Author's note: uhm, well, i used this for my portfolio for high school. (i go to a performing arts school and... Show full author's note »
It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve walked in to see Odelia awake. Her covers are off and her legs look weak. A pencil rests limply in her hand. A piece of paper is on her. It’s practically blank.
What is that?
She looks at me as though that answer made sense.
To be correct, she looks through me. She asks me, can you get me a piece of paper?
You have one on your lap. Odelia says, oh, I didn’t see it.
Odelia, what do you need it for? She says, I need to write. I ask, write what?
You know what.
She clarifies, I just need to write for people. Pause. Do you mind writing stuff for me? I tell her, not at all. Inside though, I do mind.
You know, I’m tired. My head hurts. We should do this later.
With that, she falls into her constant sleeping sleep pattern.
Eric and Clarissa came to Odelia’s house for the first time during her cancerous ordeal. She slept the whole time. They talked loudly to wake her up. Her mother said sorry, and that she had taken pain killers right before they came. She said, swallowing the pills drained all of her energy.
Maybe she forgot her own birthday. She probably didn’t think it mattered.
I pick Odelia out of bed for her mother so she can change the sheets. She’s falling asleep and she shifts around in my arms uncomfortably. Her legs are so thin from not being used. I ask her, how are you doing? She says, Charles, I….
Are you hungry?
The horses, she says. The horses. It’s feeding time. It’s feeding time for the horses. She says it slowly in a voice that is not her own.
I take it that she’s hungry. I put her on the chair in her living room and get apple sauce. It’s been so long since she’s left her bed. I try to feed her but she only takes a spoonful. I feel like I’m feeding a baby, but I’m feeding someone who’s slowly dying.
I talk to her mother and ask about medications. She says Odelia’s hardly drinking or eating so it’s hard to give it to her. She says, in fact, it’s almost impossible because she’s almost never awake. She asks me about school, and right as I begin to answer we hear Odelia screaming. Odelia is scratching at her bed linens, screaming, NO, NO, NO, GET OFF. Her mother and I both look at each other. We don’t know what to do. Her mother hugs her, says, sh, baby, sh. It’s okay. Charles and I are here. Eventually she whines down, falling back into her usual deep sleep as she repeats in a slurred voice, ohmyohmyohmyohmyohmy.