Deep_Breaths

United States

I AM
owner of ALL the books
a grand writer (I hope!)
really hungry
1/3 of the Three Musketeers
feeling poetic
in love with life
#christian
a ballerina <3

Message from Writer

My Fave Books:
-The Hot Zone (by Richard Preston)
-The Giver (by Lois Lowry)
-Where the Forest Meets the Stars (by Glendy Vanderah)
-To All The Boys I've Loved Before Trilogy (by Jenny Han)
-The Fault in Our Stars (by John Green)
-Wilder Girls (by Rory Power)
-The School for Good and Evil series ( by Soman Chainani)
-ALL the Hunger Games (by Suzanne Collins)

The Fine Line Between Love and Hate (updated)

November 24, 2020

FREE WRITING

5
    I rub a sweaty hand across my bare scalp. The fabric of my pillow feels like a cactus, and my sheets like an oven. Gazing up at the stark, white ceiling of my reserved hospital room, I toss and turn, unable to fall back asleep. Just another perk of cancer. 
    Mom is out cold on the little chair in the corner of my room. I don't know how she sleeps there nearly every night. I sit up to see what time it is. My head is pounding so loud I'm afraid Mom can hear it. 2:47 a.m. Ugh, I'm bored out of my mind. 
    After channel surfing through my small glitchy TV, I look over at my communication board and read that today I get to enjoy another round of "Chemo for Whitney."
    Whoopee. 
    I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was thirteen, around three years ago. Leukemia is a cancer in the blood and bone marrow, in case you didn't know or hadn’t googled it by now. 
    We thought it was gone halfway through year two, but then I had a recurrence. The hospital admitted me into a room that I'd have to stay in until I was decent enough to go home. The only bright side is I got to decorate my room.
    Now, Mom comes over every day (more or less) and sometimes stays on the couch overnight. She brings me a new book or magazine most every time she comes. Today it's “A Wrinkle in Time”, one of my favorites as a little kid. 
    I remember the first time Mom read to me. I was four, maybe five and she pulled out a nursery rhyme book and I just inhaled all the words and sentences and they felt like music to my little ears. Now I use the stories to escape the reality of my life.
    When I was first admitted into the hospital, I was unnaturally skinny due to the cancer, poor Mom looked like a horrible parent (even though she gave me food like nine times a day), so much so that you could count my rib bones and hold my hip bones, and I had bruises all over my legs and torso. It looked like I had been horribly abused. After being here for about a year and a half, I'd gained a reasonable fifteen pounds. And most of my bruises had turned from dark black and blue marks to pale pink blemishes. 
    I had to spend my sixteenth birthday here. My favorite nurses came in and brought me loads of books and the hospital cook, Daphne brought me an extra couple of puddings (and a slice of pizza, shhh). Then my doctor, Dr. Murphy gave me twenty dollars to spend in the gift shop, which of course I spent on books. It was a pretty decent birthday, to spend in the hospital at least.
    Since I couldn't fall back asleep, I read “A Wrinkle in Time” for a second time before Mom woke up.
    "Mornin' sunshine" She's been saying that every morning since I was seven, and it just stuck.
    "Fine." I reply, stifling a yawn.
    Mom opens our "luxurious breakfast menu", and settles on eggs and bacon. I begrudgingly order a waffle and strawberries, even though I probably won’t eat much of it. Mom flips through the channels on the TV and finds our personal favorite, America's Next Top Model. 
    When I was still at home, Mom and I would sit on the couch and eat buckets of popcorn while watching ANTM. 
    Our breakfast comes and I eat two strawberries and half my waffle. Mom, on the other hand, eats all hers, three of my strawberries, my other waffle and the half I ate off of. Deb, my all time favorite nurse, comes in to check my vitals. After that, Deb leaves and Mom goes home.
    This is the time I love but also hate. I can nap without anyone watching my every breath, but I'm alone and have no one to talk to. I call Deb back and she sits with me until she has to go to her next patient. Deb's the best, and I've made a checklist to determine the best nurse. (I have a LOT of free time) 
    1. No stupid baby voices while taking blood. 
Oh, honey sweetie teddy bear! Did that give you an ouchie, do you want a puppy band-aid?
    2. Doesn't pun your illness
Don't worry, it’s not that bad! You'll see. (Patient is blind)
    3. Sneaks you extra food, like pudding (and not the crappy cafeteria food)
