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When your 16 years old, you should have a happy, care-free life. You should have two parents that love you, no matter what you say or do. If you have siblings, you should most likely fight occasionally, but then get along for the rest of the time. And you should most likely be able to drive. Well, that is the complete opposite of my life. (Except the driving. Of course I can drive.)
My life is officially horrible; you could call it a living nightmare. Here it is in a nutshell. My brother Reid is 26, is about six feet tall, and is horrible at about any sport you can think of, but is one of the smartest people I know. He left for college when he was 18. After four years of under grad, he is now on his third year of medical school studying to become a surgeon. My 22 year old sister Abbey, I think her name should be “Revolver”, (Beatles Pun!) and has been nastier towards me and my brother then the Swiss cheese we ate that rotted in the cooler while we were in Florida three years ago. She has completely lost touch with our family, pretty much since she left home the day of her high school graduation when she went away to a hotel room to do, well you know, with her boy friend. I hate her boyfriend. He’s a jerk; he hits me if I do something that he thinks is unfeminine. It’s not my fault that I’m not a stuck up female poodle like my sister! In high school, she was the one sending the gross pictures of herself on her cell phone and on her e-mail and IM to her boyfriend and all of his buddies, not me! I don’t even have a boyfriend! (I’m not saying I don’t want one though. And I’m not a lesbian either! No offense to any of them though.) She is as far away from our family as the planet Pluto. Not Mickey Mouse’s dog. She doesn’t even come home on holidays like Reid. Well enough about Abbey, my dad on the other hand is the Chief surgeon at Windy City Memorial Hospital here in Chicago. That is, until he was diagnosed with cancer in his liver on January fifth 2009, caused by the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages since my mom’s death in 2000 on the same day as his diagnosis, this also happens to be my sixteenth birthday. Since then, he has stepped down and handed his position over to his assistant Doctor Curtis Reems. She is one of the best surgeons in that hospital! She removed my appendix when I was five because my dad was forced to wait in the waiting room with the rest of my family. Hospital regulations I guess. So that’s my family. My life, well that is just one big, long, and tragic to me, story. So… here goes nothing.
I was born to two loving parents, Aaron and Haley McCarty, on January 5, 1993 at 10:51 am and 42 seconds to be exact. They already had a son that was 10 and a daughter who was 6, but they were only 28 years old; so they were fairly young in my mind. My parents both worked all day, so for a while, especially over the summer, Reid would watch me. We would watch television, like his shows, Everybody Hates Chris, George Lopez, and Full House those kinda shows. Not exactly the shows a 6 month old would really watch or under stand, but they always made me giggle, because of how all of the people moved across the screen. I always wanted to know where they went after they would walk off the view of the camera, so I would scan the room with my eyes, trying to find the characters in our living room. But when I was six years old, on my birthday actually, my mom and brother got into a car accident at 10:51 am and 42 seconds (Boy, how ironic?! Same time I was born!), leaving my brother with two broken ribs and a series of cuts along the left side of his face, that are now scars; some deep, some shallow, some blue, some purple, and some flesh colored. But this crash had a different outcome for my mom; she died on the impact of the crash. I remember we spent my birthday in the surgical waiting room, waiting to hear from Dr. Reems about Reid’s surgery to repair the broken ribs; while my dad was in the hospital’s morgue, identifying my mom. Doctor Leslie Kerns, who is one of my dad’s friends, took me to a Chinese restaurant across from the hospital. She bought me dinner then took me to the Water Tower mall to pick out something. She had promised to take me shopping for my birthday. I got a big bag of candy and a new shirt with the phrase “Imagine” with a picture of John Lennon. I still have that t-shirt. I turned it into a pillow a few years ago. It’s on my bed and it kind of serves as a decoration in my room. As I got older, I became interested in the competitive world of All Star Cheerleading. I started cheering at age seven, and instantly fell in love with it. I made a lot of friends, my best friend Izabelle, Izzi as we call her, is one of my fellow fliers and we hang out all the time. Her mom is Dr. Reems. So I practically live at her house. Reid started dating her sister Lilah in the 7th grade. So I would always come over with him to hang out with Izzi. By age eight, Reid had left for college, and I was alone at home a lot with the queen of the idiots, Abbey. I hate her so much! She treated me like her slave for four years until she left for college! That was like a death sentence for me! At age 12, I was a wreck; I had chopped my wavy, chocolate brown hair into a short pixie cut, and quit cheering until my 13th birthday. I was so depressed, I wouldn’t leave the house. It was so bad, Reid came home, took his college classes online, and homeschooled me all day. I completely lost touch with reality. The next year, the depression had gotten a tad bit better, and I returned to my Chicago public school, returned to my cheerleading squad, my hair waved down to my shoulders, but I was still depressed. The next couple of years were the same. At age 14, I had the highest grades in my eighth grade class, like my brother. At age fifteen, got my learner’s permit, then on my sixteenth birthday, got my Porche and driver’s license. But my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I knew that life would change as I knew it. But I didn’t know it would be this drastic.
