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 »
I walk in and she is sleeping. I watch her breathe for a few minutes until she wakes up. She tells me, Charles, I sensed you. I smile and she smiles back. I say to her, I needed to see you. I miss you tons. She says, I’ve missed you too. She asks, how has school been? And as always I tell her it’s different without her. I say, we all miss you, Odelia. I ask her, what do they know? How do you feel? How about your head?
She says she can’t remember. She says it doesn’t matter
She stops laughing. She says I’m the one who doesn’t understand, I can’t possibly feel her pain. I tell her, I know, help me understand. She says no. I prod, at least tell me the side? She says she doesn’t know. She knows we both know she’s lying but she also knows she can get away with it.
It’s none of your business, she tells me.
But it is, Odelia.
How has school been?
Inside my head I’m sighing, but I know I can’t let her frustrate me because I don’t want to be remembered like that. I don’t want to think of her as a burden. I tell her, it’s okay. She asks, how is Lauren? How is Ben? I ask, who are they? And she tells me, they’re my friends, don’t you remember them, Charles?
I don’t, I tell her. I ask, do you mean Clarissa? Eric? She says yes, of course. I tell her they are fine. They miss you, I whisper. With closed eyes she says, I miss you too, I’ve missed you terribly.
My eyes start to sting and well up. She really doesn’t understand what she does. She can’t comprehend what she says. I pinch the bridge of my nose with shut eyes and I scream.
I open my eyes and she lays, looking shocked. I say, allergies. We both know it’s not true. She stares at me for what feels like an eternity before she asks, Charles, are you okay?
I say to myself, you’re going to die. My best friend is going to die and there’s nothing I can do. Cliché. Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
I finally say, I’m fine. But she’s already asleep.
I call her mother and ask, can I take her to the movies? Yes, of course, she smiles into the other end. Odelia and her mother—always smiling. You know even when you don’t.
I will be over in minutes.
Okay, see you in a few.
Thank you, Charles, she says. It’s nothing, I tell her. When I get there Odelia is sitting in the kitchen instead of lying in bed. Ready? I ask.
Let me get my shoes.
Walking to the shoes drains her. She can’t even get them on without moaning. Do you want help?
No, Charles, I can do it myself, she tells me. I say, let me help you. No, I don’t need help, she says.
She gets tired too quickly. We stay at her house and play a game.
Odelia is already awake as I enter. She begins, how has school been?
It’s okay, I tell her. I ask, how have you been? I’ve been fine, she smiles, better than ever. I almost say, don’t lie. But she may not be lying. I ask, what have you been doing? She tells me, nothing, I sleep all day. You’d think they’d keep me awake when I only have a month left. She giggles.
No. No no no no no.
Odelia, I say, you have a month? Roughly, she tells me. I ask her, are you sure? She says no, maybe I’ll live forever, you never know.
You know, I tell her, they found a girl with genes that would allow her to live….forever. She asks, really? I say, well, not forever, but twice as long, maybe even four times. She’s been alive for sixteen years but she has the body of a 3 or 4 year old. She tells me, that’s horrible.
Because, she starts, her body will live while her mind deteriorates. A feeling I’m familiar with, she smiles. I tell her, that’s true, but wouldn’t you like to live forever?
No. I’d have to watch everybody die. I’d have to watch you die. I tell her, Odelia, I’m watching you die. She retorts, I’m watching you die, too, Charles. I say, ?
She says, in a month’s time, you’ll be a month less alive. I’m going to have to watch you lose a month of your life.