It started like any other week, just me at home, no school, lying in bed. Alone. Why? Because my parents left me when I was six, and I was put into care afterwards. They forgot about me, or so I think, and ever since, I've lived by myself. I have no education, so it's a bit difficult, but I work through it. It's a hit and miss sometimes. I made my own way home when they forgot about me, reading every street sign carefully before turning left onto the right street. The brown house with a black roof. I cried so much for the first few years, every day, in and out, but I had to get on with it. I had to learn that my foster parents only pretended to care for me. They didn't really care: they were only interested in the money. I learnt the way to do things without being noticed. Going to school, living in my foster house, and just everyday in general. Sad, right? It's alright, because I don't have anyone to tell me what to do, I am my own description of 'a free soul' but ever since I turned 13, weird, unexplainable things have been happening...
Day 1: I can't believe it's happening. I was reading the newspaper today when I saw it. The ad. I almost spit out my drink and dropped my cereal (the long-life, dry, survival bunker version). Or what was left of it. Ever since they left, I've been living off what was in the survival bunker, which I know is both dangerous and bad, but she isn't here to tell me off for eating the dry and crumbled snacks in the crunchy silver wrappers. Delicious. So cereal to me is dried nuts with hydrated milk powder. My day started off a bit rushed, because I ran out of survival bunker snacks from yesterday, so at around six in the morning, I crept downstairs, through the kitchen door, and into the back garden. My childhood died in that garden, so I didn't stick around for long. It was the place I last got to hug dad. My real dad. The sun was peaking through the dilapidated fence. It was stripped of its paint a week before my parents left. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Me, playing in the grass, rolling around and making daisy chains without a care in the world. Mum, sitting on a wooden chair, with her sun hat and sunglasses on, sipping on a glass of cloudy lemonade, with the sun beaming down on her perfectly blonde hair. Dad, clearing down the plants that had joined themselves to the fence, and scraping all of the paint off. Him and Mum were thinking of painting the fences bright colours, for me. They never got round to it. They were meant to do it the next weekend, but they were taken the Thursday before. My memories of Mum and Dad were as crystal clear as what the pond was 6 years ago. Now, it was a mouldy, algae-filled, dirty hole in the ground. Moss covered the carved stone, filling every little indent there was. Making it look like there was no stone there, but an extra layer of grass.
I thrust the key into the old, rusted, dilapidated lock. The lock that mum once got her finger stuck in, and the lock that opened the survival bunker that my mother and father created, filled with yummy snacks, because they had a theory, that one day, the world would end, and we would be the last people left on earth. Weird, right? That's why they got kidnapped. Adult-napped. The creaky door opened, and light filled the beetle shaped bunker for the first time in weeks, because normally, I would grab a box and run, and it would last me weeks if I just nibbled for lunch and dinner, but today, I ran out. I walked in slowly, expecting someone to be in there, but it was empty, and I felt a weird tingle down my spine. Something inside of me told me to stay and have a look around, because maybe Mum and Dad had left something behind for me. Maybe. I still hope and wish for the day that they come home and tell me the world is not going to end, and give me a hug, where we can all sit down together and eat the first family dinner in months. Years. Because normally, they would eat dinner in the basement. In fear. And I would be the only brave six year old in the world to eat dinner in a pitch-black dining room, which hadn't been lit up since the last owners. My parents were an old couple from World War 2, living a 21st century life. They had souls from World War 2.
I crept around, and the thing that first caught my eye was this cardboard box, covered in cobwebs. It had some sort of glow around it, which maybe nobody else would have noticed, but I did. Some sort of importance to me, which I hadn't realised yet. The one thing I was scared of, spiders. I reluctantly brushed the webs away, and ripped the box apart. Nothing. Just some more supplies, like soap, toothpaste, and three toothbrushes in a picture frame. Untouched. One big blue and black one for Dad, a smaller pink and white one for Mum, and a purple and yellow tiny brush. For me. Our names were indented to the wooden frame. I clutched it to my chest, as if Mum and Dad were in the boxes. I closed the box; my attention was drawn to the supplies. I was starving. My stomach rumbled. I opened up one of the vacuum packed plastic bags, and with all my strength, I ripped the seal of the bag. I grabbed as many of the round packets as I could, and ran. I locked the doors for both the bunker and the back door, sprinting through the garden to avoid any nostalgia. It didn't work. I just thought of Mum and Dad, and all the happy memories. But light turned to dark and happiness turned to sadness, because I found myself crying, remembering the day where I watched as my parents being dragged away, by people in black masks, through the door, and never to be seen again. I watched helplessly as they disappeared into nothing but black dots on the horizon. I always blamed myself for that. And here I am, wishing that I wasn't the weak little six year old I was, thinking that if I was just a tiny bit older, I would have been able to have help my parents, and I wouldn't be here. We'd be sitting together right now, enjoying being a family. But it isn't like that. I'm a bony, starving, stranded thirteen year old. Alone. Probably for the rest of my life. And guess what? My parents probably forgot I existed a long time ago, and don't even know I exist now. Maybe they were released and now live a happy life with two perfect kids, forgetting about the girl they left behind. The girl that once loved them.