    4. Get's blood on their first try.
I mean, come on, my arm isn't a dartboard!
    Later, after waking up from the nap I didn't know I took, Mom's back and she's brought “Moby Dick”. I've read this one for an assignment in Literature class. That was pre-cancer, of course because now I’m homeschooled.
    Mom and I finish an ANTM rerun and then, “whoop-dee-doo”, time for chemo. Mom sits in the chemo room with me every time I have to have my treatments. 
    I remember when I had my first treatment, I was so worried about losing my hair. To think, before I felt the pain of cancer, I'd decided I would rather be sick than lose my 'precious hair.' Now, I couldn't care less. Being bald is great! All the fun wigs and soft head scarves. (But I hate the irritating pillows).
    Today, my chemo nurse was Lizzie. Lizzie was one of the good nurses too. She lets me eat an extra cup of pudding with my daily meds. Gotta love that! 
    I read all of “Moby Dick” and reread some of “Romeo and Juliet” before chemo was done. I've read “Romeo and Juliet'' so many times I somewhat understand it now. 
    Lizzie brought me back to my room, although I could probably walk around this hospital backwards if I had to. But Lizzie insists she comes because 1) she wants to make sure I get back and don't get sidetracked and 2) so she can bring me my pudding, because she doesn't fully trust me to get it on my own after I took four last Wednesday (I was only hungry for pudding, what's so wrong with that?!).
    Once I choked down my lovely cocktail of meds and one or maybe two puddings, I crawled into bed and watched, yep you guessed it, ANTM. Mom left after we watched the episode where Rivera gets kicked off. (We hated her so it was great!)
    Then I take a shower and brush my teeth before getting BACK into bed to watch more TV or possibly read. 
    The next morning I have Dr. Murphy's morning abundance of pokes and prods followed by Debs check in and Mom's visit and book drop-off. (Today was Pride and Prejudice, one of my personal favorites.)
    After all that fun, I decide to wander the halls, because walking around a lonely hospital that smells like bleach screams fun. 
    I've been walking for a little while before I crash into someone. Someone new, I should know. I know every patient like the back of my hand. The someone is a boy, a tall boy, a tall boy who is staring at my head.
    I immediately pull the hood up on the jacket I'm wearing. I glare at the boy. He's got gray moonstone eyes and dusty chestnut hair. Kinda cute, but not very polite.
    "Excuse you." I snap, not trying to be kind or welcoming at all. 
    "Sorry. Um, I'm Drew," the boy answers, clearly taken aback by my annoyance. "Who're you?" Drew asks, not nearly as irritated as I am. I lean my weight onto my left leg and place my hand on my hip, power pose.
    "I'm Whitney." I say, not having this one bit.
    Drew nods and walks right past me, peering back several times, thinking I don't notice. I roll my eyes so hard that I'm afraid I'll see my brain if I roll them one more time, a little dramatic but you get the point. 
    I stroll back to my room and Deb's in there waiting. "How was your walk, Whit?" She asks this while taking my temperature with the annoying one that goes under your tongue.
    "Aw-key." I spit out, not quite reaching okay.
    Deb laughs, "I've done this for so long, I speak fluent thermometer talk." I don't fully laugh, I'm still somewhat on edge from Drew. Deb doesn't notice. "Alright, you're all good!" Deb announces after listening to my heart.
    She leaves and I finish Romeo and Juliet. I hear a knock on my door. "Mom, you know you don't have to knock!" I yell. The door opens, in peeks Drew. "What? Why are, what are you doing in my room?!" I demand. He opens his mouth but no words come out. 
    "Well?!" I ask again. He just points to the door and mumbles out a slow response. 
    "I saw you come in here and I'm sorry for staring, I’m just not used to… uh it’s strange to see, uh. Nevermind." Yeah, like that helped.
    "Whatever," I retort and he looks, once again, very confused. "You can go now." I say, waving him away. Chemo might be to blame for my moodiness, or I'm just ticked.
    "Oh, okay." He walks out the door. I notice he's left a book. Questions crawling around my brain, I stand up and snatch the book off the table.
    There's a sticky note left on it. "Whitney, sorry for being an idiot! From Drew (the idiot)" How cliched. The book is “Lord of The Flies”. Huh, I haven't read this one yet. I look up and see him wandering back down the hall in another direction, he's probably lost. 
