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The last time I was in the hospital was 4 years ago.
I broke my arm and I was 13.
But right now, this is a different story.
I sat in the waiting room and looked around.
Some were excited.
Some had their eyes on the ground.
Most were deep in thought.
The TV was softly murmuring to itself and the nurses were walking around and the doctors were rushing off.
My eyes slam shut.
She could have told me. She could have told me she had leukemia.
I only wanted a little bit more time.
I ration my breath and open my eyes.
It was this.
A nurse starts walking towards us after talking to a doctor.
Everyone’s head lifts. She stops in front of everyone here.
“Chadd,” She says. I look up, “Over here,”
I slowly stand up. She turns on her heel and starts walking forward.
I inhale slowly and take a step forward.
We walk for a little bit down the hall.
Many people were arguing.
“Isn’t there something you can do?!” A young woman sobs to a doctor.
The nurse, Delaney, stops at a door and turns around.
“She’s in here,” Delaney smiles sadly and leaves quickly.
It was now or never.
I place my hand on the doorknob and slowly turn it, pushing the door forward.
And there she is.
She looks so damaged.
Her hair looks thin and weak.
Her lips are losing their color.
She is much paler.
I sigh and ruffle my hair, taking a step forward.
She looks up, smiling.
“Chadd,” She grins.
I wave sheepishly.
“Hi,” I blink a couple of times, adjusting to the blinding light in the room.
“You look tired,” she frowns. I nod and sit down in the chair next to her.
“I am,” I reply.
“How long have you been up?”
“I lost count,” I inhale sharply.
There’s faint beeping in the background.
It smells like 409 and metal in here.
That’s when I noticed the hostile-looking metal needle in her arm.
Claire touches my hand.
At that moment, I realized it’s just me and Claire.
In this room.
In this hospital.
Pictures of Claire, landing her first ollie on my skateboard race through my head.
Claire, winning Homecoming princess.
Claire, going door to door and selling candy bars to help out a sick friend at school.
My eyes shut again.
“Chadd,” She says.
I open my eyes and look up, “The doctor’s said I’m going to be fine. No worrying,” She smiles.
“I know,” And I did.
Claire blinks slowly.
“But yeah,” She sighs.
Delaney walks in and checks some monitors.
She frowns and turned to us.
“Need anything?” She asks.
We both shake our heads.
The song California by Phantom Planet starts playing on Claire’s iPod.
Then I finally work out, I only have a little bit more time with her.
I clear my throat.
She looks really tired.
“Claire, go to bed,” I sigh.
“Go to bed. You’re not going to get any better,” I add.
“Fine,” She closes her eyes and sighs.
I run my fingers through my long hair.
20 minutes pass.
I rub my eyes and look out the window.
40 minutes pass.
Delaney walks in and looks at me.
I shake my head.
60 minutes pass.
I notice the peaks on the monitor are slowly starting to get shorter.
100 minutes pass.
I’m starting to get really nervous.
I also notice that Claire’s favorite teddy bear is sitting on the table next to her.
I’m sweating really hard.
120 minutes pass.
The faint beeping in the background was only a distant memory.
I realize it really is over.
I stand up and slowly walk backwards until I hit the wall.
I slide down it and stare at Claire.
I’m numb all over.
After sitting there, I stand up and walk over to the teddy bear.
I pick it up and walk out of the room, leaving every single memory I ever had in there with Claire.
A small voice in my head kept repeating the same line.
“You have lost the game.”
This memory keeps replaying in my head.
It never stops.
What is this?
I stare at the needle in my arm and reach over to pull it out.
My nurse grabs my hands.
“Oh no you don’t,” she scolds.
I roll my eyes.
She was so weird.
I sigh and turn my iPod on.
Where is he?
Delaney looks at her clipboard and walks over to the door.
“I’m off to talk to Dr. Wolfe,” She says.
“Grab my friend Chadd,” I grin.
She nods and opens the door, walking out.
I stare at the ceiling on my hospital bed as the nurse talks to the doctor.
I could still hear everything perfectly fine.
“Dr. Wolfe,” she says.
“It’s Claire. She’s not doing too well,” Delaney starts.
I chose another song.
“What do you mean?” he asks.
I could imagine him shifting his weight.
“Well everything is really low. She doesn’t have that much time,”
“Hm. Nothing we can do?”
“How much longer does she have?”
“Three hours?” she asks herself.
I was going to probably die today.
I stuck the iPod on the dock.
I couldn’t tell Chadd.
Moments later, I hear the familiar sounds of footsteps.
“She’s in here,” A voice says at the other side of the door.
A smile creeps onto my lips.
The doorknob slowly turns.
And in steps Chadd.
I hear him do something with his hair.
He took a step into the room and I look up, smiling.
“Chadd,” I say and smile.
He waves at me.
“Hi,” he blinks.
Holding back tears already?
“You look tired,” I frown and touch my lip softly.
“I am,” He says and walks over to the chair next to me.
The song changed into Wall to Wall by Chris Brown.
“How long have you been up?” I ask.
“I lost count,” He inhales sharply.
I look out the large window and catch him staring at my arm.
I ignore it and cough.
I’m going to miss him.
I try remembering some good times with him.
I think really hard but nothing really comes to my mind.
Was it the medication?
His eyes glaze over.
Chadd is deep in thought.
Suddenly his eyes slam.
I reach out and take his hand.
“Chadd,” I interrupt. He opens his eyes, “I’m going to be fine. The doctors said so.” I nod.
That was a lie.
“I know,” He smiles for once.
I nod again and change the song.
I was getting really tired while I was telling Chadd the story about my sister and I last weekend and how she practically ran away.
“So, she just ran away,” He said.
“Yeah. It was like really lame,”
“I know. I didn’t even fully understand what was going on,”
“I couldn’t even imagine Stacia doing that,” he blinks softly.
“Hm,” Chadd sighs and leans back in his chair.
My favorite song turns on.
California by Phantom Planet.
California, here we come. Right back where we started from…
Chadd clears his throat and takes a long look at me.
“Claire, go to sleep,” He commands.
“No,” I pout.
“Go to bed. You’re not going to get any better,” He shook his head and pulls the hair out of his green eyes.
“Fine,” I close my eyes and sigh, pretending to go to bed.
The song changes into Good Life by Kanye West.
A little bit passes by and it starts getting a little harder to breathe.
My hearts starting to beat slower.
I can feel it.
How long has it been?
I’m starting to get scared.
Everything around me is slowly disappearing.
I can’t hear anything?
What is this?
Where am I?