"I don't know, Anne. The answers will not be definite until we can get him into sugery." The doctor tells my family. We stare in disbelief. Is he for real? Is this some kind of practical joke the doctors play on the patient's families for entertainment during the day? He has to be lying, there is no way my dad has cancer. It's not possible. Not him.
But he was serious. He explained how the cancer came about and the process it would take to try to get rid of it. He stayed simple, which was nice considering how he had just dropped a bomb on us.
"How long?" My sister, Jamie, asks.
"We don't know." He answers.
They don't know. I repeat in my mind. That could mean forever. –Or it could mean tomorrow.
The doctor was kind and compassionate, but we all knew he wasn't telling us all the dangers of this explosion.
Moriah led me and my five other sisters outside and to the parking lot. Our youngest sister, Allie, says "What does cancer mean?"
"Honey, the doctor already explained that to you." Emily says.
"Well I don't understand." Ava, age seven, says in agreement with Allie.
"It means daddy's sick." Moriah explains.
"Oh." Allie says. "Is daddy going to get better?"
"We hope so darling." Mom's trembling voice answers as she gets into the car.
Moriah carries on a conversation with mom in the front seat. She was mostly comforting her; the way a parent usually does to the daughter.
Right about then I realized I had a sister that still probably didn't know about dad. Selena is my oldest sister, age 27. About seven years ago she moved to London, England. She's married, and is expecting her first child. I highly doubt she even knows about the car accident. She probably doesn't.
I don't think mom wants to talk about Selena at the moment, so I don't say anything.
When we roll into the driveway mom turns around in her seat and says sympathetically to Ava and Allie. "Sweeties, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to take you to Chuck e Cheese's tomorrow as I promised. "
Ava and Allie begin to sniffle. They don't cry, because they're brave and know mom's in pain.
"I'll take them." I offer.
I'm a good person; I hate Chuck e Cheeses, but out of the goodness of my heart I will take my baby sisters there for a day. I don't have the greatest past with Chuck e Cheeses (The guy in the Chuck E costume asked me out the last time I was there- what a creeper), so I have promised myself never to go there again.
"Are you sure sweetheart?" My mom asks placing her hand on mine, which was resting on the car seat's arm.
"Yeah," I say confidently.
Ava and Allie began with their praises the moment I opened my mouth. "I love you so much, Anneka." Ava purrs. "You're the best sister ever." Allie says.
"Remember girls," Jamie interrupts in a mocking tone. "Don't say what you don't mean!"
Allie sticks he tongue out at her. "You're just jealous."
"Why would I be jealous?" Jamie asks coldly. "You're just two brats stuck in the same house as me." Jamie gets out of the car and storms up to the house's front door.
My mom doesn't even discipline Jamie. She only lets her head fall into her hands and cry.
Ava unbuckles herself and pats mom sympathetically on the head like a puppy. "Don't cry mommy, Jamie's just a big meanie."
Allie follows Ava's lead and does the same. "And daddy's going to get better, just like he did when he had the flu." Allie tries.
Moriah smiles softly and pinches their cheeks lightly. "Go inside and get ready for bed." She tells them.
Once Ava and Allie are gone, it's too quiet so Emily and I leave too. We head upstairs to the room we share. She sits on her bed which is covered with a yellow comforter, and I lay on mine which is blue.
"I don't know what to say." She whispers into the air.
I look at the ceiling. I had taped a picture of a dolphin on there. I had drawn it for my dad back when I was five. I continued to stare at the drawling until tears came and overflowed my eyes and slid like the flow of a waterfall off of my cheeks. My eyes depart from the picture to the wall in front of me. My calendar is bulleted to the wall by a tack and some ribbon. And there it is: circled in blue marker under October 12th says Best day ever!
What in the world had I been thinking? October 12th has turned out to be the worst day in my entire life! It started well, don't get me wrong, but nothing can ever comprehend the past four hours. It's about midnight, and I should be getting to bed, but instead I go to my desk and take out the notebook I had laid in the first drawer. I get out a pen, a red pen to be exact –because I hate the color with a passion- and begin to write about the day from beginning to the end.
I was aware of dad leaving for work when he came in to give Emily and I kiss.
