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4 of 50 Songs and Chapters Dedicated to the Friend I Lost Too Soon

by Yenn Dano 5 months ago in Series
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Song: "How am I supposed to make you feel okay, when all you do is walk the other way?" [Wish You Were Gay, Billie Eilish]

"Do either of you want to tell her, or should I?" The doctor asked, turned to my parents in that formal voice that was irritating on my ears. All he needed was a clipboard, and the entire room went eery at the power he held, especially because I didn't know anything that can be said. This could be a message that told me I only had a day at most to live. How was I to know?

"You can tell her. She probably won't believe it if it's coming from me," my mom chimed in, sitting against the rolling chair that the doctor would usually use to type words I didn't understand into their computer system. I hated that she gave him the chance to have more power than he already held, but I did like to see her speak. She didn't seem thrilled at the news, but she wasn't depressed about it either, and I decided to call that a good sign.

My end was coming, but it wasn't in sight yet. It was near, but not quite in eyes reach.

"I'm sending you home," the man in the white coat stated, nonchalant. I stared at him in disbelief. One moment, I was dying and they had to leave subtle hints to tell me about it, and now they were sending me home? It didn't make any sense. Was I glad? Of course, but how could it be possible out of the blue?

He read my confusion, easily, and he didn't miss a beat to fill in every blank.

"I'm not saying you're cured and that you can go wild and crazy out there. You have to take it easy, and you'll leave with meds that you have to take seriously. I've already told your parents that you should not leave your home unless it's absolutely necessary, and you should consider yourself quarantined -- to stay away from anything that could worsen your condition."

So he's not sending me home because I'm better. He's sending me home because he's done. He's sending me home because there's nothing he can do to help me. He's sending me home because I'm hopeless and he expects that it's a worry of ours now. Not his.

I wasn't the kind of person that would snap at someone, but for some reason, the tone in his voice added to my life locked away in this room for so long made me automatically angry. I bit my lip to hold back saying anything I'd later regret, and still, it wasn't enough. I spilled, and once it did, there was no chance it could come back. As they say, once the arrow is shot, it can't be un-shot.

I should've been happy that I could go home, and I was, but I've never felt an ounce of empathy from this guy. Everything he did got on my nerves because it seemed he's done his job for so long suffering, vulnerable people weren't suffering, vulnerable people anymore. They were just work for him. There's several doctors out there who aren't that way. Several people who can at least act like they care, if they don't actually.

He's contradicting too, if I have to mention it. One moment, he's so strict that Jewee isn't allowed to see me anymore, and the next, he's letting me back out into the dirty, sickening world. My head hurts too much to process any more than the fact I'm in pain.

"What are you saying? That you don't want to worry about me anymore? That you want my parents to stand around so they can watch me die and they don't get the support of medical professionals? You want them to be the one to see me take my last breath in my own room, so they can never enter it again without their heart sinking to their stomachs? What do you want to become of this? Are you trying to break a family worse than it's already about to break?"

"Jaiva!" My dad shouted out, forcefully, and it shut me up as if I were programmed. It was equal to him taking his hand and covering my mouth, and once he saw that that he got me to stop me from my pissed off rant, he shifted the weight on his feet to see the doctor. "I'm sorry, doc. She's not usually--."

"No need to apologize," he answered before he could finish, his voice coming up again only infuriating me more. The nurse he brought in began removing the wires I was connected to. "I completely understand. She has all right to lash out. Being in a hospital for so long isn't easy," he stated. The kindness felt like a front. With a bow to his head, and hard footsteps, he made his way to do the door, with the six words they always used to make their exit. "I'll give you guys some privacy."

My dad didn't even wait for the door to close. "What the hell was that for, Jaiva?"

I huffed, standing from my bedside. There was a sudden rush of black to my vision from doing it so suddenly, and my parents came running to me to make sure I stayed upright, but I waved them away, heading straight to preparing what they already knew about -- getting out of here, since that was what I was instructed to do.

"I'm sorry, alright? He's just-- I can't--." I tried to find the words to respond, but nothing felt right. All I had in my mind were questions of complaint. Why couldn't they send the people who actually made my stay in the hospital the slightest bit tolerable? Why did they have to send the one who acts like the patients he comes across are already dead?

