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I sit by the window and stare out into the empty streets. My heart yearns to leave this prison my parentals called a home. Just because I have an O2 tank, and it is hard for me to be outside, doesn’t mean that I can’t be a normal kid.
“Eden? I made chicken parmesan. You need to eat,” my mother called through my door. I turned my head slightly towards the door and realized that I should go eat.
“Coming, Mother,” I said loudly as I got up and grabbed my tank. My steps were quiet, but the tank was not. It’s wheels squeaked and whined across the wooden floors.
“Hello, Eden. How are your online classes going?” my father asked as I sat down next to my older brother.
“They’re fine. I just wish I could go to a real school and actually escape out of this house. You know it’s bad for my health if I stay in the same place all the time.” Long breath. “Please let me go to public school or private. I just want to go to school.” Longer breath. “Please, Dad.”
“I think she’s right, Dad, she needs to experience what an actual school is like. I mean she would technically be a junior and I can keep an eye on her,” my brother offered. He is older than me by 20 minutes and 34 seconds, so I guess he is technically my older brother, but I am smarter.
“I’ll think about it. Maybe after the move. You know how stressed it has your mother,” Father says. with a sigh.
“Move? When did you guys decide that?” I retort. I’m pretty angry about this. Like my parents should be telling me everything.
“We’re moving to Seattle. The air is cleaner, and it will be easier for you plus, the doctors there can help you more than they can here,” my mother blurted.
“Are you kidding me? Mom. I don’t want to move! I want to stay here and make friends then leave for college. Seriously, if you have ever actually thought about me, then you wouldn’t make me move. What about Adam? Are you going to take him…” longer breath. “Away from all of his friends and especially his girlfriend.” By this point I was coughing hysterically. My head started to spin and I felt as if I were falling down the rabbit hole.
“Oh crap!” Adam exclaimed and started to help me. My mother started to cry, and yeah, I felt bad, but at the same time, all of that needed to be said.
“I’m going to help her upstairs. Think about what she said because I’m siding with her,” Adam snapped. He guided me and my tank up the stairs.
“Adam, they won't make us move, will they?” I asked.
“I don’t think they will. I hope not. I swear if they do I will save the money and get you and I out of there,” he teased. He hugged me and set up my night O2. “Now, school isn’t easy, you know. Plus it’ll take awhile for people to get used to the tank,”
“I don't really care. I want to be normal,” I snapped.
“Eden, you are perfect. I want you to always remember that,” my brother whispered and hugged me.
“Goodnight, Adam. I love you,” I called as he left my room. I tried so hard not to cry. It hurt me that my parents haven't confided in me about anything.
I woke up to a sudden bang and screaming. I rushed out of bed and ripped off my tank and ran to find out what happened.
“Eden! Go to your room!” My father yelled. I heard my mother’s sobbing, and ignored what he said.
“What’s going on?” I asked. Mother was sitting on the floor sobbing and she had blood on her nightgown. I noticed that she had a scratch on her arm, and I realized that Adam was probably having another night terror.
‘Mother! Answer me!” I yelled. Her sobs only got louder.
I started to go towards my father's yelling, but Mother grabbed my ankle. “Don’t go in there, Eden!” Mother screamed tears streamed down her face.
“Adam! Adam!” I screamed as I ran into his room. He laid on his bed and I wish I could wake up from the nightmare that played out in front of me. This terror was bad.
“Eden, honey, you shouldn’t be in here,” my Father said and tried to usher me out of the room. I couldn’t cry, but I wanted to.
“Father, what happened?” I asked. He looked at me and tears started to stream down his cheeks. “You know that I’m the person that calms him down the most! Why didn’t you get me? I don’t care how bad it gets; he is my brother, and he needs me!”
“Oh, sweetie, everything is fine. Go back to bed. Adam is fine,” Dad said and smoothed my hair.
Adam was sleeping peacefully in his bed, but his room is a mess, which isn’t normal. I pushed myself out of dad’s arms and started to clean Adam’s room. My mother started to cry again and my dad tried to get me to go back to bed. I couldn’t leave his room like this.
