Death. As kids, we are terrified of this, but always reassure ourselves it won’t happen for a while. But for the past year and a half, reassuring myself has done nothing- I’ve already known the truth.
“She has one month.” My doctor whispers, leaning against the navy blue doorframe I know all too well.
“What do you mean, one month?” my mother questions him, matching his volume.
My father strokes her arm gently. “To live.” His voice is hoarse, as if he’s been crying. And he has. He looks into the door and I immediately sit back in my chair. I’m not supposed to listen. The three of them step back into the room.
“Honey?” Mom sits down next to me. “There’s something we have to tell you.”
I already know what she’s going to say. “What is it?”
Dr. Morrison speaks instead of my mother, whose words would turn to tears if she tried to talk. “You have...” even he’s starting to cry now. “One month...” Tears start to brim the corners of his eyes. “To live.” And he lets his tears fall.
Although I already knew of my fate, mine fall, too.

“Alyssa?” my babysitter, Delilah, knocks on the door. “Time for dinner.” I lift my face from being mashed into my pillow. I run to the door and open it, wincing as it creaks. My babysitter looks at my tear-stained face and apologizes. She tells me to get back into bed, asks if I need anything.
“No,” I reply, although I need lots of things. Hope. Pride. Reason. She leaves me to go downstairs.
“Hey, honey...” my mother says as she reopens the door and flips on the light switch. “I found this by your backpack.” Mom holds up a list I made at school.

2 things I want to do before I die
1. Make someone say “Wow.”
2. Stand up for myself

I know she’s read it by the look on her face. She looks surprised. This isn’t recent, though, I made it in sixth grade.
“Yeah.” There’s nothing else for me to say.
“You know what? We might be able to make these happen.”
I sit up. “Really?” So maybe there is some hope. Mom nods. She pins the list up on my board and kisses my head.
“Now go get some dinner.” She says. And I obey.

Three weeks later, I stand in front of the mirror in my room, smoothing out the wrinkles in my new dress for the school talent show. “Omigosh, you look amazing!” Mom exclaims, admiring my outfit. “Twirl again!”
“Did you get my guitar from the garage?” I ask her. Realizing she hasn’t, she excuses herself and promises to be right back.
While she’s gone, I look at myself in the mirror. Amazing? I’m pale, skinny, and bald. The dress looks okay, I guess. But I choose to be proud of myself tonight.
“Here we go.” Mom wraps the guitar strap around my shoulder. “Do you want to practice one more time?”
“No, I’m ready.” I respond.
“Someone’s confident.” Mom smiles. “I like that attitude. Meet me in the car, okay?” I nod.
I have three minutes before my mom wants to leave. I figure I’ll text my half-friend, Jess, to tell Mr. Greene I’m on my way. I head out the doorway to go get my phone but stop when I see the calendar on my wall. It’s the 21th. I have... one week to live. I shouldn’t be at school anymore. This is my last time I’ll ever go to school again. Tears start to form in my eyes. I don’t know why I’m crying. I’ve always been teased for my bald head and my skinny, pathetic arms. But it’s my second home; I’ve grown up there. The tears fall and make small pat sounds on my guitar.
“No,” I say, thinking out loud. “This isn’t going to ruin my night.” I wipe my eyes, put on my brave face, and stride out the door to my mom’s car.

Backstage at the talent show, my classmates are bubbling with excitement. Some are rehearsing their act, some are just breathing deep, like I am.
“Next up, we have Alyssa DeTello from seventh grade, playing on her guitar! Give it up for Alyssa!” There is a round of applause from the audience, but on the faces of a few of my classmates are smirks.
“Baldy is going to give us a show now, isn’t she?” Leslie Jenner sneers. “Look, her guitar is almost as shiny as her head!” The writing from my notebook flashes back to me-
2. Stand up for myself

“Maybe that would be funny if I chose to be like this, Leslie,” I start, my voice shaky. “But I don’t. I have cancer, I always will, so get used to it.” Maybe it wasn’t as impressive as they do it on the Nickelodeon shows, but I sure shut Leslie up. I walk onstage with my head held high, and start to strum. The judges seem to be impressed as they scrawl down notes. I finish, and the first judge stands up.
“Great job, Alyssa. That was beautiful.”
The second judge stands. “Wonderfully done. I enjoyed it very much.”
The third judge rises. I cross my fingers. Please say it. “I have one word for you, Alyssa- WOW.” It didn’t take me that long, but I completed my list. I walk forward to bow, and suddenly I’m falling.

I sit up in a hospital bed. “Where-where am I?” Doctor Morrison is in front of me.
“You’re growing weaker, You’re... dying.”
I’m still brave Alyssa. I don’t cry. “Where are my parents?”
“We’re right here, sweetie. We want you to know we love you.” My mom speaks for my dad, who’s crying. They both are sobbing. “We love you.” I know I’m drifting away when my deceased grandma comes in through the door.
“Ready to go?” she asks.
“I am.” I reply.
If the story of my life isn’t as depressing or as sad as a girl dying should be, I’m sorry. But everyone should have a happy ending.


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carebearsandpencils (joined over 8 years ago)

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