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Life is Hard.
My pulse was racing. My heart was pounding in my chest. I could feel the adrenaline streaming through my veins. But all I could see was blurs; blurs of my past. Some blurs were clearer than others. Like the one of my dad, suitcase in hand, getting in the taxi that would take him away from me forever. Then the picture of my only sister looking at me with her big, blue eyes when she was only a baby, laughing- the sound like the tinkling of bells. The next picture was of my old dog Shep that we had to put to sleep. The last picture was of my mom. I recognized the picture as the one of her in the hospital after she got her appendix removed. But suddenly, it wasn’t mom lying on the hospital bed- it was me. And I was hooked to tubes, my body crumpling before my eyes. My skin stretched across my cheekbones. My usually thick blonde hair was suddenly weak and flat. I was too skinny to be healthy, and I could see my ribs sticking out of my skin. I am dying of that retched cancer- leukemia.
I screamed and shot straight up in my bed. I felt my face, my hands, and my ribs then sighed in relief. It was just a dream. I lay back on the bed and huffed. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I tried to think through my sleepy haze.
“Stephanie, are you okay?” my mom said before she even opened the door. She ran to my bed and kneeled on the floor. She checked my pulse and felt my forehead. “Are you okay, honey?”
I looked into her panicked green eyes. “Ya, mom, I’m fine. I just had a bad dream.”
“You wanna tell me about it?”
I didn’t want to upset my mom. She was so worried about me ever since I was diagnosed. “It was just about Shep.”
“Oh, baby, it’s okay. Just calm down you’re heart. Do you want me to get you some tea or hot chocolate?”
“No thanks, you just go to bed, I’ll be fine.”
She looked at me with pity etched on her every feature. She kissed my forehead and walked out of the room.
I sighed. Life is too hard now. Mom has to work two jobs to pay for my chemotherapy sessions. Hailey is barely even part of the family anymore now that I am the focus. She doesn’t complain, because she loves me. But I know the truth. I’m ruining everyone’s lives.
I was 14 when my doctor told me I was a victim of cancer. I’m 15 now and being a victim doesn’t even cover the amount of pain I’ve gone through in the last month. Mom makes me wear my itchy blonde wig, everyday. She’s probably embarrassed for me.
I couldn’t go to sleep again that night. The dreams haunted me every time I closed my eyes. Somehow, the sun still rises. I don’t understand why. Sometimes it’s like the whole world is mourning over something. But it’s another day to live. It’s time to get my butt off the bed and live it.
School is hard. It never seems to get easier. When you live in such a little town, every soul knows about you’re every move. I’m just a piece of gossip. People look at me as if I am already dead. It’s like I can hear them say, “Well, there goes the girl who’s gonna die anyway.”
I made it through another day. Today was fairly good. Only a couple kids looked at me with sympathy. But good days can only last for so long. The rain was bound to fall in this small town in Washington.
The bus ride home was bumpy and loud. The little eight year old boy sitting next to me kept scooting away from me. I was confused for a moment until I realized he probably thought cancer was contagious.
I was careful to never let tears fall in public. People would just ask questions. Besides, why would I want to lose any more dignity then I already had. So I saved the tears for my bedspread. The stains of endless loneliness were sketched into the plaid print as if they were meant to be there.
Hailey sat behind me on the bus telling me about her day. She was the only one who pretended like nothing changed. I would owe her my sanity for the rest of my days.
The bus stopped and Hailey and I got off. We walked in our little apartment building and went up the stairs to our little apartment. I got myself a bowl of cereal and sat on the couch. Hailey grabbed the remote and flipped through the channels, not really paying attention.
Hailey asked me about homework and school stuff. I answered without much enthusiasm. But Hailey is my ray of sunshine, she is always positive.
I finished my cereal and put my bowl away. I was about to go to my room when the phone rang. I answered it.
“Hello. This is Stephanie.”
“Hi, Steph, it’s your dad.” A familiar voice answered.
“Oh, hi dad.”
“Hey babe. How was you’re day?”
“Fine. It rained, not that it’s anything surprising.”
“Oh, that’s good. Is you’re mom there?” he said absently.
“Oh, can you tell her I called?”
“Sure. Hey dad could you-“
“Sorry honey I have to go. Business meeting. Love you. Bye.” The line went dead.
I stood there holding the phone up to my ear for a long time. Hailey got worried.
“Steph, you ok?”
“Ya. That was dad. He hung up on me again.”
She sighed. “I’m sorry.”
“Ya, me too.”
I hung up the phone and walked slowly to my room. I sat on my bed and let the tears fall. This was my routine. Watch TV. Eat a light snack. Then cry in my room.
Life is too hard.