“Adam, wake up. I need help cleaning your room,” I said after our parents left. He stirred slightly and his eyes fluttered open.
“Eden, you should be in bed. Where’s Eden Jr.?” he asked as he sat up.
“Please stop calling my tank that. I left it in my room. I think you had another terror. Mom and Dad were freaking out,” I explained.
“Well, I know you’re enrolled in school because Mom and Dad were talking about it right before I went to bed, but I can’t remember a damn thing after falling asleep,” Adam mumbled as he sat up. He hugged me and smoothed my hair in order to comfort me.
“You need to go to bed. Like seriously. I am worried that your lungs will go into shock. We also have to wake up early for school. Go.”
I tip-toed back to my room and awaited the next day. I’m excited for my first day of school but I’m worried about Adam. He hasn’t had night terrors in a long time. He never had any as bad as last night. He’ll be fine. He has to be. He’s my big brother after all. First day of school, here I come.
When I got to school, I was nervous, but everything went by slowly and well. I took three art classes, Algebra II, creative writing, and English III. My brother surprised me with lunch, and he even took me out with his friends. I had a lot of fun at school, and I mean I couldn’t back out now. I am already too invested in girl talk to leave.
“Hey, kids. How was school?” Dad asked. We both responded with positive answers and sat our stuff down.
“Good, I am glad. The only problem is we are still moving. I already purchased the apartment, and you’ll love the school there. Anyways, sweetheart, you’ll be great. Everyone there will love you.”
“I don’t want to move! I want to stay here,” I stated and started to cry. My dad reached a hand out to grab my arm, but I pulled away. “Don’t touch me!” I grabbed my tank and ran out the door. I heard my parents and Adam scream my name, but I kept running. My heart pounded like a bass drum in my ears. I didn't feel the pain. I didn’t need to in order to understand that it was there and I just couldn’t feel it. The more I ran the less I felt. I finally stopped when I made it to the old water tower. Almost immediately, I felt the pain but I didn’t care about it.
I took off the tank and started to climb the ladder. Every step grew less scary. I made it to the top and started to laugh. I can’t believe I made it up here!
“Hey, sweetheart, be careful,” a boy said, and I jumped. He caught me before I fell. “Whoa, now. You need to be careful. If you fall, you’ll die.” The boy wore a loose white silk shirt with a leather jacket and black jeans. However, he got better looking the more I looked. His rich golden hair that had tousled griminess, which promised finesse. He had strong arched brows and eyelashes so thick, it could be illegal. And then his eyes; they were deep and catastrophic, a vivid ocean blue as a great body of water that softly melted into a milky green .This close, I could see the flecks of gold in his eyes. He has distinct cheekbones and an angular jaw, his pale skin made him look devilishly handsome, which reminded me of a face I’ve seen before.
“We’re all already dying, but I guess my life can be longer. You are?”
“Eden. We go to school together, right?”
“Like the garden? And yes, we go to school together.”
I blushed, “Yeah, like the garden.” He smiled and brushed my bangs out of my face with his hand.
“You’re really pretty, just like the garden.”
“You’re really cheesy. Also, we are really close to the railing, and I don’t feeling like dying at 17.” He nodded and helped me sit down.
“You’re really cute. So what brings you up here?”
“Rebellion. I ran away.”
“My parents. Trying to make me move, and I literally just started school.”
“Look, your parents probably are just trying to help you,” Jamie explained.
I looked at him and realized that he was right. I mean I still don’t want to move.
“Thanks, Jamie, but I highly doubt that. I am pretty sure my Dad wants to move closer to the woman he is having an affair with. Anyways, why are you up here?”
“I like it up here. It’s my calm place. Especially because of this,” he said and lifted up his shirt. “That’s where they removed the tumor. I always think about how close I was to dying. My parents freaked out when I got the tumor and moved around the states until they found a doctor to remove it. It was a lot, but I knew they were trying. That’s all I cared about,” he explained.
