Short story collection

Isabella Wetherington

Mrs. Farell

March 23, 2012

Life or Death

Margaret stared out of her window. The sky was a deep ebony, stars glittered on the surface. They appeared and disappeared, bringing bright beacons of light and then replacing them with pitch black emptiness. Thoughts raced through her mind. Life or death. The choice seemed utterly simple. Life was better, that is unless you knew the implications that life had on her and everyone around her.

If she choose to live, and made it through the surgery alive, she could still be paralyzed. She could live, but she wouldn't really be living. At that point she would probably be a shell of her former self. She could mirror the expression of life and happiness, but inside the pain of her miserable life could be eating away at her soul.

She could choose death. She could throw away the faintest hope of life with a simple flip of a switch. She could save everyone the burden of caring for her like she was a helpless infant, instead of the teenager she still was.

Margaret's deep blue eyes watered at the thought. There was probably no way that she could ever be treated like a young adult again. She would always be a helpless child, cursed to live out what little time she had in and out of a hospital. She never had the moments of a real kid.

Margaret never had a birthday party. She had tried to on her 10th anniversary of "life" but no one would come. The only ones who attended were the nurses and doctors that had time. She had no friends, at least she had no friends her age, or gender. She was friends with her 21 year old brother. That didn't count since he was 4 years older than the 17 year old.

She never got to go to prom. She wasn't allowed to go to the dance. Doctors orders. Even if she could, no one would go with her. She had asked a few boys. They ran away with a look of fear in their eyes. She never saw them again. She wasn't allowed to were a prom dress either. It would have been to tight on the many wires attached to her body. Margaret couldn't have danced even if she got the approval. She couldn't stand up.

Margaret began to cry. Tears streaked her cheeks, followed by lines of red. She never cried openly. Not even when she found out she could die. This was the first time. She didn't want to die, but living could be worse.

Margaret never thought it would come to this. When she was little, and in the hospital, she always dreamt that they would find cures for tumors before hers was bad. She dreamt that one day, when they went to evaluate her back, and see if the tumor grew or shrunk, it would be gone. It would have left and Margaret could have gone home. She could have lived normally, and people would have forgotten that she was that pale, pasty person. That at one point, she was alone and helpless. The outcast. But, that was only a dream, a chimera, it would never come true. Margaret had lost hope, trust, and faith in everything.

She used to believe in God. She thought that God was the answer he would cure her. Every day she prayed the same prayer. She prayed that one day, she would be normal, and beautiful, and smart, and loved. Every day she lost a little hope when nothing happened. When nothing got better. She kept losing hope until there was no more to lose. She was faithless.

The doctor walked in. His tread was light and airy. Margaret didn't think that was right. She thought it should be grim, and hopeless. Just as she had imagined her own walk to be. He pulled up a chair next to Margaret. He sat down and stared. He stared at nothing in particular. He just stared into the gloom of night.

"What is your answer?" he asked gently.