I've looked in the mirror on this outdated vanity one too many times at this point. It's getting really old, too frustrating for me to look at the same sickly me day in and day out. With long, dark brown hair (which is quite frankly uneven in the back where it hasn't been cut in forever), hazel and green eyes with deep sleepless lines under them, a pale complexion riddled with small freckles, and sorrow everywhere you look, I appear more like a skeleton than a person. A hot, sticky summer rain pours down outside my bedroom window, thunder crashing, and lightning crackling. I've been sick for too long…
Between all the things that the doctors have discovered in the last year that are wrong with me, I'm miserable. No, I'm worse than miserable; I'm depressed, and worse than that? I'm always sick. I'm not allowed to go outside, I can't see my friends, and they probably don't even remember my name. They really only liked me because the school's star, senior quarterback liked me. No, he probably even loved me.
It would be amazing to go outside, to feel the warm summer rain soaking my clothes, my hair, to have it run down my face. I stand up and walk over to the window. Outside its pitch black and the lightning bolts are bold white, jagged lines across dark charcoal. It's beautiful to watch and the sound of the booming thunder and drumming rain in the background is soothing. My dinner is still sitting on the plastic tray on my bed, along with medication in the familiar white, plastic Dixie cup.
I get so tired of always having to take them… They make me light-headed, dizzy to no end. The world seems to sky dive off the edge of cloud nine. I wish I could be normal, one of the girls that can have whatever guy she wants and can do whatever she wants. I sit inside, disinfect everything anyone else touches as per my mother's orders, prick my finger before I eat anything, and take so many meds it would put any other person up there on cloud nine.
The lightning flash outside the window behind me illuminates my room, casting my shadow on the wall. It is so beautiful the way it drapes across my white wall.
The late night Georgia rainstorm rages on outside my window, the peaceful night only interrupted by the thunder and occasional lightning crash. My cat doesn't mind these storms, just like me. Thank the stars I'm not allergic to Smokey or life would truly have no meaning for me. Hearing a ping from my computer I take a peek at the screen. It's Justin… my sweet, loving Justin.
RckStr48: You there Katie?
KateyCat24: I'm here
RckStr48: Your mom around?
KateyCat24: She headed out a while ago to go to work.
RckStr48: Good. I don't need a repeat of last time
KateyCat24: How is school?
RckStr48: Lonely without you…
For as long as I've known Justin he's liked me, has crushed so hard over me. When my mom found out he asked me out she freaked out big time and wouldn't let me talk to him for weeks. Finally he made a different account and we talked every few nights.
RckStr48: How was the hospital?
KateyCat24: Same as always.
RckStr48: that bad eh?
KateyCat24: like always, sterile white rooms, white hospital gown, white walls, and the same pain.
RckStr48: Don't worry, it'll be over soon. You'll see.
KateyCat24: I hope you're right.
RckStr48: Have I ever been wrong?
RckStr48: Well I g2g work on last minute homework. Gnite beautiful
KateyCat24: Gnite goofy
Leaning back from my computer I look over to the end of my bed. My many, many pills await me as always. I pour them out of the cup and count them, one, two, four, six, seven. Seven, like every time I go to chemo. Count to seven and it will be over. Take your seven pills when you get home. I'm tired of this, time to end it.
I take my meds like I'm supposed to and walk back over to my computer. Signing on, I open my chat with Justin again.
KateyCat24: You still there?
RckStr48: I'm not supposed to be but yeah I'm here
KateyCat24: You want some company?
RckStr48: I kinda have to get off now
KateyCat24: I meant real company smart one
RckStr48: You know you can't leave your house…
KateyCat24: I'm taking a well-deserved vacation. You want company or not?
RckStr48: this won't end well but sure…
KateyCat24: be there in ten
RckStr48: You sure you want to do this Katie?
Signing off I walk over to my window. The lock is a simple one and I still keep myself physically strong. Dropping down to the earth below, I stretch, looking back up at the windowsill and laughing. It's been a long time since I last did that. Reaching down I trail my fingers through the cool, green grass and through a few of the small puddles at my feet. The rain feels fantastic on my back and streams down my face. I run down the street, away from my house, the meds, and the pain. I've always known where Justin's house is even though I've never been there before. It just makes me think of him whenever I see it, with its unfinished wooden fences and slightly unkempt grass. Walking up to his window I look in to make sure he's alone before knocking on the glass pane.
Almost instantly he opens his window as if he was waiting for me, and offers me his hand for help up.
"I can still climb in a window Justin" I whisper smiling at him and pulling myself up onto his sill.
"It's only polite to offer a lady a hand" he replies sarcastically, wrapping his arms around me and pulling me into his room, setting me back on the floor.
