It Just Happened | Teen Ink

It Just Happened

August 21, 2009
By Anonymous

The date was April second. April second was the day her life changed. April second was the day my life changed. She found out she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.



The first day of my junior year of high school I had AP Chemistry first and second period. All I could think when I walked into the lab was how am I going to stay awake? I saw the teacher standing by the door and walked over to her.
“Name?” She asked with an annoyed tone.
“James.” I said.
“James do you have a last name?”
“Bond.”
“I’m not kidding. Give me your last name.”
“I’m not kidding. My name is James Bond and it should be the second or third from the top.”
It took her a moment to check the list and check off my name. She then told me, “See the girl with the blonde hair? That’s your lab partner for the rest of the year. No substitutions or swaps.”
“Alrighty.” I said and sulked off to meet my lab partner for the rest of the year, no substitutions or swaps. I sat down next to my new lab partner.
“Hi, I guess you’re my lab partner for the rest of the year, no substitutions or swaps.” She said with a smile.
“Hi. My name’s James, James Bond.”
“Your name is James Bond?” She asked with disbelief.
“Yes. My parents are huge James Bond fans and my father’s surname just so happened to be Bond. They where enthralled when they found out they were going to have a baby boy.”
She smiled and laughed. “Well my name’s Emma Craig. I moved here from Bath, England a few weeks ago. I came from a public school in Bath and I have no clue if I’m going to be able to keep up.”
“Well Emma, if you ever need help you know where to find me.” We both smiled and began to listen to the lecture.

When Mrs. Bingham finally let us loose with the Brunson burners and extremely dangerous chemicals it was chaos. The table next to us managed to melt the glass beaker spilling all of the contents onto the table leaving a small cat sized hole in the lab table. The table behind us exploded the contents of their beaker every where burning multiple innocent bystanders. We weren’t doing to well ourselves.

Emma had beautiful long blonde hair and she forgot to tie it back before we started. About five minutes into our experiment I looked over and her hair was sizzling and smoking. The smell of her burning hair was overwhelming.
“Emma.” I said.
“What?!” She cried. We were both becoming flustered with the assignment.
“Emma!”
“What! James?”
“Your hair!”
“My hair? Oh God.” She sprayed her hair down with the water that was sitting on our lab table for events such as this.
“Miss. Craig, I see that you did not follow one of my rules. Do you know what the penalty is for not following my rules?”
“Yes, Mrs. Bingham.” Emma said. People all around Emma and I began to snicker.
“And what would that be?” She asked Emma a cruel smile beginning to form on her face.
“I am banned from the lab for the rest of the semester.” I couldn’t let Emma fail.
“Mrs. Bingham, I distracted Emma and she forgot to pull her hair back.” I told Mrs. Bingham.
“Alright, Mr. Bond, detention for a month, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I‘ll be seeing you after school today to start your detentions.” She told me.
“Yes, Mrs. Bingham.”
“Oh, Emma, next time, I will kick you out of my class.” She chastised Emma and returned to the front of the room.
When Mrs. Bingham’s back was turned Emma whispered to me. “You didn’t need to do that. It was all my fault. I’m lucky I didn’t loose all of my hair. It’s actually a good thing that this happened. I’ve been meaning to get my hair cut short for such a long time. This was the extra push I needed.” She told me in a rush of words. I had a hard time following her.
“Well if it counts, I like your hair long.” I told Emma. I hoped I hadn’t freaked her out. I’d only known her for an hour and a half and I was already giving her creepy complements.
“Thanks, I’ll take that into consideration.” She smiled and returned to her lab report.

The bell rang a half an hour later and we packed up. I walked her to her locker. I watched her try to pull her books off the top shelf of her locker. She was up on her tip-toes. I reached up to help her and everything on the top shelf fell to the floor. I quickly stooped to the ground and started to collect her things.
“Calm down. I’m perfectly able bodied and capable of picking up my own books.” She laughed and took her pink notebook from me. She came a step closer, her hair brushed against my cheek, and she whispered in my ear ‘thank you’ and hurried off to her next class.

I was stunned and shocked. My heart pounded. My palms began to sweat and the bell rang. I was late for the third class of my junior year.




I couldn’t believe that I could have so much homework the first day of school. It was crazy. I slowly walked back to my locker and dumped what I needed to bring home into my backpack.

