1

"Are you okay?"

"How could I be okay Matthew?"

"There's still a chance. Do you want me to come over?" he sounded like he wasn't worried at all. He was dying and he wasn't worried.

"I-I don't know."

"I'm coming over 'kay?" I nodded even though he couldn't see me. His car keys jingled in his hands as he walked out the door. I listened to every movement he made. "Be there in 5 minutes Kait, love you."

I didn't hang up, I just dropped the phone onto my bed. Who cared about the hanging up of phones? Who cared about anything? Everyone but me did, that's who. The world wouldn't stop because of Matthew. But it should. Traffic should stop. Babies shouldn't cry. Total silence. The injustice makes me want to break everything in my room. How I get to breathe and think and walk so easily when the leukemia is tearing Matthew up inside. I want to lash out at the world. I want to die.

"Matthew!" my mother shrieks from downstairs. She doesn't know yet. She'd be balling. I should be, but I'm frozen.

"Hi Mrs. Wash," Matthew replies. My family loves Matthew and his family, Matthew's family loves my family.

"How are you honey? Would you like something to eat?" This is where the lies start. Mom knows that we don't have anything worth eating in our house. Food goes fast between me, dad, and Wyatt. Mom doesn't eat as much as the rest of us, she's too busy fussing with Tibby. And Tibby's one so she doesn't contribute all that much to food consumption in the Wash household.

The next lie is Matthew's, "I'm just fine, Mrs. Wash. I ate before I came. But thank you." He's speaking softer now. He doesn't want me to hear him lie.

"Well, Kaitlynn's in her room. Just yell if you need anything." By this point Tibby was wailing and Matthew was coming up the stairs.

I feel so selfish when he walks into my room. I also feel shy. He smiles at me as if I don't look horrible. I'm still in my pajamas and I haven't so much as touched a hairbrush.

"How are you?" he asks, sitting next to me on the bed.

"Don't give me that shit. Don't ask me how I am." I stand up and walk to my bookshelf, pretending to search for something. "Why should it matter how I feel? How do you feel?"

"It does matter how you feel, Kaitlynn. God, I love you! I shouldn't be more important than you in this relationship. That's not how it's supposed to work."

I checked to make sure the door was closed before responding, "I cannot believe you would say something like that. You have cancer. Last time I checked that was higher on the priority list than how I was doing." Now I couldn't stop the lump in my throat from rising. Tears pinched the back of my eyes. I felt so tired. So I cried. My heart ached for him.

"It's okay," he said rubbing my back softly. But it wasn't. It was far from okay.

I sobbed into his chest. I'm not sure how long it was before I stopped crying. But when I did Matthew said, "I should go, I didn't tell my parents I was leaving."

"Don't go," I said.

"I have to." He kissed my forehead and then my lips. At first the kiss was tender and gentle, but soon it was deep, as if he wanted to take me all in.

When he pulled away he looked in my eyes and said, "I have too".

I considered saying 'If you loved me you stay'. But I didn't, because I didn't know if I'd mean stay in my room, or stay in the world.

Either way, he was already gone.