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Dare You To Move part 2
Where did Brooke go? She just bolted out of here!
I leaned over my desk and dropped the note onto Deidra’s hand. She jerked her head around and scowled. Poor girl hadn’t passed a note since she’d been caught passing them in third grade and Mrs. Ellsworth read it in front of the class. Everyone knew that she liked some kid in the other class, but the embarrassment was too much for her and she hadn’t passed notes since. That is, until now.
Jaime has been in the hospital for several months now and I don’t think he’s going to come out. She probably went to visit him since he’s really sick.
Deidra looked fearfully towards Mr. Bales and put her arm behind her and dropped into my hand under my desk. I held her hand there for a minute before Mr. Bales looked over in our general direction and Deidra pulled her hand away in fear. I pulled the note into my lap and opened it gingerly as to not make a lot of noise. I pulled a slight upward glance at Mr. Bales and wrote my response on the back of the paper.
Chemo didn’t get rid of it? I could have sworn he told me on the phone that he was in remission.
Another hand holding session as I dropped the little piece of paper into her hand. A slight crinkle of paper was heard as she opened the crumpled note. She read it and let out a sigh.
You know, for a guy as popular as yourself, you should really know more about the world around you than this. He was in remission for a couple of weeks, but the leukemia came back about a week ago. They don’t think he’s going to make it past New Year’s, that’s how hard it hit him this time. I’ll talk to you after class, so quit passing notes. >:< (angry face)
It took all my might not to laugh at her little remark at the end, but the rest of it shocked me. Jaime wasn’t in remission? I spoke to him just a couple of weeks ago. I should call him after school.
“Mr. Hutchison?” I shook myself and looked up to see Mr. Bales eyeing me mysteriously. Had he seen Deidra and me passing notes? Deidra would kill me on the spot if he had. “Can you answer the question?” I studied the board, reading the equation and analyzing it.
“There are no solutions because the equation proves to be a parallel line.” I sat back in my seat and waited for his response.
“Very good, Mr. Hutchison, but I would appreciate it greatly if you could focus your attention on the lesson and not on Miss Peters. Shall we continue?” This time he let his glassy grey eyes slide over the classroom as sleeping kids were shaken awake by frightful neighbors and kids who were paying attention sat up even straighter in their seats. Mr. Bales continued to drone on and on about graphs and equations while my brain was focused on Jaime and Brooke. I looked to my left and saw a girl with thick glasses and freckles. I didn’t talk to her very much, but I knew her name.
“Ruth,” I whispered as I gave quick glances from her to Mr. Bales and back.
“What? You already got into trouble for passing notes.”
“Actually, I got into trouble for not paying attention. But I had a question.”
“Speak quickly before you get detention and I get a warning!” Gee, could she be more uptight?
“I saw Brooke bolt out, but where did Marilynn go?”
“She needed some insulin.”
“Why?” Deidra turned around and put a finger up to her lips, telling me to be quiet.
“She has type one diabetes. You didn’t know that?” I shook my head, feeling stupid. How could I not know about these things? “She needed an extra dose of insulin because she was getting tired. Now hush up and pay attention!” Ruth scared me.
Suddenly, the classroom door opened and Marilynn came storming in, huffing and puffing. She gave Mr. Bales a pass and spoke to him quietly. He nodded and she picked up her books. She ran out and everyone was gawking at her. What in the world was she doing? Before I could finish thinking it out, she had slammed the door behind her and was gone.
I laid down on my bed after being dragged off for more testing. Bone marrow tests, blood tests, concentration tests, et cetera. My brain hurt from answering questions. My arms were freezing from lack of the blood that once ran through their veins.
I knew there was a slim chance that I would live past Christmas. Everyday, the doctors told my parents that I had one less day to live. First it was Valentine’s Day, then New Year’s, and now Christmas. Of course, I’m not going to tell my best friend about that, for she expects me to live to see 2010, even if it’s just one day. Brooke would strangle me.
I really wanted to push through and move on with my life. I wanted to go dirt biking with my friends and go to parties, but the only excitement in my life was whether I was going to have to get blood cell transplants to stay alive.
I heard a knock at my door and was pulled out of my fantasies about dirt biking and parties. “Come in,” I whispered, and the door creaked open. Brooke stood there, a tear in her eyes, as she shut the door and leaned against it. She glanced at me, breathing quickly, before gliding over to the seat next to me. “Hey,” I said hoarsely. It hurt to say or do anything, but I weaved my fingers into hers anyway.