    I stand up and when Drew walks past it for a third time, I whisper-shout, "Are you lost or just stalking my door?!"
   He smiles. "No, no. I just can't seem to find my book." I scoff. 
   "You seem to have left it in my room with a conveniently placed note, hmm." Sarcasm edging into my speech.
    He laughs. "You really do NOT like me, do you?" Hm. He's got no idea. 
   "Not in the least," I reply without hesitation. "So, you lost? Or a stalker? And how’d you know I love to read?" I ask once more. He doesn't answer so I spin on my heels and begin to walk into my room.
    He grabs my hand and I snap it away. "What the heck?!" I start to yell, before he places a hand over my mouth.
    "I'm sorry, really. Just, c'mere." C'mere, what terrible grammar. 
    I follow him to the fourth floor, though I don’t want to. After floor three, I was starting to get somewhat tired, but I hid it well. He leads me into a small room I'd never seen. Either it's new or I'm very non observant.
    Drew opens the door and I walk in. The light flickers on and my heart skips. There are shelves of books. Tons of them, too.
    "How could I have missed this?" I utter under my breath. I turn to Drew, "The hospital has a LIBRARY!?" The thought has fully developed and I run (kind of) through the isles. 
    I see Shakespeare and Melville and Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott and all the other classics.
    "Wow," I gush. Drew is leaning against the wall, watching me run around the library. I turn back to him,"How'd you know about this?" I wonder out loud. He smiles (for like the eighth time).
    "I have been up here for a little while and I've been wandering around, so I've discovered a few things." 
    "Why have you been up here?" I ask, not thinking anything of it. He grimaces. I can tell it's a sensitive subject. Still curious, I sit beside him on the floor. 
    "It's a rare condition called 'hypertrophic cardiomyopathy', or HCM, it's a heart muscle disease." I was still confused. He tells me that he was diagnosed a couple weeks ago. He can't leave the hospital (similar to me). 
    I don't know what suddenly possesses me, but I give Drew a soft kiss on the cheek. He turns to me and blushes. "Is it deadly?" I stutter, I scold myself mentally for doing so. He winces. 
    "Uh, yeah. The doctors said if we don't operate then it's pretty much a death sentence." 
    I frown, thinking of how to change the subject.
    “So, how’d you know I loved books more than life itself?” I ask.
    “I’ve seen you walking through the hospital, haunting the halls like a ghost. And you know what? Every single time you’re knee deep in a book. I honestly don't know how you keep from running into things.” Drew says, laughing softly.
    I laugh, too.
    “Actually,” I begin, “you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve run into.” Drew looks at me curiously. I smile, remembering all the stupid things.
    “The first week I came to the hospital, I ran into Deb.” Drew snorts. “Then a few weeks later I rammed right into a service dog, almost squashed it, too!” 
    Drew was laughing now, so I went on. “Oh, but best of all, only a week or so ago, I ran into an old lady and knocked her over, I felt so bad!” Drew had tears in his eyes now and it made me laugh too.
    “Dang, Whit. An old lady?!” He says wiping a tear from his eye. The way he calls me Whit makes me feel like we’ve been friends forever.
    After talking with Drew for a few minutes (ha, more like hours) Deb texts me and tells me to "Get down here right now, Whit!"
    Deb gives me my meds and pudding. 
    "I'm pretty sure my body is 80% pudding." I joke. Deb chuckles and walks out the door. After finishing my meds, I go back up to floor four (this time, taking the elevator) I see a sign on one of the doors with Drew's name. 
    Before barging in, I look and make sure that 1) he's in there and 2) he's not getting vitals taken, because nobody wants to be seen while a nurse has you half naked just to take your heartbeat.
    I walk inside and Drew's sitting on his bed and reading Dracula, personally not my choice of literature but oh well. He looks up and waves. I sit on the frumpy chair in the corner that I'm pretty sure the hospital clones, because it's got the same exact marks on it as mine  and any others that I’ve seen. 
    "Here I thought you hated me." Drew teases.
    I shrug, "I did, but you showed me the library." He laughs, putting down his book. 
    We talk for a little while. Drew's nurse's name is Diane. She did chemo with me before. She's not as great as Deb and Lizzie, but she's nice. 
    Drew and I wander around the halls on the hospital’s ground floor, mainly because the gift shop and mini restaurants are fun to look around in.