There was no need to hurry, I wasn’t going any where any time soon. I could sense that somebody was behind me. I turned around to see Emma’s beautiful smile and golden hair.
“I just wanted to thank you again for covering for me in chem. class today. Before you go report to detention, I owe you big time.” She smiled, kissed me on the cheek, and went to her locker to get ready to go home. I was beginning to wonder if Emma had this affect on all guys or if it was just me.

The next morning I couldn’t get to chem. class quick enough. Emma walked in ten minutes later with her hair pulled back into a low pony tail with a ribbon. It was almost like she was mocking Mrs. Bingham. She sat down next to me, my non-substitutable or swappable lab partner. I could never imagine substituting or swapping Emma for another partner. I hoped she felt the same way.
“I see you remembered to tie your hair back.” I said, half laughing.
“Yes I did.” She smiled.
“Your hair looks nice today.” I told her.
“Thank you James.” She said to me and began to work on our newest lab assignment.

Three broken beakers and two hours later we had successfully completed the experiment and lab papers. Mrs. Bingham came around to our table and looked impressed. She passed by without saying a word. Emma and I hi fived when she was over critiquing some other kid’s experiment.



This little ritual of chem. class went on for months. After I finished my detentions I’d go over to her house and we would study. Her mom would make dinner and ask the both of us how our days went. It was the same old answer every day.



One day Emma was showing me this amazing pianist on Youtube and we eventually ended up on his Myspace. We scrolled down through his comments and saw this Chris Townsend kid. Emma clicked on his name and it brought us to his page. The first song on his play list off of his CD was Stay Positive. We listened to it for a bit. The song was amazing and beautiful.

Emma turned to me and said that this would be our song. She also told me that every time we heard this song we would think of each other. How could I disagree with her?



The last week of Christmas vacation I finally worked up enough courage to formally ask Emma out. We had gone to many movies and the Christmas Dance together just as very good friends. We weren’t officially “going out” yet. We were sitting in her room reviewing for mid-terms.
“Emma.” I called over to her.
“Yes, James?”
“I was wondering if you would like to go ice skating with me tonight.”
“Like a date?” She asked turning around in her desk chair to face me.
“Yes.”
“I’d love to.” She smiled and came over to me and kissed me on the lips.

There was an out door ice rink set up for the weekend at the museum in our town. I decided to take Emma there. Later that day I picked Emma up at her house. She came down the stairs in an adorable blue jacket and white knit scarf, hat, and gloves combo. We had a great time.



April first came and went without a glitch. The next day I got to chem. and Emma was not in her seat. I worried the whole entire day. After school I stopped by her house and rang the bell.

Emma answered the door and told me to come in. She took me up to her room and told me to sit down. I did what she said. She did not look like she wanted to be disobeyed.
“James, I went to the doctor today.” She told me, sitting down next to me.
“And?” I asked trying to prompt her.
“They found something strange in my blood work. Some thing not good. They say that I have Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. They need to do more blood work but-” I cut her off.
“You have cancer?” I asked.
Emma began to cry. “Yes, I have cancer.” She said matter of factly.
“You have cancer?” I said again.
“Yes, James I have cancer. There is noting I can do about it but accept the fact that I have cancer and start an extremely aggressive chemo. regimen and hope it works.”
“Are you going to loose your hair?” I asked her.
“Yeah. I guess I’m going to get that short hair cut that I’ve been wanting.” She laughed.
“Are you going to live?”
“They say I will since I caught it so soon. There is an 85% survival rate.”
“There is still 15%.”
“I know. I’m going to kick that 15% in the butt and make it wish it never thought of saying I was going to die.”
“Are you afraid?”
“I’m very scared. Are you afraid?”
“I think I’m even more scared then you.”

In the background I could hear our song playing, Stay Positive by Chris Townsend. At the same exact moment we looked at each other and said, ‘Stay positive’. That was the last time I saw Emma cry.



As the days rolled along Emma’s hair began to fall out. It started in small patches that she could easily hide by combing her hair differently. Eventually the bald patches became to noticeable and she got her head shaved.

One day after school Emma asked me to let her drive home. I had picked her up that morning and was going to drive her home so we could study but I was to smart to disagree. She had this determined look on her face and I wasn’t going to stop that.