Day 2: I can't move. I'm stuck. I just stare at the dented wooden wardrobe, where Mum once stored her long, luscious, velvety gowns. The ones that she wore to all the galas. I burnt most of them, but that's beyond the point. What just happened? I'm frozen solid. I blink three times, and pinch myself. It was real. I couldn't have been dreaming. It was physically impossible for me get up. I was in a state of shock. It happened at around three o'clock. I got up because I heard a tapping noise in the bathroom. I probably left the tap on from taking my daily half hour shower, which takes place every night, to relieve me of any stress. But it wasn't the tap. To be honest, I had no idea what it was. The green and white bathroom was empty, but there was something sticking out of the sink. I walked forward, my heart beating faster and faster the closer I got. This was it. Do or die. I stepped forward, and picked up the piece of paper, looking around me as I did so. It was ripped and crumpled up, with a brown stain in the bottom left corner. I scanned the piece of paper, in the pitch black. It said something about my parents. And how they were dead. Long gone. I read it countless times before I could register what it said. It was an official letter from the foster care place. They couldn't have been lying. But the address on the letter was completely different. It was somewhere on the outskirts of London. I live near central London, and this letter was addressed to somewhere familiar. Where? Where had I been on the outskirts of London? My foster care home. But how did the letter get here? Somebody might have dropped it off, but I don't exist. There is no record in the world with my name on it. I dropped off the radar when I disappeared from the foster place, and legally, this place is empty, but nobody bothers coming here, because it's the haunted house on the street. I was by the window once, watching all the happy kids come home hand in hand with their parents, when one kid shouted out.
Everyone! Look, I told you this house was haunted! Ghost girl lives in there! he said, pointing at me. Everyone looked my way, but I ducked below the windowsill. I watched from upstairs as the kids were dragged away. I was glad that nobody ever saw me, because if anybody had even caught a glimpse of me, I would be sitting in another one of those rotten care homes again. Back to what happened. I was so shocked. I couldn't believe what I had just read. I was an orphan.
The word orphan echoed through my head all day. Even as I went into the garden to pick a daisy for the vase, all I could think of was the fact that I was an orphan. I was all alone in this world. My grandparents were dead and I had no living aunties, uncles or cousins. Mum and Dad were all I had, and now, they were gone as well. I was alone. The letter stayed in the sink, and I didn't dare go back into that bathroom. Instead, I used the downstairs bathroom, which was filled with antiques my parents were too scared to leave lying around the house.
Day 3: Today is weird. It's been four days since I turned thirteen; everyday, everything has become weirder and weirder. I woke up to the sound of someone speaking. And some sort of knocking. On my bedroom door. The door was locked, so nobody could get in, but they were knocking. Anxiety itself wrapped its wiry fingers around me, and my chest closed up. It was gripping me tightly and I couldn't get out of it. I was stuck. I froze, listening to the banging on the door, as if the people were banging on my head. The wardrobe became a blur. I started to sweat. Panic swept across my bed. Fear had me in the palm of its hand. My eyes closed and I saw nothing...
