June 6, 2010
Daniel watched the neighborhood kids play basketball in the middle of the street. His pale head pressed against the cool glass and he sighed. How he wished to be outside with them. At the tender age of sixteen, Daniel had the pain stricken, blue eyes of a war veteran. His once muscular body had faded to a 40 pound lighter former version of himself. His ivory, sun deprived skin made him nauseous just looking at it. He ran his fingers through his copper hair and was irritated when it stopped short at only a few inches. He missed his shaggy hair. He glanced out the window again and saw the kids break up their game for a car. He looked hopefully for a cherry, red hood but a black Escalade passed by. He frowned; impatience and desperation nipped at the back of his skull.

While resting against the window sill, he pulled out an old football and tossed it a few feet in the air before catching it. He repeated the action, hoping that the feeling of a football in his hands would soothe the nostalgia of his glory days. It didn’t. Instead he picked up the gold trophy that was resting on his nightstand next to a bottle of medication. He gave the bottle a look of contempt before letting his fingers trace over the metal of the trophy. Daniel Sebastian Singer. The quarterback. The myth. The legend. He disappeared halfway through his sophomore year and was now spending his time rotting away in his bedroom. But not today. Daniel caught sight of the red Nissan Altima pulling into his driveway and immediately stood to his feet.

With his sneakers snug on his feet and his jacket in his arms he quickly made his way down the hallway and to the top of the stairs. Unfortunately, his mother beat him to the front door. He silently cursed himself and clung to the shadows in an attempt to be invisible. He knew an argument was going to arise as his mother opened the door to reveal his dark haired lover, Penny. She scowled at the sight of his mother.

“Morning, Penelope. Can I help you with something?” Daniel’s mother returned the scowl but she kept her voice polite.

“Yes, Ms. Singer, I’m here to pick up Daniel.” said Penny with her arms crossed. Daniel frowned at the intolerance that marred Penny’s sweet, doe brown eyes.

“I’m aware that’s what you said on the phone. But you should know by now that I’m not letting Danny leave unless I know exactly where he is going.” Daniel’s mother probed.

“We’re just going to dinner at Luigi’s and then we’re going to the movies. Penny recited dully.

“Then straight home.” Daniel’s mother finished.

“Yes.” Penny glared.

“Hmmm…” Daniel’s mother drummed her long red nails against the wooden door frame, “Well Penelope, I’m sure you know at this point, I’m very opposed to letting Daniel out in his condition.”

“Well Ms. Singer, I’m sure you know at this point, it’s not the cancer that’s killing him. It’s the fact that you keep him locked up like fine China.” Penny growled. The older woman’s lips thinned in irritation.

“I know what’s best for him. You don’t seem to realize that he’s not in the shape he used to be in; he can’t afford to get sick or injure himself. His body can’t handle the stress.”

“And you think his mind can? You can’t just isolate him from the world because you’re scared. As if taking football away from him wasn’t bad enough, you have to take everything else too? If you keep this up he will die completely miserable. And you’ll resent yourself for it.” Penny said. Daniel had heard enough; he started making some rustling noises to make it seem like he was just reaching the stairs. The two females grew quiet when he came into view. He bid farewell to his mother and slipped on his jacket at her request before exiting with Penny.

Daniel adjusted the leather seats of Penny’s Altima so he was in a restful position. Even though restful was quite the opposite of how he was feeling. The sensation of being in a car and not having the destination be a hospital was exhilarating. Just the sight of the world beyond his yard was enough to send his head spinning. He watched the blurring scenery as Penny accelerated to around 60, he caught sight of a person walking a dog. When was the last time he had even seen a dog? When was the last time he had even eaten out for that matter? They were painful thoughts; he had been so active before the diagnosis happened. He had taken all of his regular activities for granted and now the walls of his room were his punishment. He loved his mother and appreciated her care, but Penny was right, being locked away was killing him. The warm sun began to warm his deathly cold flesh and he almost felt healthy again. It was then he knew he didn’t want to spend his last few months dying, he wanted to spend them living.

It took Daniel almost forty five minutes to notice Luigi’s diner was long gone and their suburban town had been replaced with honking cars and city lights.

“Where are we going?” Daniel finally asked. Penny smiled, but he couldn’t completely read her expression because her eyes were covered by sunglasses.