    “You know what, Drew?” I say, tapping my chin dumbly “Now that I’ve gotten to know you, you aren’t half bad. Kinda cute too.” I bump into him softly with my shoulder.
    He blushes and starts talking about his Must-Read list, which is basically just a list he made when he was bored of a bunch of books he’d like to read on day. He said “The Shining” was number one on his Must-Reads. 
    “I didn’t see you as the type of guy who would read “The Shining” in his freetime.” I say, teasing and laughing. Drew scratches his chin.
    “I”ve never read it, but the movie was pretty good and most of the time when movies are good, the books are better.” He says. Huh, he’s got a point.
    Since we both already had our vitals taken and all that jazz, we went to the library. Drew found “The Shining,” and was browsing for other Must-Reads.
    And I flipped through “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” We take our books back to Drews room and I flop down on the foot of his bed and he curls up on the top. I grow bored of my book so I move beside Drew and read over his shoulder. 
    All of the sudden, Drew's face turns really red, then somewhat blue. All the monitors are beeping and I rush to the door and scream for the doctor.
    An abundance of nurses and doctors spill in and I'm shoved out. I realize that tears are rolling down my flushed cheeks. I look in the window and can't see Drew behind all the doctors. I sit outside the door with my face buried in my hands.
    I eventually sit in a small waiting room which is conveniently placed next to Drew's room. I stare at the book that was somehow sent out with me. I begin to cry harder. Mom texts me and asks where I am. "floor 4, waiting room beside room 864" 
    She comes in and doesn't even ask why I'm crying, which I guess she's learned that if I want her to know, I'll tell her. She lets my head rest in her lap and I fall asleep, the book clutched to my chest.
    I wake up and I'm in my room. Groggy and tired, at first I don't remember but then it dawns on me. I jump up and run up the stairs, not wanting to take the time for the elevator. When I reach Drew's room, I'm panting and sweaty (which is quite sad really)
   I barge in the door and see that Drew is laying in his bed, asleep. The relief melts in my mind like a lemonade. He's got IVs sticking out of him and loads of machines crowding the room, making him look like a Frankenstein monster. I see on his communication board that he's going into recovery today. He must’ve gone into emergency surgery. I wonder who’s heart was donated so fast.  
    I creep into the library and find Frankenstein. Book under my arm, I slither back into Drew's room. I leave the book silently on his nightstand. Tucked under the cover I left a note saying "Don't die yet, you’ve still got to read “Frankenstein” <3 Whit." Without thinking, I kiss him softly on the forehead and take the elevator back to my room.
    I crawl back into bed, not tired enough to sleep though. So I watch ANTM. 
    I get a text from Deb, she'll bring me a book because Mom's got a cold and she doesn't want to get me sick. You gotta love Deb. 
    After Deb pops in and checks the normal, handing me A Tale of Two Cities before leaving, I hop into the shower, warm water rinsing salty tears out of my hair.
    Once I've showered, I tug on an old t-shirt and pull on my gray shorts. I walk to the elevator and up to floor four I go. 
    Drew's awake and reading Frankenstein. I've done well, I think to myself. When I open the door he smiles his usual smile and I sit in my little spot on the foot of his bed, but I crawl up and sit next to him. 
    "You good?" I ask. 
    Drew shrugs, "I've been better, and I've been worse." He answers, sifting in his bed so he can face me. I lean in and kiss him.
    When I move back, Drew looks surprised. "Here I thought you hated me." He jokes. I let my head fall onto his shoulder, cuddling up to him.
    "No, not at all." I reply.
So I've made two other versions of this story. This is the happy end updated. I don't know if I'll do the sad one updated but if you want to read the originals, they're on my page.

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  • November 24, 2020 - 10:16pm (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • Paisley Blue

    awww adorable!


    14 days ago
  • aiyanna

    This is such a sweet story aw


    14 days ago
  • happy butterfly

    ahhh I love this story so much


    4 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    I am so freaking obsessed with this story. And thoroughly relieved that this one was the happy one.


    4 months ago