We pulled up at the local barber shop and she said, “I’m tired of my hair, I’m getting it shaved off and you are going to stand there and help me get through it.” We walked into the barber shop and she told the man at the front desk, “I have cancer and my chemo, is making me go bald. I want you to shave my head.” The man at the front desk looked at her in utter disbelief. She was a paying customer and he couldn’t argue.

He walked her over to one of the chairs. He turned the electric razor on and began to shave what was left of Emma’s golden locks. When the man was done she looked at herself in the mirror, handed the man a twenty, and walked out of the shop.
I caught up with her at the car. “Do you want me to drive you home?” I asked.
“I think that would be a good idea.” We spent the car ride to her house in silence.

When we got back to her house she walked inside and her mother took one look at Emma’s nearly bald head and hugged her. Her mother did not cry, she only held on to Emma for as long as she possibly could before Emma broke away. Emma’s mother kissed her on the head and went back into the kitchen.



The next day when Emma and I walked into school jaws dropped. People finally realized what was going on with Emma Craig. They did not fully understand but they had a better idea now that Emma didn’t have hair anymore.

When we walked into chem. Emma walked over to Mrs. Bingham and just stared at her. Mrs. Bingham’s jaw dropped and she never gave Emma any more problems. Mrs. Bingham just looked at Emma with this pathetic look of sympathy and Emma hated that even more than her constant grief.



May came around and prom fever was in the air. Everybody was buzzing. I decided to ask Emma to prom.

I walk up to Emma’s locker at the end of the day as usual and pulled a single daffodil out of my backpack and asked her to prom. She smiled and kindly accepted the flower and my invitation.

May seventh came rolling around sooner than the both of us could imagine. I picked her up at her house. I watched her come down the stairs in a beautiful corn flower blue silk gown, we stood in front of the mantle in her living room for a quick photo opt, and then we were off to prom.

We danced. We talked to our friends. We ate and we had a good time. The last song of the night was our song. We looked at each other and I held her in my arms. I whispered in her ear, like she did to me so may days ago, but the words were different. I ‘love you’, I told her. She looked up at me and said ‘I love you too’ and rested her head back on my chest.



That summer her cancer took a turn for the worse. The doctors could not seem to get her into remission. She laid feebly in her hospital bed covered up to her neck in blankets. She was a feeble and tired version of the Emma I met so many months ago.



It was August second. I had just come back from eating in the cafeteria at the hospital. I sat down on her bed and kissed her head. She looked up at me and smiled.
Her smile was beautiful. She whispered to me, ‘I love you’. The monitors went dead. She was gone.


The author's comments:
This is the second piece I've written for this site. I don't think it flows as well as it should and the title is okay.

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This article has 1058 comments.


on Feb. 26 2010 at 3:11 pm
jbutterfly10 GOLD, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is a time for everything under the sun:~

haha anytime!!!! you really are a good writer, and im not just saying that. i seriously saw nothin wrong with the story. it really was amazing.

on Feb. 26 2010 at 1:26 pm
xLoVeLyCuTiEe428x PLATINUM, Nanuet, New York
24 articles 0 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To me, Fearless is not the absense of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."
— Taylor Swift

I just got an account and have been searching for all sorts of articles. I found this one and I just loved it. The only things that I have submitted are still being checked, but when my works do get published, I'll tell you. I'd love for you to read them.

KatAnne SILVER said...
on Feb. 26 2010 at 1:03 pm
KatAnne SILVER, Meadville, Pennsylvania
8 articles 1 photo 165 comments

Favorite Quote:
http://teenink.com/fiction/realistic_fiction/article/128063/Sweet-Sixteen/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/129766/It-Just-Happened/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/162872/Forbidden-Love-and-Great-Adventure-Part-One

Thank you so much! This really means a lot. I'm glad you read this.

on Feb. 26 2010 at 8:46 am
xLoVeLyCuTiEe428x PLATINUM, Nanuet, New York
24 articles 0 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
"To me, Fearless is not the absense of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."
— Taylor Swift

Wow. That was amazing. The words just fit together, and the story line was flawless. Keep on writing like this and you could become an author.