“Hey,” she said awkwardly. She seemed so out of place in her jeans and three quarter sleeve shirt in a world full of white sheets and white hospital gowns. Her voice wasn’t chipper like the announcer who rang for doctors to answer the nearest courtesy phones, but it wasn’t raspy and desperate like those of the patients. She was a whole new character in this hospital, and I felt that she shouldn’t feel so unstable in here as often as she was here. But no matter how strange she looked or felt, she leaned down and kissed my forehead.
“I’ve missed you, Brooke. It has been so lonely here without a soul to talk to. The nurses are not company at all, and the doctors wouldn’t dare speak of your personal life. All they ever say is, ‘How much pain are you in? Is your mother around to speak to? Do you need another dose of the meds?’ They don’t care that I need to talk about my feelings or my personal life. They just want me to be in as little pain as possible when I-” I stopped because she leaned in and kissed me square on the mouth. She didn’t want to hear those fateful words that would have completed my sentence, so she didn’t let me finish.
“This is nonsense, Jaime. You’re not going to die. Everyone has faith in you at school that you are going to live to be a great man. This is just a tiny setback.” Brooke gave me an encouraging smile and laid her head on my chest. She was trying really hard to stay positive, but I could tell she would cry if I mentioned it again. But I had to tell her.
“Brooke, this isn’t a setback. I need to tell you something.” I reached my other hand across my chest and held her hand with both of mine now, squeezing as hard as I could. “The doctor told me today that I’m not going to make it past Christmas.”
Brooke inhaled deeply and pursed her lips, making them quiver. Her eyes welded up with tears and she let her breath out with a shake. With her free hand, she wiped the tears from her cheeks and looked away. “Christmas is ten days away.”
“I know, baby. I know. They said that the process would be painless and quick, but this isn’t a minor setback for me anymore. I’m dying.” Brooke was now sobbing into my sheets. I looked towards the ceiling and sighed. I had to tell her, otherwise her present on Christmas morning would be a phone call from Mrs. Kinsley saying that I was gone. I know I sound totally unsympathetic for myself, but it’s true. I’m a goner.
“Jaime, come on. There is chemo and medication and-”
“We did all of that. It didn’t work. The cancer just keeps coming back, harder and stranger than it had the time before.”
“But what about that whole believing that you’ll get better is the best treatment? You parents and most of the school are standing behind you on this. Why aren’t you standing behind yourself?” Brooke stood up and walked out the door, slamming it behind her.
I sighed, knowing there was no hope of getting her back in there. I closed my eyes and chuckled at myself for what a jerk I was. Why couldn’t I just talk to her about her schooling and whether or not she made art school? Why was it always me, me, me with her? How could I be so selfish all the time?
I’m walkin’ down the halls behind this girl, Marilynn, who seemed pretty unhappy that I was following her to find my way.
“This is the East Wing behind that door.” She pointed and looked back at me, to which I nodded in response. She whipped her head around and began strutting again. I felt like I was so inferior to her that I probably should get on the ground and crawl behind her. We walked towards the office and she pointed out the North Wing of the school. Finally, we hit the West Wing where we went through one of the double doors and down the hall.
“You said your locker was 34, right?”
“Yah.” I smiled again, but she didn’t even turn and look at me. She just walked and stopped in front of one of the many blue lockers in that hallway. She leaned against locker 35 and crossed her arms. I gazed at the papers in my hand to find my locker combo and began spinning the dial. Spin right twice to 47. Spin left to 7. Spin right to 12. Click. I pulled the door open and looked at the bland emptiness of the locker. The door had some new paint in places that made the rest look worn and bruised. The back of the locker had some light dents, and the hook in the back was tilted a little to the right. I hung my backpack on the hook and opened it.
“A sack lunch?”
“Well, yah. I’ve brought a sack lunch to school for years. Is it a problem here?”
“Other than the fact that nobody brings their lunch in a brown bag anymore? No, there’s no problem at all.” She smirked and cocked her head to the side. I thought about how maybe she was not the nicest person around.
“Okay, well I’ll fix that.” I smiled, but her smirk still cut me. I pulled out my five subject spiral notebook and my zebra striped pencil bag. I heard a chuckle from beside me and I looked to see Marilynn looking at the pencil bag.
“You know some of the girls here have Coach pencil bags, right?”
“No, I didn’t know that. But I can probably get one.” I had no idea what Coach was, but I assumed it was fancy.
I grabbed my notebook, bag, and papers, and shut my locker door. “What’s your first class?”
“Uh… art.” My social studies class was already in progress and almost over, so I figured second period was best.
