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Slowly it Kills...
Strands of her hair stuck to her face, wet with sweat, another wretched sound wracked her small, light body as the clear liquid escaped her mouth. I stroked her pasty skin, running my fingers through her hair. Tears began to seep down her face, she was afraid; so was I. Calmly, I continued to breathe, holding her tightly. It was late, nearly three in the morning, a long way to go until the light swept the room, and we would be up all night, just the two of us. My eyes ached, and my mind couldn't put together a coherent thought, but compared to my daughter's pain, this was nothing. A small star compared to the sun. My aching eyes wouldn't kill me, cancer, however, was killing her.
Spent, she leaned against me, resting her forehead in the nape of my neck, silently continuing to cry. She didn't understand the pain; she was too little; too little to know what was happening, but not too little to die.
With just a few words, a life was condemned. She was still smiling as the doctor told me the news; racing around the waiting room as her older brother, Tyler, chased her, scooping her in his arms, careful not to poke any of her bruises. She doesn't smile anymore. Ever. Tyler doesn't chase her anymore. Ever. Slowly since her diagnosis, all of our lives are slipping away.
Finally, she was asleep.
Creeping downstairs, I ran straight into Tyler,
"Where were you?" I whispered angrily.
"Out," he answered coolly, loudly, arrogantly.
"You aren't allowed to go out without my permission and be quiet you'll wake your sister."
"It doesn't matter if she sleeps, she'll be dead soon anyway," the words escaped his lips; daggers aimed straight at my heart,
"This is hard for all of us! You think I planned this? You think I wanted this? You're wrong! If it had been my choice, we would be on a cruise right now instead of forking over all our money for medical treatments! If it had been my choice, we would talk more! If it had been my choice, you're sister would be sleeping right now, without a tumor growing inside of her, waiting to take her away!"
I was crying now, but Tyler looked unfazed.
I barely knew him anymore.
"I wish she would die. Maybe then things can go back to normal," he shrugged as if discussing the weather.
I lashed out, slapping him, my overgrown, gnawed nails scratching his skin as he fell backwards, tumbling down the stairs.
I screamed in utter anguish. He rose to his feet,
"You wish it too, deep down inside you; I know you want it to end."
He rubbed the gash on his face where blood had begun to ooze.
She walked into the room.
"Why are you yelling?" she questioned, weakly.
With a reassuring smile I promised her everything was okay, as Tyler blankly stared at me.
"So, that's it?" he asked.
Not sure I understood him, I turned to him, "What do you mean?"
"You aren't going to tell her she's dying; it's just like a surprise party or something? A dirty little secret?! I'll never understand you."
"I'm doing the best I can," I muttered silently pacing.
"I'm sorry, Mommy!" she yelled as the clear liquid escaped her mouth again, all over the carpets.
Cancer was killing us all.