In the last ten months, I haven’t been home enough to play much guitar, or bass, but I bring it to the hospital and practice while my dad is doing treatments, but I can’t play with my George Harrison, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney styled riffs; especially “Revolution” they say that they are ‘too loud’ and ‘disturbing the other patients’. I personally thought that all of the other patients seemed to like my guitar playing genius! (Not to mention my singing.) I’m at the hospital with my dad from 4:00 when I get there after school, until 10:00 pm when all of my dad’s treatments are over. I can watch Criminal Minds and The Big Bang Theory while I’m there! It kills me! I have to go to cheerleading on Tuesday nights and that is practically the only thing I do for myself the whole week.
Two weeks ago, I was waiting for my dad to get done with his treatments, when his doctor, Robert Yale, called me into his office.
“Jasper,” he said. “I think I have some bad news.”
Since when has my life turned into a bad episode of Grey’s Anatomy?
“What do you mean?” I asked. Suddenly worried.
“I’m afraid that your dad’s cancer is more serious then we thought. The cancer is spreading to other organs in his body, and the treatments aren’t exactly helping in the way we were expecting. I’m sorry, but I think we’ve done everything we can possibly do, your dad doesn’t have much time left.” Dr. Yale explained. Why does this have to happen to me?!
“Oh,” I said, I felt like I would burst into tears. But I’m tough. I’ve endured a lot of pain, but never this much. “How much time are we talking?” I asked curiously.
“I’m going to give him until the end of this year. I’m sorry Jasper I really am. Your dad is one of the best doctors to ever walk the halls of this hospital. He is one of my good friends. I’m going to miss him too. Is there someone you can live with when that day comes? A mother perhaps?” I forgot that he wasn’t around the hospital when my mom died. I thought everyone in the Windy City knew she was dead! Well, that just made me feel worse!
“My older brother is my legal guardian.” I mumbled. I didn’t want get onto the subject of my mom just yet.
“Oh, alright.” The doctor patted me on the shoulder, the way he always did to the grieving cancer families. That means, something bad is going to happen.
Two months later.
My dad has landed himself in the hospital, he couldn’t breathe last night. I called Reid and Abbey. Reid’s here already; Abbey is over an hour away. It’s 9:30 pm. Dr. Yale thinks my dad is going to kick the bucket fairly soon. In the next couple weeks he presumes. Boy, am I not looking forward to that day. I’ve been playing my Beatles songs on my iPod dock for my dad in his room the past couple of days. He thinks that it feels more like home if John, Paul, George, and Ringo are in the room with him when he passes on. So my iPod is set to repeat on my playlist titled “The Beatles.” It’s January fourth. I’m guessing that tonight will be the last time I will get to see my dad alive.
It’s 10:45 am, January fifth. I’m officially seventeen years old in six minutes and 42 seconds. My dad’s heartbeat is slowing down. When he flat lines, I’ll be in Reid’s arms, like I am now. Abbey is in the hallway. She can’t stand to be in the room. I’m sitting between Dr. Reems and Reid; Dr. Reems is holding my left hand. Reid’s arms feel like toothpicks. And Dr. Reem’s hands are kind of cold. He obviously doesn’t work out like one of my friends. When I told him I wouldn’t be at school for the next couple of weeks, he hugged me and told me that everything was gonna be all right. Muscular guys give the best hugs! He’s been texting me all day. And said he would drop by with a present for me later today. Its 10:48 am, the line that measures his heartbeat is dropping even lower now. “Yesterday” is just ending on my iPod, and slurring into “Let It Be.” His pulse is almost too flat lining, its 10:49 am, 10:50, 10:51 and 42 seconds, the shrill beep of the flat line fills the room with grief, sadness, and pain. I cry into Reid’s shoulder. He‘s crying too. The not so silent tears of the not so manly Reid come crashing down into my hair. My black mascara is starting to stain Reid’s white cotton shirt. This is definitely the worst day of my life.
A week later we had the funeral. All of my dad’s colleagues, friends, classmates, family members, everyone’s here. My black dress with the tiny white polka dots and the lime green sash stained with tears. Pictures of our family are all around the sanctuary of the church. Reid, in his onyx black suit, was talking to some of my dad’s old friends with his girlfriend Lilah. Reid had been crying earlier. Abbey on the other hand was outside, smoking a cigarette. She knows what it will do to her, but she obviously doesn’t care. My dad is in his casket. It’s made of Cherry and polished with a mahogany finish. The inside is finished off with white satin. Izzi is here with her mom, and brother, Spencer. Spencer is about a year older then me and Izzi, he always acts like he likes me. He’s always flirting with me and that kind of stuff. You know, that teenage boys do. And actually, I kind of like him too. During the funeral service, I sat with Reid, Lilah, Abbey, Abby’s boyfriend, Dr. Reems, Spencer, Izzi, and all of the other doctors. Afterwards, we went back to my dad’s estate that now belongs to Reid and his girlfriend Lilah. I personally think that there is going to be a wedding soon. I won’t tell him that though. Dr. Reems was talking to my brother until 3:00 in the morning about a new surgical position at Windy City Memorial Hospital as her assistant. So Izzi spent the night in my room, and Spencer slept on the Living room couch. So, because we get to stay in Chicago, and I’m living in the same house, life may not be so bad, there will still be the fight of being orphaned, but I have Reid to back me up. So instead of having the two parents that love their now 17 year old daughter, she has a now 27 year old brother and his girlfriend to take care of her instead.