It was impossible for them to have found me. Impossible. But they did. Finally, outside life had caught up with me. They diagnosed me with all these weird 'mental problems'. Everyday was plain. I followed the same routine; breakfast, checks, lunch, checks, dinner, checks, bed. I even tried to escape, but they just tied me down to the bed. I was trapped, with all these people walking in and out of my room, checking me, and inserting wires and injections everywhere. With all the time to myself, I realised I was no longer a prisoner in my own house: but a prisoner in my own body. My mind was racing like the cars on the screen. The noise was like a pencil sharpener, like the electric one Dad once brought home after his last day at work. The painful truth had finally caught up with me: my parents were dead, I was an orphan and I was stuck in a hospital. In the care of the nurses. They treated me like an object. I was moved from bed to bed and they fed me as they pleased. Some days I was given breakfast, and some days I wasn't. They looked down on me, as if they never wanted their spoilt children to be like me. I was given the nickname of outcast during 'Kid Sessions', where all the lucky children bragged about how their parents gave them treats and snacks, and brought them toys. Whereas, I waited for the day, where somebody would walk through the reception doors and ask to see me at the 'Check in and Out Ward'. In reality, there was only one word going through my head: escape. I needed nothing but an opportunity, or an open door. And somebody to untie me. If only somebody could have walked in and told the doctors what had happened, and whisked me away to a warm, cozy house, with food, to tell me the truth about my parents. I needed somebody to tell me that I wasn't an orphan or an outcast, but somebody that just dropped off the radar for a bit and now had a loving, caring family waiting for them.
My other enemy was hopelessness, because once it had seen me, it caught me and I was trapped inside of this web of helplessness. I just needed somebody, someone out there, who was thinking about me, and was ready to help. I had to come up with a plan. The days seemed to get longer and longer, and I had to endure the hospital. I was captured and stuck. The nurses only bothered checking on the children who had rich parents, who paid for treatment, whereas they didn't even blink at me. I waited patiently for the first few days, as if I had some expectation of someone coming to get me, but I always waited and waited for nothing. I watched constantly as people walked in and smiled at their kids. They would walk off and enjoy their relationship, whereas I had no relationship to enjoy. The closest person to me at this hospital who paid attention was this sneaky nurse. That's another thing, there is this creepy nurse who keeps staring at me. She walked in first during one of many 'Kid Sessions', whilst we were talking about what we like to do on a summer day. As if I would get out of here by summer. She watched me as I curled up to form a cage, that nobody would be able to enter, and nobody would be able to penetrate. I scribbled across my journal, and she stared at me. It was as if she was staring through me, and into my soul, looking at all my emotions and thoughts whilst I wrote this. She constantly watched me throughout the day and even watched me whilst doing my hourly checks! The cheek of her to watch me and expect me to not notice! Of course I noticed, and since last week, I have become very observant over this nurse. Every time she came near me, I felt as if something was going to happen. I knew something was going to happen. I could feel it.
Today was probably the worst I have had. My head felt as if it was going to explode when I woke up, and even though I am ashamed to say this, I started crying for the first time in years. All the times where my tears had built up but never leaked, was now flowing out of my eyes and onto my cheeks uncontrollably. The nurse even had the guts to tut at me, in front of me, and in front of all of her nurse friends, who then started laughing at me as well. I could feel my cheeks burn up with embarrassment, but I had to hold my head up and ignore them, because I had better things to do, like find out about that weird nurse. She wasn't in today, because normally, she had the duty of doing my one o'clock check, but today, Karen did it. She was the worst. She tugged at my blanket until I fell off the bed, but I wasn't fully on the floor, because the chains were pulling me back onto the bed. The metal chains dug into my wrists and ankles, and I was hanging off the bed, like a doll hung by string. Karen sneered at me, whilst pulling me up. I was helpless here, and the only help I could get was from the rotten nurses who weren't even willing to give up their help. It was all for money. I figured that out last week, and had a dream that if I was ever released, I would write a book on 'The scams of the Medical System'. It was a dream that would never be fulfilled, but I had to cling onto the hope that I had left. Or it would disappear and I would never see it again.
I had no idea of how long it had been since I last saw sunrise. I took advantage of the fact that I could watch deep blue merge into pink, and then into a bright, creamy blue. I had to keep the sunrise in my head, because at the moment, it was the only thing that was making me get up in the mornings. I also had a problem with keeping my identity. I was not going to let myself get labelled as another child of the system, following the rules of 'one lost and another gained'. I had no friends on the outside, and non on the inside. I had nobody. The thought of being all alone in a world of seven point six billion people was upsetting. More than upsetting, and more than disturbing. The thought made my chest close up, and I found myself hyperventilating. The machine started to beep, the nurses rushing in, and pulling wires out of me, replacing them with more wires and injections.
My heart stopped.
