Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's a TEASE!!!

Snip #4 from ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

A little scene set-up: Mia and her parents have just come from the doctor's office where the specialist has confirmed her diagnosis. Poor Mia. What is a girl dying of cancer to do?

Enjoy!

We arrived home shortly after six. Ben was already gone to the hockey game with Adam and his brothers, and I was glad for having just missed him. How could I tell him that I wouldn’t be around for his next birthday? I’d never see him enter high school and graduate. I wouldn’t teach him how to drive or be there to give him advice when he had girl troubles. Who would he call for a ride home from some party he sneaked out to attend? Who would he turn to when Mom and Dad were too busy with work or when he just needed a shoulder to cry on and not a judge?

What about my friends? How was I going to face them, tell them that I wouldn’t be there with them for our senior year? I couldn’t face their tears, their pity. Ricki would try to pretend that everything was fine at first. She’d try to go on, business as usual, but eventually she’d crack…just like she did the last time. Adam would be alright. I mean, we were friends and all but we only started hanging out in the first place because of Kal. We’d only gotten close when he’d begun dating Ricki.

But, Kal…oh god, Kal. This was going to kill him. All hope was gone now. I couldn’t hide behind the sliver of doubt that I’d cast with the hope of misdiagnosis. Our worst nightmare was now reality. How could I break it to him? How could I make him suffer like that? What would he do when I was gone? Who would help him through life? Who would be his best friend, picking him up, dusting him off, and cheering him on when he was down?

Not me because I was already dead. I just hadn’t dropped yet.

“Don’t tell anyone,” I told Mom and Dad after we walked in the front door and were taking off our coats. At their blank stares, I tossed my coat on a hook and shook my head. “Not yet. I don’t want anyone to know.”

“Mia,” Dad sighed. “You heard what Dr. Shreve said. There’s not much—“

“I heard her!” I yelled, suddenly very angry with him, with Dr. Shreve, with Dr. Lambert, with Mom, with everyone. “I know how much damned time I have left. I have left! Not you, not Mom, and not Dr. Shreve. Me! And, I don’t want anyone to know. Can’t you just respect that? Is that really too much to ask? Hell, I’m dying, here. Can’t you just do as I ask and not for once in your miserable lives question me?”

I didn’t wait for them to respond. Just turned on my heel and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time. In my room, I slammed the door, and then opened it and slammed it again for good measure. Rage still boiled within me, pushing me to new and higher peaks of anger. I lashed out, kicking the bed post, smashing my toes against the hardwood, reveling in the pain that continued to stoke the flames of my wrath. I whirled around, seeking out my next target. The desk. Within moments, all my meticulously ordered books, pens, pencils, and even the laptop were strewn around the room, the desktop devoid of even a single paperclip. Next came the dresser, and then the closet, and then the bed.

I tore through the room, a massively destructive tornado, laying waste to the village of my life. When it was over, when I’d finally spun myself to the point to exhaustion, I collapsed on my bed—stripped bare of pillows and linens—and stared up at the ceiling.

And came to a decision.

I wasn’t going to just sit back and wait for death to come claim me. Thursday afternoon after the appointment with Dr. Lambert and the ensuing conversation with Kal swung back at me with the force of a concrete wrecking ball. I’m not going to die today, and certainly not that way. I’d only been reassuring him that I was fine…that everything was going to be okay, but there was so much more to those words than I’d known at the time I’d spoken them aloud.

I may have been diagnosed with brain cancer, inoperable and thus terminal. The doctors may have given me only months to live, but that didn’t mean I was going to die of brain cancer.

No. If I had to die, then by god, I was going to do it my way. I said when. I said where. And, I was most definitely going to say how.