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Another Day

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avatar SmolFairy
Level 10 : Journeyman Toast
52
This is my entry for Chiaroscuro's writing contest round one: Everyday~ 2044 words.


Another Day


I opened my eyes as the alarm screeched, promptly sitting up in bed. I winced at the pain in my core and arms, and quickly remembered the thrilling, yet equally challenging soccer tournament of the day before. I grinned. Emerson Hawks forever.
“Daniel!” The boy’s mother called from downstairs, “Are you awake? You have ten minutes!” I slid out of bed and pulled off yesterday’s sweaty T-shirt and pulled on a new one. Green. Army green, sort of, but maybe more olive. I threw on some deodorant and combed my short, dark brown hair. I wouldn’t have time to stop at home to freshen up before-

“DANIEL!!” Mom again.

“I’m coming!” I threw open the door and flew down the stairs, coming to an abrupt halt in the kitchen. My mom raised her eyebrows.

“You really need to start waking up earlier.” She commented.

“Sorry mom.” I replied. A smile faintly touched the mother’s face.

“Cheerios are on the table, but the bus will be here in five minutes so you’d better hurry. I have to go now, I’ll be home at six, okay?” She kissed me on the forehead.

“Okay.”

“Have a good day, honey.”

“You too.” Then she was gone. I stood motionless in the kitchen until the heard the door shut, and then I turned my attention to the soggy Cheerios on the kitchen table. Sighing, I dumped them in the trash and grabbed my old blue hoodie and ran out the door. It would take three minutes to run to the bus stop anyways.

My favorite blue hoodie had been a Christmas gift from my dad four years ago. It had been way too big at the time, but I had grown a lot since then. It fit me just right, now. It had that old smell that you hate but kind of like at the same time, and it just felt right.

Arriving at the bus stop, my best friend Carter gave me a high five, and then talked ceaselessly all the way to school. He was really pumped about the game yesterday. It had been a good one, 12-9, and it hadn’t been easy. The challenge had got Carter excited, and to be honest, I liked it too. But I wasn’t paying too much attention to Carter’s review of the game. I stared out the window, watching the trees fly past.

The classes before lunch all passed relatively uneventfully. Mrs. Edmunds squawked on and on about stuff I already understood during math, and all the popular girls made eyes at me. The other guys thought I was nuts for not pursuing the popular girls, especially since they seemed interested in me. But honestly, I didn’t see anything worth pursuing.

At lunch, all the usual group of guys sat together, and talked about… whatever guys talk about. Even I wasn’t sure sometimes. But it was the usual gang. Me, Carter, Ashton, and Cory.

“Five weeks until Summer vacation, guys.” Carter announced, as if it was the most important thing ever, his eyes shining with passion.

That was the way Carter was, unabashedly passionate about everything. The other guys tolerated him, but overall thought he was a big baby. I just thought he had a fiery spirit. Nothing wrong what that.

“So….!” Carter continued, “what are you gonna do this summer!?”

“I’m going to Australia obviously.” Ashton laughed. “I’ve gotta improve my surfing technique.” Ashton was honestly your typical surfer dude guy. Tan skin, long blonde hair… he was cool, though. The popular girls liked him, too. Lucky for them, I guess, Ashton actually paid attention to them. He was always trying to impress them and I just rolled my eyes.

“I’m going to camp for a whole month.” Cory stated, flatly. He was the nerd of the group, honestly. “My parents are making me get out of the house.”

“What about you, Daniel?” Carter asked. I licked my lips, and then opened my mouth to speak, but the bell rang. Everyone stood up and cleared their trays, and Carter told everyone what he was doing this Summer. I wasn’t really listening, though.

The rest of the school day felt a bit long, and I was distracted for most of it. Stuff was just on my mind, I guess. Mr. Stacy announced that we had a history test tomorrow, and I wished I had paid more attention.

Finally, the bell rang, and I got my stuff and headed out the door. I made my way to the bus, and poked my head in the door.

“Mr. Reynolds?” I asked. The driver with the thick white mustache turned his head.

“Ah, Daniel. You’re not taking the bus again?” He had a deep voice, and his face was naturally kind of red.