I could see my parents, crying over my bed, pleading with me to come back, and telling the nurses that I wasn't ready yet. I try to tell them that they have no reason to cry, and that I was okay. They don't seem to understand. It was like they couldn't hear me. I step beside Dad, and stubble covered his chin. He was almost unrecognisable. The same with Mum, because her hair was knotted and messy, and she was dressed as if she wasn't even Mum. Her skin looked stretched from stress, and it almost looked a bit translucent. She was dressed the way she told me never to dress. They were both unrecognisable. They didn't even look like my parents, and maybe they weren't. I looked up, into a luscious, velvety pure white light. The warmth drew me in, and I started to move. The further I got, the less I could see the two people, and my poor, bruised body, lying there unconscious, never to see the sunrise again. It looked nothing like me. In the light, two figures were outlined by the white cloud. They waited, and the closer I got, the more I could see them. They looked like familiar faces, but had an unearthly glow around them. I had to pinch myself the make sure it wasn't one if my delusional dreams. It was too real to have been fake.
I tried grabbing onto my parents. They told me that I would be safe with them up here and that they would never leave me again. They told me they never wanted to leave me and thought of me everyday. They told me they missed me every second they were away, but time caught up with them and they had to leave life at some point. They told me everything I wanted to hear. The whole sad story flowed out of their mouths like water flowed out of the heavenly waterfall. It was as smooth as the donuts that sat on the tray, in the gorgeous, stylish, modern living room. It was my heaven. I was sitting in the place that I had dreamed for, for all these years. And now that I was here, something felt weird. Something was missing. I was missing. My parents weren't talking to me, they were talking to a beautiful, young, blonde teenage girl, who was the complete opposite of me. That was the moment my dreams went down the window. It wasn't my heaven, it was my parents' heaven.
My heart started again.
I was pulled back into what Camille Pissarro would call
a beautiful planet, but an ugly world. A harsh world where a thirteen year old was unwanted. Obviously, I wasn't ready to go yet, because I was sucked into my body again, tangled in wires and machines. The opposite of the world that I had wanted to live in. I wanted to achieve inner peace, but every time I thought of my parents, a fire that was uncontrollable was lit up, and burned until I passed out again. I was now not just trapped in a hospital and my own body, but I was now trapped inside of a wheelchair. I mean, I'm weak, but not THAT weak.
The weird nurse came back, and whilst she did my checks, I stared directly at her and asked
Who are you? What do you want with me? She just blinked at me, surprised, and responded with the most fake sounding answer I had heard since I read the list of excuses I made for my parents stopping loving me.
Oh sweetie, I have to look out for someone, it's my job, and you look like you need the care; don't you agree? she said with her bitter sweet voice. Her voice did sound familiar though. And the cockney accent was considerably hard to miss. The caring tone in her voice was instantly recognisable, and I thought I knew who she was. Obviously I didn't, because a week later, she revealed her name during one of my daily checks. She wasn't even meant to tell me, it just slipped out. Her name was Abigail, a completely different name to my foster mother, which got rid of my theory that she was my foster mother. She looked nothing like her. My foster mother had thick and short blonde hair, with a large figure, whereas this woman had long, black hair and was quite skinny. She was also very tall. She resembled a pencil at times, with her smooth, flat hair and yellow apron. I laughed out loud and she flashed me a concerned look.
I'm glad to see you're finally starting to laugh! she said, smiling at me. I felt something warm going through me. Something fuzzy. I felt weird. It was a feeling I had last felt when a girl only a bit older then me approached me during 'Kid Sessions', and tried to make friends with me. We started to talk, but the session after, she didn't appear. She had disappeared. I asked one of the nurses about her. She said that Lucy had passed on during open heart surgery. It turned out that she was in need of a heart transplant, but the surgery didn't go right. I didn't try to make friends afterwards, scared that I would lose another friend.
I felt loved. Wanted.
The nurse started to do more of my checks, meaning that Karen wouldn't have to turn up. I was so glad to see Nurse Abigail walk through the door, whilst I was adjusting my bed position.
Here, sweetie, let me help, she offered, but I had worked out the control by then. The control to the bed was the closest that I was going to get to a carnival ride. Up and down, side to side and finally sitting up. It was just too much fun, and for some reason, I felt as if my childhood was coming back. But it wasn't. It was pretty sad, right? Comparing a hospital bed to a carnival ride. I wanted to escape so badly, and I was so desperate, that I asked her. And she only stared at me with disappointment until the check session ended. I wanted to die with embarrassment.
