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Josh

By
Have you ever seen someone you love
Go through
pain
agony

Watching but knowing
you can’t
do a thing
about it




I have.



————————————————————————————————————



A sunny day
Third grade
Mom and I playing Junior Monopoly
The game interrupted
by the ringing of the phone
Josh, she mouths,
smiling
Can I play? Can I play?
she shushes me,
and the smile fades
she grows somber
What’s wrong? I want to know
Instantly, my mind fills with images
broken arms
hospital rooms
stitches

She hangs up
And then
she tells me.

She tells me that Josh has something called

LEUKEMIA

I’m confused
What’s that?
Apparently, it’s a cancer
I know it’s bad, but I can’t quite wrap my
seven-year-old
brain around it

All I understand;
something’s wrong with my friend
he can’t save me from losing Junior Monopoly


————————————————————————————————————



The next time I see him, he’s different
Gone are the beautiful locks
of midnight hair
In it’s place
old man’s hair
just wisps of gray
and a smiley-face scar on top
What’s that? I ask naïvely
It’s from the hospital, he tells me, trying to explain
I’m confused, so drop the subject
and move on to his new favorite website

Josh gets worse before better
he’s on Pregnazone, I learn later
making his cheeks swell
looking like eggs are stuffed inside
It’s not funny
Not on him
Not for this reason

At this point, I grasp the concept
that Josh is sick
It’s unavoidable
Every Thursday, Josh is out
for chemo
sometimes he comes in for lunch
but doesn’t eat
I ask why,
not realizing that chemo
the wonder drug
has horrible side affects
one being nausea
I wouldn’t want to eat either

Make-a-wish comes
Josh gets a Playstation
finally he has something to do
on those days where he just doesn’t want
to move

Years pass of the same routine
Month
after month
Thursday after Thursday
slowly his hair grows back,
more dusk than midnight
but still, at least he can hang up
his baseball hat

End of fifth grade
Josh has some exciting news
Guess what? Guess what?
My port’s out!
No more chemo!
I’m so excited for him
I know what this means
And I’m so, so proud

I’m proud to know him
Because of his bravery
And I don’t think that I
could’ve lived to tell this story
if it had been me
Josh has been in remission for
two and a half years
And I’m so proud
of my best friend





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