I love how we both are well into our teen years but yet he still finds it necessary to do this. I find it just awesome that he cares for us so much.
I heard him say his normal, "I love you sweetheart. Have a good day and remember to shine."
But he also adds. "I've got a surprise." I sit straight up in bed as if I hadn't been listening the whole time. He grins lovingly down at me and says "I'm getting off early and I get to come tonight."
I scream and wrap my arms around him for a hug. "Work hard, Cinderella." He says winking at me.
"Yes stepmother." I joke playing along.
"Great, see you tonight Nekabear."
"I love you too." Then he disappears behind the door and everything returns to normal: I ease back into slumber, I resume my fairytale of a dream about Zac and I, and all I think about is how he's prince charming and I'm his princess.
About an hour later I'm awoken by the sound of pans and sizzling in the kitchen. I wasn't aware Moriah was home, so I figured it must have been Ava and Allie again getting into the pots. Don't they know I was just about to live happily ever after? Wait a minute, I think, what about that sizzle I hear? Oh dear. I rush down stairs only to be caught by utter surprise: Moriah was cooking. Yes, it was no mistake, for the first time in ten years Moriah was in the kitchen with the stove… on.
She was making pancakes, and boy did they look good.
"Good morning Sleepyhead." She sings happily. "Are you ready for tonight?"
Yes I was! I had been training and practicing for months over this performance. Sure, it had its benefits (Zac included), but it was a lot of hard work. I went to the studio three days a week and even five for the last two weeks. Candace, the choreographer, has put much more difficult moves into this performance than any I've done before.
I remember four months ago, in June, when they held the audtitions for Cinderella. I was a nervous wreck, but when I found out I was cast as the lead I was ecstatic. The first day I went in to meet the other dancers and director was awesome.
"Well, I can honestly see why they chose you as Cinderella." A young man with mud-brown hair remarked as he held the building's door open for me. "You're gorgeous." He says.
I try my hardest to hide my blushing cheeks from his sight. "Don't worry, I'll keep your beauty a secret, but it's going to be hard with those beautiful blue eyes you got there." He tells me with a wink. "Just remember if they try anything with you to let them know that as Prince Charming I'll always have an extra glass slipper at hand to whack 'em with, okay?"
I smile shyly. "I'll keep that in mind, Prince charming?"
"You better believe it." He jokes.
That was the first time I met Zac. He has yet to ask me out, but it's not like I'm counting or anything.
But again that was four months ago, and now the performance of Cinderella is this evening. I'm so excited- this has nothing to do with Candace, the director, telling me just recently how she thinks Zac and- I mean Cinderella and Prince Charming should end the show with a kiss. Nope, not at all would that be the reason behind me being so happy.
I did my school work in a couple hours, since I'm homeschooled I got done before three. Afterwards I drove Allie and Ava to the pet store to see the newborn baby bunnies which they have been begging to go see. We took a long time there because Ava wanted this little brown bunny so badly she was crying and was having a fit because I wouldn't let her take it home. I would have let her, but I knew that I would eventually be the one who ends up cleaning after it, so I decided against it. It took thirty minutes just to calm her down enough to get her to stop crying.
"Sweetie, you don't want to take the little bunny away from its family do you? Little ruby" – which is what she named it- "Has too many brothers and sisters that love her, and we don't want to make them sad."
She started to fuss saying, "We could take them all home." But I just took her hand and led her and Allie to the car and drove home- there was no way I was taking seven baby bunnies home with me.
By the time I actually got home, because of all the traffic, it was about five, which meant it was make- up time for me. I would much rather not wear any, but as Cinderella I have to make myself look beautiful with a capital B. Plus, with all the stage lights you have to make all of your features pop so as to be seen.
When I got to the theater where the performance was being held, I went through the back door and to my dressing room. Hanging on the rack in the back of the room was my Cinderella costume. I love both the servant Cinderella's outfit and the Ball outfit, but right now I put on servant Cinderella's costume and head out to stretch with the others.
"Hello beautiful." Zac says as I enter the small room backstage.
"You don't look like you're ready for the ball." He says looking me over.
