A young girl battles with cancer.
| I awake to the sound of the computerized beats of my heart. My eyes open to reveal a white ceiling and glass walls. Why glass walls? It’s horrible enough sharing this disease with my family, let alone every person walking by, or every child smacking their face and hands on the window, thinking maybe they’ll be able to see better. I feel like an animal, caged and alone, bound by glass and curious spectators.
Sometimes I think this four year battle might have been easier if my parents were here. But they can only manage to make it to the hospital once a week, sometimes not at all. They act as though forking out the money for hospital bills should be company enough.
This cancer is eating away my body; I can feel myself slowly disintegrating. My life is turning upside down. I’m not sure which way is up. Would dying be better at this point or should I continue to fight to live? I don’t know. All the cancer patients on television say they come to a point where dying doesn’t matter anymore, where it isn’t frightening. I wish I could feel that way. I really do. Now, all I can do is keep hoping. Can hope really do anything? It doesn’t seem to have helped so far.
A tall man with a white coat and a friendly face strides into my room. Why does it have to be white? The white is mocking me. It represents hope, but I’m in such an unhopeful situation.
“How are we doing today Courtney?” he asks in that unfriendly, doctor-like tone that tells you they really don’t want to care how you’re doing. Doctor Anderson does care though, I can always tell. I give him a weak smile; sometimes it surprises me how my deepest thoughts only become small and feeble actions.
“Have my test results come back yet?” I croak.
“Not yet. We’re hoping to get them today.” He goes about his business, checking the numerous machines attached to my body. Is this really living? I want a friend; I need a friend, someone to talk to. I don’t know what else to do to get through this. I’ve been in this hospital so long, everyone’s forgotten me.
“Have my parents called?” I ask, a hint of hope in my voice. Doctor Anderson noted it; I could see the sympathy in his face. I shake my head, not in need of an answer. A woman, dressed like Doctor Anderson, enters my room, asking to speak to him in private.
“I’ll be right back Courtney.” He smiles. He cares, I know it. The new doctor stops right outside of the door. This is the one time the glass walls come in handy. The woman talks for a few moments and I see Doctor Anderson’s face slowly melt into a deep sorrow. What could she have told him? Then I remember, he cares. He cares too much.
My brain numbs as I stare at him. I can almost feel the difficulty he’s experiencing trying not to look through the glass wall at me. He slowly turns and heads back to my door.
Before he has a chance to speak, I whisper, “How long?”
He shoves his hands deep in his pockets, “There’s nothing else we can do.” His gaze is fixed on the white tiles of the floor. I stare at him, unable to move, unable to speak, strangling on my own thoughts. “The nurse has gone to try and contact your parents. I’ll stay with you.” I nod my head, my mouth feels glued shut. I can feel the tears rising in my throat, that horrible lump you just can’t swallow. My vision is suddenly blurry. This is my last time to cry, my last time to laugh, my last time to live. Why am I still afraid of death? Why can’t I just lose hope already? I remember that Doctor Anderson is standing in front of me and quickly wipe away my tears. I notice he’s fighting some tears of his own.
The woman from before peeks into the room and shakes her head. My parents aren’t coming. Doctor Anderson sits on the bed beside me and takes my hand. He opens his mouth, then closes it. There’s nothing left to say. I can no longer hold back my tears. Childish sobs explode from my body, my soon to be lifeless body. Doctor Anderson holds onto me and I cry into his shoulder. I know he’s crying too.
We finally quiet our sobs and I lay back on my pillow. Doctor Anderson pulls up a chair and sits with me. We sit for hours, just thinking, sometimes uttering a word or two. I realize now that hope is gone. I can embrace death. Maybe those television shows weren’t lying?
My vision starts to cloud, the lights in the room start to fade. I’m exhausted. I have to sleep. I let myself fall farther and farther into a deep slumber. I hear a shrill, solid beep and then, silence.