* * *
Sorry I haven't been able to write much, it's been a MONTH. A month in this hell. I've been so busy, finding out as much as I could about that weird nurse. I'm going to go to another Kid Session in a few minutes. I will report back later.
I am shaking as a write this. Anxiety, worry and fear have caught up with me and locked me up in a cage where I can't escape. It's dark and scary and I'm scared I will be stuck here for the rest of my life. She couldn't have just dropped it by accident, because she eyed the note and magazine and then looked at me. She WANTED me to pick it up. And I did. I fell into her trap. Like I did with Mum and Dad. A trap of love and care, only to be exchanged with darkness. Fear. Question. I knew there was a catch to her care. There always was. I let my guard down, and she took advantage of it. I should have learnt this when my parents left, but her loving smile and affection fooled me. It made me believe in love and care, when all that was waiting at my end was darkness and pain. A despicable decision that could haunt me for the rest of my life with one wrong word or action. I was stuck again. In quicksand this time though. It had trapped me and was now making me feel pain so slowly, that I had too much time to think about it. I would probably die making this decision. I still couldn't believe my eyes, even after I had read the note over and over again. Why did the nice people in life have to turn out to be deranged? She was so nice!
The note started with the words
I can only help you if you want the help. I read through those words at least twelve times. I couldn't understand what it was saying. It didn't make any sense to me. It was like another language. Why did she want to help me?
She said she wanted to meet me. But I didn't know how to get out. Right before lunch. That was the time slot for my check with her. Abigail. Abigail the weird nurse who said she could help me if I just met her. It sounded weird. Too good to be true. But I wanted to know what she wanted from me. So I went along with the plan, but didn't show any sign of agreement with Abigail when she came to do another check. We both carried on as normal. Until the day. The day where everything changed. She knew about my parents. Or so she told me she knew about my parents. I believed her. It started as a cold December morning, not snowing, but cold enough to snow. I wheeled myself out, cautiously, into the dark and dingy garden, looking at all the dead bushes and flowers. It was how I felt on the inside. Dead. I looked around, but Abigail was nowhere to be seen. She wasn't there. I checked the watch on my hand. It was sprinkled lightly in snow and I could only just see the time. Twelve. I was early, so I carried on looking around. It looked too beautiful to be the small garden in the back of a hospital. It had been lightly dusted with snowflakes that resembled sugar, and looked as if it had come from heaven. But not the heaven that I saw. It was different. I heard footsteps, coming closer and closer. But I didn't move. I simply watched the snow dance downwards, and let it fall into the palm of my hand, where it melted and turned into ice-cold water. A shadow came over me and I knew who it was straightaway. Abigail. She just looked at me with her loving eyes and started pushing my wheelchair, as if she was taking me on a tour of the gardens without saying anything. I knew what she was going to say anyway, so we walked (or in my case – wheeled) around the frosted white gardens. I didn't look at her, because I was scared she would say something and we would leave the gardens.
I have something to show you, she said.
I was more scared then ever. What if she was going to show me another hospital bed? One that she thought was better, but really, was just in another ward.
Okay, but I'm hungry, I responded, quietly, in a voice that even I didn't recognise. It sounded so ill and so weak, that it made me think I was really ill and I wasn't just kept here because I didn't have a home. I really wanted some normal food, because the nurses had stopped feeding me the food they fed the others. They told me that they could only feed the 'proper meals' to the kids that paid for them, and since I didn't pay for meals, they fed me beige. A beige coloured sweet soup, similar to porridge, but with no oats in it. It was watery and sometimes arrived with weird things in it. One morning, I woke up to find beige on the table, and when I went to eat it, it had a RING in it. I tried to hide it, but the nurses already knew my hiding places and took it from under my pillow. I was disappointed to find it gone, that night, when I went to play with it after the lights went out.
She took me to the canteen. The NURSES canteen. They all watched me, but I didn't care, because I was being fed the meal that I hadn't been fed in at least ten years. It was delicious. The type of food that celebrities ate at their parties. The sort of parties that I watched in the news. They weren't on the news for a good reason. However, the meal was sitting in front of me, and I didn't know where to start.
