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I look around. The room is dead quiet. I try to lean forward, so I can see if the doctor’s coming, but I don’t have the strength. He should’ve been here by now, but he’s not. I’m not supposed to fall asleep during the day, so I only rest my eyes. That way I get more space to think.
This last year has been hard. Not just for me, but for my family too. When I was diagnosed with cancer, they all freaked out. They didn’t say anything, but I knew what they must’ve felt: nervous, angry and most of all scared, of losing their little girl. And my girlfriend, Emily, just looked at me. I remember the expression on her face when I told her the news. She looked so small and hurt, almost like if somebody hit her right in the face. And it’s still hard for her to be brave, but she tries her best. For me. And I try to be brave. For her. If I’m scared so is she. Sometimes it’s hard. I have to be brave all the time. For Emily, my family, my friends. Well, it’s getting easier and easier. I know my fate, and I’ve excepted, but in the start, it was hard to process what would happen. At least I had hope back then, but it’s been a year, and nothing has happened. Last month I was told I only had moths left, and there was nothing they could do. Of course I haven’t told anybody, especially not my family. It would be pointless to make them worried about something they can’t change. Simply pointless and sadist.
I hear a door opening. I open my eyes in hope that it’s the doctor. It isn’t, though it’s my favourite nurse. Olivia. She always takes good care of me. She’s a voluntary nurse so I’m just happy whenever she’s around. She gets closer and closer. She sits down at the end of the bed, smiling. Her hair is tied op in a neat ponytail. She looks down at her hands for a second, and slowly looks up. She has a soft look in her eyes. And I know what that means. Bad news. It was the same look she gave me when my first treatments didn’t go as planned. She opens her mouth to say something, but I stop her: “I know… no progress…” I say it almost like a whisper. “I’m sorry” she says, like it’s her fault. “You know it’s not your fault, right? Keeping me alive is like trying to drink whiskey from a bottle of wine”. She smiles at my joke. But it’s not a real smile… I hate those smiles. I’ve been getting so many lately, as if people can’t to be happy around me. Sometimes I think it would all be way easier if I wasn’t around…
But then again, I should be happy for the time I have left. And grateful. The problem is just that… I look at the clock. It’s 15:47, which means that not only is the doctor late, but so is Emily. The bus is probably late. Or maybe her class ran over time… it worries me when she’s late. Not only could she be hurt, but I don’t know where she is. I reach out for my phone, but I only make it halfway. It feels like something is forcing my arm down. Olivia is still here, so I ask:
“Can you give me my phone?”. She nods. She places the phone in my hand. I’m about to ask for my headphones but she already knows. “Just a second”. Music is the only thing that keeps my worries, my bad thoughts, everything that I don’t need on my mind, out of my head. And right now, I really need it. Olivia places my headphones on my head. “Are you good here?” she asks politely. “All good” I say. I find my playlist. Emily would’ve loved it. We both appreciate old music, and that’s pretty much my whole playlist. Mostly Queen and Elton John. Right now I need something happy, so I put on ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. I lip sync the first verse but then it’s too tiring. I close my eyes and listen to the music. It makes me forget everything besides the song. I take another look around the room. Still the same white walls. The same empty bed next to mine. The same ticking clock on the wall. Still no Doctor. I close my eyes again. I’m so tired. And so, I fall asleep.
I don’t know how long it’s been, but I can’t hear the music. I hear something else, but I don’t know what it is. And something is touching me. But I can’t open my eyes, they’re too heavy. I don’t know what’s up and what’s down. It’s like I’m trapped in some sort of bubble. Or like if I’m in a hole. Falling. I seem to get deeper and deeper down, and I can’t get up. I try to scream but I don’t have the strength. So I give in. And fall asleep, for the last time…