Faceless doctors shuffle through the hallway. Theirs are the same impersonal expressions I've memorized for three months. Tissues, needle syringes, and a button to call for reluctant assistance decorate this bleak room. Despite the dominance of gray and white in my surroundings, the window is my portal to crimson skies as the sun sets over the horizon. Red, orange, and yellow leaves glide through the air gracefully until reaching the ground with a defeated thud. On a nearby tree, a single leaf clings to it's branch like a boy to his mother's skirt.
The nurse enters the room to begin her daily ritual. She greets me with a smile and begins preparing my pills and shots. My eyes race across the list of medications she holds in her hands. The words blend together like an ocean of letters,though each one is written with cold precision. Side effects, adverse effects, antioxidant effects of cancer stack atop one another to present the message that is already implanted into my brain. A memory resurfaces reminding me my former life is over.
I felt missed during my first three week in this room. Piles of cards and gifts flowed from the tables. Snacks, colorful balloons, and aromatic daisies brightened my environment. However, time passed and the presents began to diminish until only a single card remained. Visitors, dwindled too until only solitude remained. Finally, an epiphany came to me. All these cards and gifts, expressing their sympathy had turned into a class project. In kindergarten, if a friend was sick, all the students made one big card and signed it. My misfortune was no exception for a project. Eventually, only my parents visited me daily. I became obsessed with the trees that withstood the wind by my window. The world passed by me with no hesitation.
The doctor enters the room with my parents today. His ironed face no longer fills me with uneasiness. He takes a seat beside my bed and takes a deep breath. Mom's eyes seem prepared to cry at as Doctor Rice shuffles through his papers. “Your skin cancer is beginning to spread faster”, he says. “The medicine hasn't made dramatic improvements. We could start you on chemotherapy with treatments that could destroy the main cancer cells. The rest could be surgically removed afterward.”
“How long it would take for the cancer to be completely removed”, I ask.
He avoids a straight forward reply and says rather vaguely ,“That depends on how well the chemo works and how much of it your body can take.” His eyes are empty of promise.
Who will use my bed once I'm gone, I wonder. Suddenly, my eyes catch the last leaf as it release itself from it's branch and falls to the ground. Momentarily, the janitor rakes it away among the tides of its siblings.
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