“You’ll see.” she answered. Daniel craned his neck to look out the window past the sea of cars. It didn’t take long for the sight of a large football dome to give away the surprise.

“And you wonder why my mother hates you.” Daniel grinned, “Thanks Penn.”

“You’re welcome. You need it.” Penny said.

After hunting for a parking space and getting a large soda, Daniel and Penny had made it to their seats. The familiar sight of built men sporting jerseys with the Chicago Bears logo etched across them was enough to bring a genuine smile to Daniel’s face. His cerulean eyes roamed over the green field and the white lines that danced across it. Then he began to survey the jungle for an audience that cheered and jeered at an intense volume.

Daniel looked away from the former love of his life and turned to his new one. Penny was already watching him in anticipation, as if she could somehow measure his level of happiness to know if she had done a good job or not. He smiled and gently kissed her.

“I love you Penny.” Daniel said.

“I love you too.” Penny replied.

“I just want you to know how much I appreciate that you stuck by me through the diagnosis and the chemo, and everything else…”

“Oh please, you had to know I’d stick by you when I still talked to you after Matt Sands pantsed you in the sixth grade.” Penny rolled her eyes. Daniel remained serious.

“No one has been as understanding and supportive as you. I owe you some of the best times of my life. And before I die-”

“Daniel, stop it. You’re not going to die.” Penny said sternly.

“We both know I’m not doing well. The chances of me getting better are about one in a million.”

“Well so what? You hear about people hitting the lottery, beating the odds, who’s to say you can’t get better? Some doctor? A piece of paper? Screw them!” Penny fumed, “You’re stronger than they think.”

Daniel took her hand and gazed straight into her eyes. Even after all the time they had spent together his crystal blue eyes still had the power to melt away any anger she had inside her. She sighed deeply before resting her head on his shoulder.

“I can’t lose you.” Penny said.

“You can have me for as long as I’m here.” said Daniel, he looked into her brown eyes once more, “I don’t want to go home.”

“What do you mean?”

“Runaway with me.” Daniel requested. Penny looked at him and let out a snort of laughter.

“You’re insane.”

“I only have a couple of months left. Let’s go somewhere. California, Disneyland, I don’t care. Just you and me. Right now.” He said. Penny’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion.

“You’re serious?” Penny asked.


“But… what would we do for food? Or a place to sleep?” Penny reasoned.

“I’ve got my bank card. All I have to do is empty my account before my mother blocks it.”

“Our parents… they would kill us.” Penny said.

“I already have one foot in the grave, Penn.” Daniel stroked one of Penny’s dark curls, “I can’t go back. And I can’t go forward. And if I’m stuck in the middle, I want to be free to do whatever I want. And I want to be with you.”

Penny’s face was hard to read. She looked like she was concentrating and weighing her options. After a few moments of hesitation she looked up, “Let’s do it.”

The two teens traveled across the country for two months before Daniel couldn’t handle his illness anymore. Penny returned him home only to say goodbye four days later. And after that West Hill Cemetery was graced with her presence every Sunday. Until eight months later when West Hill Cemetery was graced by her and Daniel Sebastian Singer Jr.

Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Hobbit@Heart said...
Nov. 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Normally, I think that having a kid before marriage {call me old-fashioned} is wrong; but here I totally get it and admire it.  Love the story- keep up the good writing!


BethanyLovesCoffee said...
Jan. 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm
I'm in love. :)
JayeMizzles said...
Oct. 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

i really enjoyed the beginning, i like how he really shows his captivity. i like the conversation that penny and the mother have, to show who is on whose side and all that... but the part that kinda makes the story drop is the run away with me part... it becomes completely unbelievable, and the thing that grabs the reader is believability. it was really well written and i really like how we dont hear daniel speak until half weay in the story. 

one last thing: i dont really get the... (more »)

mocha replied...
Nov. 13, 2010 at 8:12 am

hey~ i think what was meant was that after Daniel went home, he died four days later. And after that, she visits his grave every Sunday, and after eight months, she gave birth to his son.

but that is juz my opinion, might have read it wrongly~

bookwormishgirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm
That's what I'd go with too. And I adore this; it's spectacular.
Asif_by_magic said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm
so sad but enjoyable. i love the last paragraph even though it was sad it was quite cute too.
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