“I was diagnosed with asthma as a kid and then they told me that I developed lung cancer. I guess it’s a rough life, but I never really notice how difficult it is. I left my tank down there so I could get up here. I guess I wanted to accomplish something big. I wanted to be more than glass.”
“Well, Glass, you are now Cement. I hereby declare you are the strongest girl I have ever and will ever meet.”
“Thanks,” I blushed. He leaned closer, and then I felt the static. His lips brushed mine then the kiss we were sharing grew deeper. I felt my lungs tighten as the kiss continued. He pulled away and we both were breathing heavy.
“Oh. My. God.” I breathed. He laughed and ran his thumb over my lip.
“You’re beautiful and you should probably get home. I can drive you,” he offered.
“I’d rather not go home. I want to get away from the drama for a little while longer,” I explained.
He agreed, and we stayed up there until I decided that I had to get my tank. He helped me get down so that I didn’t fall on my butt and hurt myself more than I already did.
“You want to go out sometime? I mean, I am pretty into you, so I would be sad if you said no,” he said as he placed his hands on my hips.
“As long as you’re nice to me and we move slow, then yeah, I wouldn’t mind going out with you. Of course, my brother will have a fit and my mom, too.” I laughed at the thought of my brother seeing Jamie and I together.
“I think I can handle Adam and maybe your mom. I just woo her like I did you,” he teased.
“My mom is not the type you want to woo, Jamie. She is crazy,” I warned.
“Maybe, but I’m starting to think you are too. I mean you ran all the way here, with a tank, took the tank off, climbed the ladder of a water tower, kissed a stranger, and you are now dating said stranger. You’re a little bit crazy,” he said matter-of-factly.
“I just think that I am sporadic,” I retorted.
“I can handle maybe. Let’s get me home so my family can stop freaking out.”
“Oh my god!” My mom sobbed as she hugged me.
“Mom, calm down. I’m fine. I just needed some time to collect my thoughts. Also, this is Jamie. He’s my boyfriend and you better be nice. Especially you, Adam!”
“Oh hell. Sis, I don’t know if I can handle you and Jamie together. I’ve been friends with this loser way too long.” Adam said and fist bumped Jamie.
“Oh my gosh. Okay, I’m going to go away again!”
My mom looked like she was about ready to smack me, and Adam was too. Jamie picked me up and carried me into the house. “Nope, no more running away for you. I think you’ve run away enough, young concrete.”
“Why is he calling you concrete? Are you calling my sister fat?” Adam started to flip, but I quickly smacked his head and buried my face into Jamie’s neck.
“She was glass according to everyone else, but I think she is concrete. I think she is stronger than everyone around her,” Jamie whispered to me. I couldn’t help but smile and feel beautiful because of how Jamie made me smile. I believe my family noticed this too and hopefully they realized that moving is out of the question.
A few months after meeting Jamie and starting school, I realized why my brother hated school and loved spending time with his girlfriend. I couldn’t believe that school was more boring than online school. I have fun in my art classes and creative writing, but the other two make me want to die. My teachers have monotone voices and don’t know how to teach different people. It's really annoying, but I’m surviving.
“Eden, you’ll be late to painting if you don’t hurry up,” Jamie said and squeezed my hand.
“I’m just lost in thought because of how boring english and math is,” I whined.
“You’re only saying that because I’m not in there and you have double period math. I think you can survive just over three hours without me, babe.”
“I don’t know.. You’re practically my world,” I explained and kissed his cheek. Of course, the loud buzzer went off, and I knew I was late. I smiled at Jamie, and then I took of running. I didn’t have to pull a tank. I didn’t have to slow down. I’m still sick, but the doctors have figured the cancer out quite a bit and it’s made my life easier. I keep an inhaler on me now. I occasionally have to use a tank, but that’s rare. I’m able to do more with my life than I was able to a few months ago. So here I go. No more sitting on my window sill, watching the empty streets, and yearning to be free. I am free. I am also beautiful in my own way and as long as I know that, I am concrete.