Choosing Sides

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Mom was weeping in the corner of my room. I could hear her soft cries and her prayers to God. I didn’t understand why she had to act like this. It was my life, my decisions, my destiny. She was asking God to help me change my mind, to help me live.



I was diagnosed lung cancer two years ago and ever since, my mom had always tried to encourage me to live. But I payed no attention to her. It seemed selfish of my part to waste healthy organs instead of giving them to someone who could live. I had enjoyed life to the fullest and getting diagnosed with cancer was a sign from God that I had had my share of fun.


Dr. Hobbs came in the air conditioned room with his white coat that had Dr. Max Hobbs on it and a stethoscope. This was his fifth time he came and checked on me. He wanted to be sure that I hadn’t changed my mind. “Still the same?” his deep voice asked me. I took a deep breath from the plastic air mask, “Yes.” I responded. Mom let out a bigger cry. This was getting on my nerves. Lucas was punching the buttons of his PS3 and looked up for the first time. “Mom, stop it. Let Annie live her life.” came out from my brother’s mouth and shocked me. Suddenly everything was quiet and the only thing you could hear was the heavy breathing of mine. Lucas’s eyes met with mine and I winked at him, he winked back.

There was a knock on my door. Mom was still sobbing on the velvet couch and Lucas was clicking those addicting buttons. “Ma, can you please open the door?” I asked her. Her response was off topic, “‘Dammit Annie, just don’t do it. Please? For your Ma? Don’t kill yourself.’ Her voice breaking apart. ‘Please...’” Tears were traveling down my face, Ma had never said something nice to me. “Ma, it’s okay. I’m going to be with Pops up there in Heaven.” I said, while she let a smile run across her face. Whenever I mentioned Pops she would smile, no matter how bad the situation was. She got up and twisted the gold knob. Light footsteps journeyed to the edge of my bed. I could see Jake with a bouquet of pink flowers and a “I love you” balloon. He was wearing black. Black shoes, pants, shirt and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was wearing a black underwear, too. “C’mon Jake, it’s not a funeral.” I criticized his clothing. “You don’t get it do you? This day will be forever marked in my heart. The day that the love of my life decided to take her life away.” He replied to my comment. I blew him a kiss. Those seven months with him were glorious. He knew how to make me laugh when I wasn’t having my best day. When to hug me when I felt sick. When to kiss me because I was saying too much.



At first, I never thought someone like him, popular and friendly with everybody, would be attracted to someone like me, nerdy and shy. His personality didn’t match with mine. We were like fire and ice. Like morning and night. Like oil and vinegar.


When I arrived at Arroyo High School, Jake made me feel like I was back home in Tennessee. As soon as I laid my eyes on him, I fell for him. Whenever my eyes met his honey brown eyes I would get lost in them. His hot body drove me crazy. Those perfectly toned abs along with his heavy duty muscles made me stare. Jake was flawless. When he asked me out I thought it was a dare. Why would Jake choose me over all those other pretty girls that drooled for him? I started laughing nervously until I noticed he was serious, dead serious. His reaction was to stare at his feet and then I knew I had hurt his feelings. I took my hand and lifted his chin, his eyes looked at mine. I nodded and said yes.


“Her eyes, her eyes make the stars look like they’re not shining. Her hair, her hair falls perfectly without her trying. She’s so beautiful and I tell her every time.” Bruno Mars sang while I tapped my foot against the plastic edge of my bed. A vague image of a person was forming at the foot of my bed made out of a mysterious mist. I looked like a woman because the image had a purse to it, but in a matter of seconds that accessory turned into a luggage. It was Pops. He was carrying a bag and had a hat on. What he was wearing in his funeral. “Pops” I gasped. God was sending Pops to take me to Heaven. My eyes closed and the machine next to me started beeping.


Moms screamed and cried at the same time. I could hear her fast footsteps trying to make their way to the door and scream for help. Dr. Hobbs rushed in with a nurse and started administrating medicines to regulate my pressure. Dr. Hobbs told my mom the news she anticipated anxiously, “She’s ready.” My eyes opened closely and I felt mom’s warm hand against mine. A tear dropped on my hand and I lifted my head so that I could see her for the last time. I mouthed her, “I love you and thank you for everything.” Her mascara was now running off and she had spots of black on her shirt. I turned over to look at my brother. The one who I had argued a bunch of times but forgave him, the one who stood up for me when the rest of the world was against me, the one who defended me from the bad. The look on his eyes convinced me that he was going to miss me as much as I was going to. I gave him the “Me too.” look and signaled him to come closer. Slowly, he came up to me. I got his hand and put it on mine. I handed him my car keys and watched as his radiant smile came across his face. He had always wanted to drive my car and we would always argue about it. But now, I thought, it was time to give in. As I was getting ready to leave for the operation, Jake came up to me and kissed me. When his lips touched mine, I forgot about everything. The pain, the sadness, the happiness, leaving. He smelt like Axe deodorant.


“Mom, I’m going to miss you so much. And I will never know how to express how grateful I am with God for letting me have a mom like you. I love you.” I choked on my words as I was addressing my last words to my mother. She said, “Annie, even though you are not going to be here, on Earth, with us, you will always be a part of my heart. I thank God for giving me a daughter just like you. And believe it or not, I think you are doing the correct thing.” Now, one of the last image of my mom was becoming fuzzy by the water welled up around the corner of my eye. “I feel good.” I responded, a profound relief. Something I hadn’t felt in a long time. A tear ran down my face as I waved my final goodbye’s and I love you’s to all of those people in the room. The only ones who loved me for who I was.


I am on the edge, the edge of glory. On the edge of coming home. I thought.





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