KatAnne SILVER said...
on Feb. 25 2010 at 8:59 pm
KatAnne SILVER, Meadville, Pennsylvania
8 articles 1 photo 165 comments

Favorite Quote:
http://teenink.com/fiction/realistic_fiction/article/128063/Sweet-Sixteen/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/129766/It-Just-Happened/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/162872/Forbidden-Love-and-Great-Adventure-Part-One

Thank you so much!!!! I really needed this. I really needed somebody with a good eye to sit down and dissect my writing. I'm glad you did so. I will take all of your criticisms and make this better. Thank you!!!!

on Feb. 25 2010 at 8:29 pm
Valtarov SILVER, Colorado Springs, Colorado
5 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
I said to the man at the gate, "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown." and he replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. That will to you be better than the light and safer than the Known."

Part 2:

In the scene where he finds out she has cancer, you have a bit of talking heads syndrome. Try to intersperse this with some narration or action. Is Emma scared? Describe it, show it. James should be scared but mostly angry (righteously). Have him start pacing, getting mad at the injustice, whatever. Show his feelings and their resultant actions.

I really like the haircut scene. I think you should go into more detail here, again describe the feelings of the characters as they watch the hair fall off. Is Emma calm and comported? Conflicted? How does James see the golden locks? Also, I think you might want to describe it in a way as foreshadowing once again her death (fire in the hair already did that once). Since her hair seems to be a positive symbol in the story (representing Emma's life, value, etc.), I think you should have him pick up a lock or two of her hair, and have him wear it over his heart or something like that. Or perhaps he simply picks one up, and keeps it to always remember her, or maybe they both tie a lock around matching rings, or some such thing. I think Emma's hair is such a strong symbol; it should hardly go to waste.

I would recommend splitting the prom part into two different scenes. In the first, have James ask Emma to prom. Describe how he feels when he sees her in her deteriorating state. Describe how he sees her, how he feels about her, how he feels about asking her (he is at least slightly nervous. All guys are). Describe how she says yes, how she views the daffodil, etc.

Since the scene at prom is the last one where we see her active and at least appearing well, I would go into great detail about the scene. Describe, in detail, the entire night. Use the symbols you've already constructed and go all out with them. What would be very cool in context is if she found and wore a gold-blond wig, just for him. Have wilting flowers, or something with the same connotation of beautiful dying. There's a thousand symbols; I'm sure you'll find a brilliant one.

My last piece of critique and advice: Really, really, really describe the scene where she dies. Your reader will be a lot more satisfied if you wrap it up. Describe the day, the hospital. Is it beautiful outside? What does it smell like? Are birds singing, or is it a dark and rainy day? How does James feel seeing her lying there, dying? Is she fighting, or slowly slipping away. Does she go gentle into that good night, or does she rage, rage against the dying of the light? Is he present when she dies, or is he out, just for a second, while she goes? Is he fighting, praying, or has he given up, and resigned himself to her death? When she dies, what does he feel? Anger and pain? Have him run out of the hospital into a rainy night, and have him cry in pain, wandering, until he sees the sun in the morning and feels her lock, still beautiful, over his heart. Is he in awe of the beautiful ending to a beautiful life, entrusting her to a joy beyond? The birds should be singing on a bright day, while he cries tears of grief but also of joy that she's going to a better place, and at a good end to a wonderful life. The ending scene should really wrap up the story; here, well , with your talents, I don't think anyone could help but cry.

on Feb. 25 2010 at 8:29 pm
Valtarov SILVER, Colorado Springs, Colorado
5 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
I said to the man at the gate, "Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown." and he replied, "Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. That will to you be better than the light and safer than the Known."

Wow. Good heavens, you can write!

That was a very, very, very good story. I really liked your premise and your portrayals.

I've written the following critique, not because I hate the story but rather because I think on the story level it is on the level of some of the famous short stories I have read. The storytelling is where they differ; and I have thus endeavored to help make the story the best it can be, as it is truly beautiful.

Part 1 (It won't let me post it all in one comment).

While I do understand what you're trying to do with the repetition of non-swappable lab partners and all that, it does get a bit old reading it the fifth time over. I'd suggest toning it down just a little bit.