But when I looked into my parents expressions -- faces of disappointment and embarrassment, I shriveled up into a ball of guilt. "I'm gonna get dressed," I muttered shamefully, picking up a duffel bag my parents kept in a closet this entire time, back when they were in high hopes that my stay here was going to be fast and done with under a week.

That didn't go as it was planned. Not even close.

I looked up at the mirror when I disappeared into the bathroom. For once, I let myself do that, because for as long as I've been stuck here, I couldn't get myself to look into it. I knew my hair was disheveled like it had a mind of it's own, and I knew that it lost its volume. I knew that my face was pale and that I was down more weight than usual. Every bit of detail that I saw in my reflection that I wasn't here for very much longer, and I didn't like that.

But facing it this time brought back every bit of wrath I was feeling a second ago. It was messed up, in my opinion, that a man that spent his life in a school where they taught him what problems exist in a person's body and how to fix them, and that a man that was skilled enough in those classes to become a doctor at this hospital I've called home more than my own house recently, could look at me and think that I was okay to go home.

I look miserable, and there's no use denying that. I don't know how he is. I hate pity with my whole gut, but when it was absent it pissed me off too. Maybe that's wrong on my part. Maybe it's me that would find someone to be angry with no matter what happened, because I felt like I had to blame someone for what I was going through. Maybe I was acting like this simply because it was easiest to blame the person you expect to fix you of what's broken and they fail you.

There's far too many maybes. At this point, I don't know where I stand either. I don't even know who I am anymore.

Jeans hugging my thighs felt new all over again. I got used to them back in the days I was in high school because I wore them everyday, but after being here, they were the most uncomfortable things I've ever had to touch.

My whole body felt like it had to be stretched to fulfill the needs of the way I ached, but it also hurt at every stretch I tried to give to it, and I had to live with all of that irritation to face my parents after showing them a side of me that wasn't -- me. Not really.

"Are you okay, Jai?" My mom perked up. She's mellowed out by now, though my father was still drowning in whatever way he was thinking of me, and he stayed silent.

The stress we bottled was pouring out. That's what this was. That's where every bit of our madness came from -- locked up inside of us, and we were mistaken to think we threw away the key.

It almost looked like he was forced into silence, and I assumed my mom must have told him something. She had the dominant personality if she wanted to, and she could reign as queen of the family whenever she chose to. That's a truth that we all accepted even if we didn't say it out loud.

"I'm okay," I nodded. My head pounded harder at the lie, and I was willing to do anything -- anything I needed to do for it to be tamed including tell a piece of the truth to a question that for me at least, came to have general, positive answers. "I'm super tired of being sick. I'm tired of being sick and nobody knowing why, but that's what anyone would expect."

My mom pouted. "I know you are, Jaiva, but you're gonna keep fighting. I know you are. You're an adult now, and you're doing amazing -- you'll continue to reach new heights and get everything you've ever wanted -- but you'll always be our baby girl and we'll always be here to help you. We're gonna get through this together. You're gonna make it."

I puckered my lips to pretend that it wasn't wobbling, and I turned my back at my parents in case anything from my swelling eyes became too determined to power its way through, but as I did, I found my finger tracing over a note in Sharpie on the backside of the bright green folder, that I didn't notice before. I had left the pile of paper face down on my bedside table, and now Jewee's words were staring up at me.

I hope to see you again soon, Jaiva Shyne, it said. Really. I hope we have a next time.

Seeing that, a swarm of more happy emotions flowed down my bloodstream, and I started to feel a tiny bit more lively. I know they say never to make a decision when you're feeling crazy emotions, whether they be optimistic or pessimistic, because it leads you to make choices that you wish you didn't make later on, but the chaos of today was making me feel two feet tall and I felt like going with the flow.

In a way, I think I believed that it showed I was being brave. That I still had choices in life and that I wasn't defined by this illness that nobody knew how to name.

Whether I was wrong or right, that's what I told myself.

"I'm going to Las Vegas," I announced, disregarding everything that was said before it. "I'm going to Las Vegas and nothing is going to stop me."

My parents eyes just as well fall to the floor, they were so shocked. The kind of shock that wished I was joking.

I wasn't. I was dead serious.


About the author

Yenn Dano

writing attempt-er + sitcom enthusiast

that pretty much sums up my entire life

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