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Spring
I felt like my stomach was eating itself: sitting there staring at the pile of food that I was not allowed to touch. A girl groaned quietly and wrapped her arm around her waist beside me. All I could imagine was how good that chocolate pudding would taste. That was when Kevin saved us all from our misery. “We are at hour twenty, the famine is almost over. Come here,” he comforted and we followed him from the room. “My stomach hurts,” someone complained to him. He turned and smiled sympathetically at him. “I know, but it is for a good cause,” he reminded the wining boy and turned to smile at me. I was standing to his right and he reached out to pull me to his side for a hug. It was a very comforting hug; I felt like I was hugging a giant teddy bear. He laughed and continued talking to the other kids but still hugging me to his side. I knew he was suffering every bit as much as I was; I didn’t complain about my stomach again.

Winter
I was sitting at the computer with my knees pulled to my chest staring at the computer screen. I was responding to a comment someone had left on one of my online pictures. I heard a creek in the floor as someone walked around the corner into the room. My dad walked in and said, “Katie, I need to tell you something.” I looked away from the screen reluctantly. “What?” I responded harshly. My dad’s eyes were rimmed with red. I stood up automatically and walked towards him. “Kevin is sick,” he explained quickly. “What are you talking about?” I asked; my voice broke during the question. “He has cancer. He is very, very sick. It does not look good,” he explained further, not looking at my face. I still didn’t understand what he meant. Kevin didn’t get sick. He was indestructible. “I’m so sorry, Katie.”

Spring
I pushed the heavy door out of my way and stepped through into the waiting room. The smell of medical supplies and illness overwhelmed my nose. I ignored the man I saw in a wheelchair. I ignored the woman I saw walking, dragging an IV alongside her. I walked around the corner and looked straight ahead. I didn’t look in any of the rooms. I found his room and turned in with my brother and dad a few feet behind me. I skidded to a halt in the doorway. Kevin was lying in a bed. He didn’t look like Kevin. He was Kevin. But his skin was not right. He was staring up at the ceiling, unaware of our entrance. I walked forward again towards his bed. I didn’t know if I should touch him. I didn’t know if I should breathe on him. My teddy bear looked weak, for the first time. He turned to look at me and smiled. It was the one part of him that I recognized. “Hi, Kevin,” I said and my voice shook. He continued to smile at me, but didn’t say anything. My dad and brother seemed more comfortable around him. They talked to him casually about our life and what we were up to. I didn’t say anything, I just watched him. When it was time to leave, I leaned in to hug him and say goodbye and he surprised me by wrapping his arm around me. “I love you, Katie,” he said quietly. I could barely speak, but I choked out, “I love you, too, Kevin.”

Summer
I was lying on the floor of my parents’ bedroom. It was too hot to sleep in my bed with no air conditioning. I threw my blanket off of me in frustration. I stared up at the ceiling and ignored the buzzing next to my ear. Eventually the buzz was too long. I picked up my phone and looked at the screen. My youth minister was calling me. I clicked answer and sat up on my makeshift bed: a quilt, pillow, and blanket. “Hello,” I answered automatically. “Hi, Katie. I have some bad news. Kevin just died. It happened early this morning.” I couldn’t breathe. It caught in my throat. I felt like I was choking. “Katie, are you okay?” I inhaled sharply. “I’m fine.” I hung up and didn’t move. I dropped my phone on the bed and it continued buzz.





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