Honey, if you want, I can cut up the meat and veg for you, so it's easier. I assume you've only eaten with a spoon. Here, let me have a go, she said. She cut up the meat and veg as if they were butter, and didn't spill the gravy everywhere (like I did). I ate it like it was going to be taken off me any minute. The plate was completely clean and I was stuffed. It was like any other meal I had EVER had in my entire life. The meat, whatever it was, was cooked to perfection and had crispy edges. The veg, potatoes and these green pencil shaped things, were dredged in gravy and tasted even better than the crumbled biscuits I lived off only a few months ago. For a minute, I never wanted to go back, because I would be left by myself, and would not have anyone to feed me and care for me.
After the meal, we went back into my room, and I asked why.
But you said you wanted to show me something! I begged, wanting to stay away from my room for as long as possible.
Abigail looked like she wanted to cry, flicking through my notes. She carefully rubbed a tear away from her cheek.
Um yes, but we need to do your, your checks, she said, sounding unsure. She quickly walked out of the room, and returned with the head doctor.
They whispered whilst looking through my notes, but I only heard a few things.
Break the news... she liked the gardens... how about there... were the only things I heard. Abigail stared at me, with her red eyes. She had something weird in her eyes, and I knew what it was. A feeling I had felt when I was first captured. Pain. She looked more upset than ever. I couldn't understand why. She just looked as if she had just been stabbed.
Without a word, she transferred me to my wheelchair, and wheeled me out the room, sobbing. I looked up at her, confused, but she wouldn't say anything. The garden looked just as amazing as it had an hour ago. We sat down on a rotted wooden bench, and she adjusted my wheelchair, to make sure I didn't roll back. We weren't going anywhere for a while. She sobbed for a few minutes, and I just watched, not wanting her to tell me what had made her cry. A million thoughts went through my head, as to why she was crying. I thought she was going to get fired, but at the same time, I thought I was getting shipped out. I didn't know what to believe. But the thing that came next, was something I wouldn't have dreamt of. All of a sudden, the garden around us had collapsed, and was replaced with the colour brown. The flowers had rotted and the trees were dead. Everything was falling apart around me.
Cancer, was all she told me.
I didn't know who or when. But one of us had cancer.
You, she said through sobs.
I didn't know what she was saying. How could I have cancer? Since when? I didn't understand what she was saying. She wasn't speaking English. It wasn't registering through my head. Why me? I still didn't get it. How could I have cancer? It explained the fact that I nearly died but it couldn't really be happening. Time had caught up with me and I was stuck. Again.
Death had decided to take me hostage and watch me suffer. It had locked me in a cage, which was black and covered in thorns, because I wasn't allowed to leave this world in peace. They had to watch me suffer. I knew that straightaway I would lose my sense of identity, because my hair would disappear and I would be left looking like all of the other cancer patients. I couldn't lose my only sense of identity, because it was all that was left. My hair was thick and long, with both light and dark blonde. My dad used to call me Muddy, because my hair had highlights that were what the news would call 'dirty blonde'. Ever since my parents left, I had never had a haircut, so my hair now dropped all the way past my waist and was quite wavy. I never started to tie it up, until I came to the hospital, where they gave me these black round things, which they told me to tie my hair up with. I was confused because I didn't know what to do with them, and they just laughed at me and told me that I was living on Mars. So ever since, my hair had been tied up in a high 'ponytail' because they said they couldn't place any injections in where my hair was. They said it was either the hair tie or cutting my hair off.
A week later, my head was shaved, so that it wouldn't fall out during chemotherapy. Instead, there was no hair to fall out. My thick and long hair, which had taken me all my life to grow, had disappeared within minutes. I held my hands out, as it was shaved, to feel the last of it, as it came down in mounds of blonde. I was now bald. The cool yet sharp blade went from the back, to behind my ears, and to the front of my head. Every little hair was gone. I tried to take a bit of it and tie it up with an elastic band, to at least keep a little bit, but one of the nurses took it off me and put it straight in the bin. Along with all my hope.
Abigail now had the duty of changing my nasal cannula (my nose tube) that made it easier for me to breathe. It was looped behind my ears and under my nose, and was connected to a noisy machine that sat next to my bed. It was so awkward when everyone else tried to sleep and my noisy machine kept beeping. I was flashed with the odd dirty look, by the healthier children. I occasionally attended 'Kid Sessions', so that I would be able to talk to a few kids my age, but they all turned their noses up and carried on if I was never there. They wouldn't even remember me if I was to die after my next chemo. They just didn't bother.