"I'm afraid not, my stepmother has forbid me to leave the manor."
"Well that's a shame." He says taking my hand in his. "I was really looking forward to that kiss."
My heart stopped. "But I guess I don't literally have to wait until then," And with that he leaned down a kissed me. It wasn't long, and it wasn't much to it, but I enjoyed it.
"Come to the ball?" He asks.
"I'm already there." I say dreamily looking into his blue-green eyes.
"Places people we're on in ten!" The director, Candace, calls out. Soon the ten turned into five, and five minutes into me standing behind the curtain watching as my two "stepsisters" fight over the same piece of clothing.
I took my place on stage and did my thing. I love dancing. I feel free, and completely unaware of my surrounding. Which is why I didn't realize that there was seven empty seats in the front row; seven empty seats that had been reserved for the members of the Carson family. My family.
I didn't know anything was wrong until the intermission, which was when I went back to check my phone for any messages from my sisters. They usually text me and let me know how I did on the first performance so that I can touch up on anything I messed up on for the second one.
But when I checked my cell, there were no new messages. I didn't think much about it, especially when a minute later a new message appeared on my phone- from Jamie. I hate getting messages from Jamie. They're always negative, and make me feel down. I usually read them anyway, however since the last time I read her text message it contained a few lines from an article on how ballet is a waste of your life because you can't land a part if your over 25, I just decided if it was really important than Jamie could wait. I shut my phone, changed outfits, and got ready for the ball, because I had a prince to kiss.
Let me tell you, that kiss was pretty enjoyable even though it was only a stage kiss.
But that's not what is important. What is important is the fact that the minute I got into my dressing room my phone started buzzing a million times a minute from every member of my family. Or almost every member; there was none from dad, none from Emily, and none from Selena- not that I was expecting one from her of anyway, though.
Moriah calls me before I get the chance to read any messages.
"Where are you?" She says. She sounds panicked.
"In the theater. Are you okay?"
"No, I'm outside the backstage door waiting for you to come out here."
"Okay, I'll be there in a minute."
I stuff everything in my blue duffle bag and slip a sweatshirt over my costume, because I can tell there is no time to change clothes.
I see Moriah immediately and walk over to her. Her eyes are bloodshot, and I know something is wrong.
"Are you okay?" I ask getting into her car. I guess we'll just come back for mine later…
Moriah doesn't answer my question so I try again, but with no prevail. We drive down the road until I realize that I don't have a clue where were going.
The silence that continued to play over and over made me realize a couple of things. Why weren't we in mom's car? And why weren't they here with us?
"Is everyone alright?" I ask. Moriah doesn't answer, she just keeps driving. So coming to the conclusion that I won't get an answer out of her is when I turn to my phone.
Something's wrong with dad, Neka, come quick- Jamie
Neka where are you? Are you okay,honey? Moriah's on her way. Mom
Where are you guys, are you coming? Jamie
Anneka, prepare for the worst. Jamie
Well I was right. What Jamie sent me did bring me down. Down as low as you can get.
When I looked up from the phone it's when I saw we were turning into the hospital. I kind of knew this was where we were going, but I was hoping that I would end up wrong.
It's very quiet as Moriah and I walk up to the nurse's desk. She asks if dad has been moved to a different room, because he had evidently been in temporarily in the ER. The nurse told us he had been moved to a regular room on the third floor in the second wing. It took us a long time to get there, especially since we had to wait for the elevator and walk about two miles to get to his room. When we got in front of the door, I held my breath to walk inside.
On one of the beds laid some old man I didn't know the name of, and on the other was my father. Oh gosh, he was so pale. He had a hundred and one wires attached to him and... oh... man. I felt the tears form within my eyes.
"What happened?" I ask.
"He collapsed." My mother says. "I was afraid, and brought him to the ER." She wipes a tear from her cheek. She looks up to me with her eyes red a puffy.
We hear a knock at the door and an older man wearing a lab coat walks in.
"The results are back." He says.
Next he explains to us that dad has cancer. I'm sure I speak for every one of my family when I say that it felt as if we were on Ground Zero- and that man just flew into us.
He just wounded my tower, and now I don't know how long it'll be until it falls.