I really like it that you had the name be James Bond. So very creative. I was expecting you to use this later on in the story, but his name never really mattered. I'd suggest having a scene where his name is somewhat important, or funny, or ironic, or symbolic. That would be very, very cool. I think you could emphasize the irony of the fact that, though he's James Bond who can do a whole lot of crazy awesome stuff, he can't save that which matters most to him.

I think this might work better with scene breaks. You have a whole lot of time gaps, and really are displaying a series of scenes. It would be very interesting if you made this a series of scenes i.e. have a break after the first day, go to the scene when they find the "Stay Positive" song (and make it a full scene; it has so much potential), and in there mention the growth of the friendship since day one of school. Also, this is such an important scene. Show the story in its entirety. Describe how they feel as they listen to the song, show the actual dialogue.

I think you should in any case (This would make a brilliant third scene if you go with scene breaks.) show within the story the ice-skating date instead of just describing it. Perhaps include the backstory of them becoming more than friends here.

KatAnne SILVER said...
on Feb. 25 2010 at 4:12 pm
KatAnne SILVER, Meadville, Pennsylvania
8 articles 1 photo 165 comments

Favorite Quote:
http://teenink.com/fiction/realistic_fiction/article/128063/Sweet-Sixteen/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/129766/It-Just-Happened/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/162872/Forbidden-Love-and-Great-Adventure-Part-One

Thanks. :)

on Feb. 25 2010 at 6:00 am
jbutterfly10 GOLD, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is a time for everything under the sun:~

Hahaha yeahhh. but seriously, that was really good and it made me cry, which isnt easy to do:}

KatAnne SILVER said...
on Feb. 24 2010 at 7:27 pm
KatAnne SILVER, Meadville, Pennsylvania
8 articles 1 photo 165 comments

Favorite Quote:
http://teenink.com/fiction/realistic_fiction/article/128063/Sweet-Sixteen/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/129766/It-Just-Happened/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/162872/Forbidden-Love-and-Great-Adventure-Part-One

Haha. Aren't we all? :)

on Feb. 24 2010 at 5:56 pm
jbutterfly10 GOLD, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
There is a time for everything under the sun:~

Ok, that was a really good story. i'm a sucker for romance:))))

KatAnne SILVER said...
on Feb. 18 2010 at 2:20 pm
KatAnne SILVER, Meadville, Pennsylvania
8 articles 1 photo 165 comments

Favorite Quote:
http://teenink.com/fiction/realistic_fiction/article/128063/Sweet-Sixteen/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/129766/It-Just-Happened/
http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/162872/Forbidden-Love-and-Great-Adventure-Part-One

Thanks. I'm glad you liked this story.

on Feb. 17 2010 at 9:21 pm
SwordGirl SILVER, Apex, North Carolina
8 articles 0 photos 68 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

-- Winston Chuchill

Amazing. really, really amazing.

betheldude said...
on Feb. 16 2010 at 10:53 pm
I really like your story. I felt a strong emotion when I got towards the end. Good job and keep it up.

on Feb. 14 2010 at 6:48 pm
andshesfearless GOLD, West Harrison, New York
10 articles 1 photo 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
-jimi hendrix-

wooah i like this

maki:p GOLD said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 8:22 pm
maki:p GOLD, Rocklin, California
17 articles 1 photo 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only journey is the one within" and "You can't help anyone who doesn't want to be helped."

That as an amazing piece and i enjoyed that there was an aura of relaity on it although that made it even more sad.

twiwrite GOLD said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 2:23 pm
twiwrite GOLD, Modesto, California
14 articles 0 photos 111 comments

Favorite Quote:
none :P

ooh. make me wanna cry. :')

Little Red said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 12:50 pm
It was a good but sad story. I loved how the author kept me wanting to know what was going on and how he/she kept me wanted more of the story.

on Feb. 11 2010 at 11:26 am
katiebug06123 BRONZE, Circleville, Ohio
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
Even the Best fall down sometimes ,

This was extremly touching . I liked how you made it short and it was still amazing . Very good job . Sad , but hey everyone loves sad stories (:

jennam8 GOLD said...
on Feb. 11 2010 at 11:08 am
jennam8 GOLD, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
12 articles 27 photos 56 comments
Love the storyline. Seems a bit rushed, but I like how you were able to condense this into a short story. Yes, very sad, but that's what gets people attached to your story :D


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