“Alright, well, art is in the West Wing so let’s get crackin’.” She clapped her hands and rubbed them together. We began to walk out the doors and into the lobby area again. Suddenly, a bell rang and classroom doors began flying open everywhere. I couldn’t see any, but I could hear it. The kids began flooding the lobby and halls, boys pushing each other around and girls gossiping. Teachers were standing around, monitoring the students and drinking their 7-Eleven coffee, which was probably cold. A small girl with a black ponytail stood by her locker, reading a Kathy Reichs book. When she saw me, she bent her head and acted scared, as if I had bullied her at one point in time.
“Oh, don’t even bother with her. That’s Camille Davison, the shiest person on the planet, and she always has her nose in one of those creepy books about dead bodies and crime scenes. Ugh, it’s disgusting.” I stole a glance back at the girl, who didn’t even seem to notice that Marilynn had been talking about her. Poor girl.
It wasn’t long before we reached room 145, Mrs. Almelo’s room. Marilynn looked at me and sighed. “Well, have fun. See you later!” She flashed a bright smile before turning towards the sea of people and disappearing. I was officially alone.
I sighed loudly before opening the door and stepping inside. Breathe, Bridget, breathe, you’re gonna be okay. Take it one step at a time.
There were two other people in the room, the teacher and a tall boy, with light brown hair that flopped into his face, were there. He had freckles dotting his face and light blue eyes that sparkled even under the fluorescents.
“Ah, a new student!” a voice exclaimed from the left side of the room. It came from a small woman with frizzy hair that was the color of autumn leaves. Her face was thin and bony, and her lips were lifted into an excited smile.
“Yah, I’m Bridget Waters.” I stole a second look at the boy, but he was playing with his pencil and humming. I wondered if he heard me, but I wasn’t about to ask.
“Oh, Bridget! That is a name one doesn’t hear often. Well, there are no assigned seats in this class, and there are plenty of extra places, so just sit wherever you’d like.” I turned to face the room, which had about thirteen or fourteen kids in it now. A gaggle of cheerleaders, dressed in their pleated skirts and high ponytails with white bows, cackled as they sat in a group by the door. Three boys with their pants sagging by their knees were debating something and pushing each other around. The girl from the hallway, Camille, sat with another girl, one who looked about as shy as a turtle. The boy with the freckles sat alone still, hands resting against the table as he tapped his pencil. I walked up to the empty stool next to him and smiled shyly.
“Hi. Um, do you mind if I sit here?”
“Um… Well, I-”
“Oh, I get it. Sorry.” I whirled around and smacked into a tall girl with hair down to her waist.
“Ugh! Watch where you’re going!” She walked past me, huffing, as she flopped down next to the boy and began to gossip. He didn’t seem to care, he just continued to tap his pencil on the table. I shook it off and sat down in an empty stool next to an empty stool. There was a girl sitting in the next seat was average sized, not skinny but normal, healthy. She had a long, black braid that hung over her shoulder and down her left side. She had a notebook laying in front of her, and she was scribbling words onto it vigorously. I decided to give this another shot.
“Hi, I’m Bridget.”
“Kelli.” She didn’t even look up from her notebook.
“Cool. So how old are you?”
“Oh, me too.”
During the class, Ms. Almelo taught us about abstract art and artists. I was so happy when the bell rang because she hadn’t introduced me to the class. I picked up my notebook and began to slip out when Ms. Almelo exploded, “Wait!” Everyone looked at her, surprised. “I completely forgot to mention that we have a new student! Everyone, this is Bridget Waters!” She took my shoulders and forced me to stand up straight. “I know you will all be nice to her and make her feel welcome here. Now, have a good day!” I blushed. Why would she do that? I am a shy, quiet person by nature. Because of this, the rest of the day was going to be hell.
“Bridget!” a voice called from behind me. I whirled around to see the brown-haired, freckled boy coming towards me. “Bridget, wait up!” I moved out of the way of the oncoming traffic and watched him push through the crowd of teenagers. When he reached me, he looked winded. “Hey, look, I’m sorry about earlier today. The girl you ran into? She is my girlfriend and she always sits next to me in class if there are no assigned seats. I would have let you sit there, but Deidra wouldn’t have. So, I just wanted to apologize.” He smiled and held out his right hand. “I’m Gavin, by the way. Gavin Hutchison.”
“Yah, I know.” He chuckled. “Where are you heading?”
“Oh, me too. Here, why don’t we walk together. I have to stop off at my locker real quick, so come on.” He and I walked towards the East Wing, where his locker was as well as the science classrooms. He flipped the dial around before pulling the switch and letting the locker door fly open. I noticed that his locker was out of sorts, but not disastrous. A few papers were strewn out on the bottom, and the books were stacked haphazardly, but all of the spines were visible so one could see what subjects the books were for. A few binders were piled up in the back, and a Texas Instruments calculator was thrown to the side. Gavin picked up a binder and a book, then looked at me. “Ready?” I nodded.