I looked at the bright and vibrant garden. The people who live in the house next door must have thought I was weird. A fifteen year old, finally matured girl, sitting in a wheelchair. Bald. Just staring into thin air. Yes, I am fifteen. The last time I had picked up this book was when I got my head shaved. You missed my two birthdays, but they weren't anything too important. My fourteenth birthday was just Abigail and I. She sat on the end of my bed, with a cake. A small, pink, frosted cupcake, with tiny butterfly sprinkles, from the nurses' lounge. She was the best. But my present from her was even better. A small pendant, with a glass pebble filled with water and a pink orchid leaf. The first flower I picked when we went into the garden for the first time. And now, I would keep it with me forever. She slipped it round my neck, and I held it around my fingers, admiringly. She smiled. I smiled. Probably the best day of my life.
My fifteenth birthday was okay, but Abigail wasn't here with me to celebrate. She had the flu from another patient, but she asked the cook if they would deliver a proper meal to me, and the cook did. A full roast dinner, with tender chicken, green beans, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and even a fancy sauce which the cook called 'sauce a poivre', which she told me meant mustard and peppercorn sauce. I finished everything in the comfort of my own room, and thanked the cook when she came in with a cupcake, topped with chocolate frosting. It was just as delicious as the food. I took a minute before bed to say a silent thank you to Abigail. I climbed into bed hoping to see Abigail the next morning.
She came in with a fresh face and smile that was hard to miss. I was too excited to sleep, and I climbed out of bed and gave her the biggest hug, saying thank you every five minutes. She adjusted my nasal cannula, and went to get my pills. I waited, looking up at the ceiling that I had just been introduced to a few years ago. I was no longer stuck in a prison, but now could say that I belonged somewhere. Abigail returned, pale, and looking down at her shoes.
We're going somewhere. I have something to show you, she said.
Yay, I said, but was interrupted by her.
No yay. Serious business, she told me, as if someone had just slapped her.
I looked up at her, worried, but she just gave me the pills and walked off. I put on my favourite, and only pair of shoes, these black and white trainers. I slipped on my summer jacket, and waited for her to put me in my wheelchair. She returned with a phone in her hand, and then put me into my wheelchair and started wheeling me out of my room. I watched, as I left the room, and was pushed out, through the automatic door, and into fresh air.
My hair blows in the wind. I breathe in this weird but natural scent, different to anything else in the hospital. We got into a car. The seats were black and she strapped this 'belt' onto me. We went past street signs and houses, as I felt a sense of pride within me, to finally be free. But the clouds went black, and soon, the windscreen was covered in water. Abigail muttered something under her breath, too unpleasant to repeat. I waited, patiently, but the excitement ran through my veins, and I was more excited then ever in my life. We approached this field, with stones sticking out, in specific areas. I looked at her, puzzled. She picked me up, and carefully placed me in my wheelchair. She cleared her throat. She was crying.
I know you haven't been here before, because it's a graveyard, where dead people are buried, she said.
Poor old Pat never taught you right.
How... who... how do you know Pat? Who - who are you? I asked her, worried something was going to happen. She carried on, as if nobody had said anything, until we reached two of the smallest and oldest plaques. They were covered in moss and dirt, and Abigail wiped away all the dirt, to reveal two names too familiar to forget.
The unforgettable names of my parents. I sat there in shock. My nasal cannula tightened around my nose and I started to hyperventilate. Abigail started to press things on the machine, and I went back to normal.
I'm Abigail, your foster sister, she told me,
Pat's real daughter.
I looked at her if she was an alien. She was the girl who used to feed me, and dress me, and walk me to school. The bony little 16 year old, who used to sit on her phone, with some bubblegum in her mouth. It all made sense now. I started to cry, as the wind blew and the rain poured, I sat there, in the tranquil graveyard, in front of my parents' graves. I had many questions rushing through my head about Abigail, but none of them came out. I just watched my parents' graves. She had wheeled me out here to show me my parents. Somebody had really cared all along.
I couldn't breathe. My chest tightened up. Cancer had won. Death told me it was my time now. I had to go. My life slipped out of my body. In my heart, I felt peace, as I watched from above. Abigail. And the thing I had once lived only for, the creamy orange, mixed with light pink, and a shade of blue that put my body to peace. I wasn't angry. I wasn't sad. I was at peace. There was no internal conflict within me. All I could say was, until I see the sunrise again.