, "Look, I'm just so glad to have you back. I hope....I hope you can stay longer than just one day." By the way the corner of her right eye keeps twitching, I know she's not telling the whole truth.
"What do you want to say,Lizzy?" I urge her to speak her thoughts and she nods, causing her hay-like hair to partially fall in front of her face. She brushes it behind her ear again.
"I want you come home."
I look up at her. Neither eye is twitching, so se must be saying what she needed to say. Her attitude tells me that she means her words. Her attitude tells me she means her words, too. Her hazel eyes smile at me as much as her mouth does. She's waitnig for an answer, but I'm not exactly sure what she's asking.
"What do you mean?" I cross my arms and Lizzy adjusts how she is sitting.
"I..." She stops at the beginning of her sentence, as if unable to speak the words she know she must escape her lips, "I've missed you. Jack's missed you. Leo's missed you. Heck, everyone from this whole dang town has missed you!"
The pain returns for a few seconds this time, then goes away again. "R-Really?" I try not to sound pained as I'm almost speechless because I never thought anyone would miss me when I left. This town had always been kind of run down. I mean, it was founded as a miner town back in the early ninteenth century. People flocked to it like doves, not realizing what they were getting into. I know most of my friends wanted to leave, same as me. Apparently, they never did.
"So, will you stay?" Lizzy stands up to meet my head level. We gaze into each other's eyes as I consider my answer.
"What about my parents?" I almost yell. I don't mean to, but what will they think when they find out I've abandoned my dream of art school in their state and come back to go to the community school here?
"What about them?" Lizzy's eyebrows knit together, obvioulsy not sure how to evaluate my last question.
"What will they think when they find out I've left my previous college dreams in the dust?" I brush my sandy brown bangs out of my eyes.
"What does it matter?" Lizzy counters, "You're old enough that you don't need their permission anymore!"
I sigh, my breath filling the air with the scent of my peppermint candy that I had before I arrived at Lizzy's house.
"Fine," I surrender to my feelings, "It'd be nice to go to college with all of my high school friends, anyways."
"Yay!" Lizzy jumps up and down, like the cheerleader captain that she used to be.
Then I look to the distant sky. I feel the pain in my side return for a split second and I do my hardest not to bend over in agony.
"I have to get going," I choke out and Lizzy looks sad to see me leave, but she finally nods, "Okay. See you at college."
"Yeah," I murmur, though knowing I probably won't make it that long.
I walk down her driveway until I get to my car. I get in. I grab the wheel with both hands, at ten and two, but I just sit there. I don't start up my car. I don't mess with my seat. I don't get out and run to Lizzy, grab her by the shoulders and yell at her, saying, "Hey! I need help! I may have cancer!" I could never do that. She probably wouldn't even believe me because it's so incredibly rare for a young adult to get cancer. I've never smoked and yet, cancer may have its grasp on me. I may die before I get into college.
Reluctantly, I push all these thoughts away and start the engine of my car. I drive off, never thinking for a second that, in the following week, I'd be driven to the hospital in an ambulance or that I'd die in my sleep.