"Ha-ha very funny Justin…" I whisper as he tucks a loose strand of my hair behind my ear.
We haven't ever kissed, but he still acts like he wants to, and I've always had to run before he could take a chance, or even for me to take a chance. I almost wish I could be normal just so I could try and be with him… but he likes me because I act like I'm strong enough to fight it. He's never seen me cry, never seen me in true pain before, and that's only because after a while you forget what real pain is.
"Even when you're wet you're beautiful" he whispers hugging me carefully.
"Thanks Justin. It's great to know even when I look like a soaked cat I'm still beautiful in your eyes," I smile at him, hugging him back harder, "you don't have to be afraid to hug me, I'm not going to break in two."
"Good to see you still have your humor too" he whispers pulling me closer and rubbing my back.
For a while we just stand here in each other's arms, I haven't seen him in forever, just as he hasn't seen me in longer. Our bus stop was on the corner by my house so I can watch him get on and off the bus whenever I want, but he has to wait and hope I get better so I can come back to school. Finally I pull away and look him in the eyes,
"I don't think I'm going to get better Justin…"
"Don't say that Katie… If anyone can get over this it will be you" he said softly, letting his arms fall away.
"I've heard them talking about my chances of getting better, and they're not stellar. I know you're not supposed to believe the numbers they give you but this time it's different. They're easing me off my chemo, I don't go as often and I'm taking twice as many meds."
"You have to get better Katie… It won't be the same without you" he whispers sinking down onto his bed.
"I've been fighting this for so long I don't remember the exact amount anymore Justin-"
Cutting me off he whispers, "two years, three months, twenty two days"
In shock I sit down beside him, "you remember exactly how long?"
"How can I forget?" he replies looking up at me, the pain and loneliness showing in his beautiful forest green eyes.
"I didn't know you were keeping track…" I whisper resting my head on his shoulder.
"Of course I have, it's been hell and beyond without you" he replies wrapping his arms around me.
For who knows how long we sit there, me breathing in his scent, remembering how much I cared about him, how much I loved him, him just holding me while I shake.
"When do you need to be home by?" he asks finally breaking the silence that had enfolded us.
"I don't know right now… I don't really ever want to leave." I mumble.
"You're gonna have to go home sometime Katie…" he replies, "Do you want me to walk you home?"
"If you want to" I whisper rising to straighten my shirt.
"Then I will" he said as we walked over to the window, dropping out right behind me.
When we get back to my house I pause, not wanting to say good bye again. I don't want to feel like I'm losing him all over again.
"See you around?" he offers, looking just as uncomfortable as I feel.
"I hope so" I whisper back, hugging him.
Once he was gone I peek up over my window sill to check for my mom, to make sure she isn't in my room waiting for me. Swinging up I pull myself in the window and walk into my bathroom. Grabbing a towel I dry off and change into dry clothes. Walking back out I close my window and sit on my bed. It doesn't sound like anyone's home yet so I go get back on chat. My other friend Kathleen is on. She's in my chemo group and learned I was on chat only about two weeks ago. Now we talk back and forth a lot.
RosexBudx14x: Hey girl, how are you?
KateyCat24: Tired, frustrated, annoyed, at peace with myself
RosexBudx14x: Care to explain?
KateyCat24: The guy I like, who likes me back, won't kiss me. The doctors are losing hope that I will get better. My medications are getting tiring because I take so many
KateyCat24: You get the picture?
RosexBudx14x: Gosh you're conflicted
KateyCat24: Don't we all know it?
RosexBudx14x: I thought your chemo was working out the last time I talked to you
KateyCat24: That's what the doctors told me, but they told my parents something totally different. My chances of making it are slim to none. They expect me only to make it to Thanksgiving.
RosexBudx14x: Maybe it's best then not to get attached to this guy… you'll both hurt less
KateyCat24: I still won't know what it'll be like to actually be "in love" though… I want to know how it feels to love someone Kathleen
RosexBudx14x: Don't we all girl? Not many of us end up with guys that like us until we're better. You're one of the few lucky ones who have a guy who likes you and has supported you through all the crap.
KateyCat24: But he… nvrmnd… I'm tired of this all. The meds, the pain, the being left out of everything… I'm tired of it.
RosexBudx14x: It'll be over soon girl… Don't worry. I know you'll get better, you're the strongest person I know and if anyone can do it, it'll be you.
KateyCat24: Thanks Kathleen. You're the best.
RosexBudx14x: Don't I know it. Well you'd better get some sleep girl. Gnite
I sign off and walked over to my bed. My covers are warm and embrace me, letting sleep come just as my head hit the pillows.