“No, sir.”

“Alright, kid. Take care of yourself.”

“See you tomorrow.” Then I raced across the playground and climbed over the chain link fence, landing solidly on my feet on the other side. Walking swiftly, I headed through downtown Emerson, stopping briefly in front of a few stores, but mostly just making my way through. Once, I took a second glance at an item in a display window, and then decided to stop and get it. Then I was on my way again.

Fifteen minutes later, I looked up at the big building looming in front of me. Emerson Emergency and Medical Clinic. Then, I entered through the main doors. I approached the reception desk, and opened my mouth to speak, but the lady at the desk smiled at my appearance.

“Ah, Daniel. Here to see Lilia?”

“Yes, please, ma’am. Is she in?”

“Yes she is. Have you been sick recently or come into contact with anyone who is?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Great. I don’t suppose you need the room number?”

“No thank you, I remember it.”

“Have a good day, Daniel.”

“You too.” I walked down the hall and began to make my way up the three flights of stairs to Lilia’s room. I smiled, realizing that I must really be here a lot if the main receptionist knows me. Reaching door 331, I knocked three times, waited a second, and then knocked twice more. I heard the excited voice from inside.

“Daniel?!” She exclaimed. I peeked my head in. There she was, the most beautiful girl in the whole world. Her grin radiated the joy within her, and it was contagious. I grinned, too.

“Hello, Lilia!” Her eyes shone.

“You're hiding something behind your back. What is it?"

“What? This? It's a present.” The bouquet of flowers came out from behind my back. It was a colourful assortment of irises and carnations and lilies. Her smile was so wide and her eyes so bright that I was nearly afraid she’d burst at the seams.

“Oh…!! Daniel!!! You got all the prettiest ones!”

“I know.” I smiled. “It reminded me of you.” I would’ve chosen a more simpler bouquet, but I knew how much she loved all the colors. It was a colourless world here in the hospital, and Lilia loved nothing more than colourful flowers. She touched the petals for a long time, caught up in the beauty of the flowers. Then she looked up.

“Your soccer tournament was yesterday! Did you win?” She seemed concerned. I grinned.

“Yup! 12-9.”

“Wow! How many did you score?” I burst out laughing.

“None! I never score.” I said. She giggled.

“What do you do then?”

“I collapse the opponent’s knees.” Lilia winced.

“Ouch.” Concern was etched on my face.

“Lilia, are you okay?” I asked, worried. She looked at me funny for a second, and then laughed.

“I’m fine! I was just worried about your opponents.” She said. We both laughed. Lilia looked out the window. “Is it a nice day outside?” She asked. I nodded.

“It is.” She was quiet for a moment.

“I wish my window could open and let in the breeze.” I sat down on the bed, and put one arm around her.

“Do I smell like the outside?” She scrunched up her nose.

“You smell like teenage boy and old hoodie.”

“How about your flowers?” She sniffed them, and then smiled.

“Yes. They smell wonderful.” She looked at my hoodie.

“Is that the hoodie from your dad?” She asked.

“Yeah.” We were quiet for a moment.

“Two years.” Lilia said softly. I nodded, not saying anything.

I had met Lilia three years ago when my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. Due to renovations, they were lacking a place in the adult’s cancer ward, and so my dad ended up in the children’s cancer ward for a few weeks. He liked the kids and would tell them jokes and stories.

I never really seemed to bond with other kids. I was different. Quiet. I preferred to be by myself, even as a small child. The other children thought me to be boring, and I never pursued them, so I never made a ton of friends.

When my dad went downhill, I stayed away from everyone in an attempt to cope. And for the most part, I got my wish. I was completely alone. But Lilia didn’t like that.

She was a year younger than me, and when she wasn’t doing chemo or being prodded at by the doctors, she hung out with me. She was so annoying to my twelve year old self. I wouldn’t talk to her, so she talked at me, ceaselessly. Asking me what it was like outside, telling me about her tests and treatments, telling me what ridiculous thing my dad said yesterday…. and before I knew it, I fell in love.

I clung to her for stability and normality when my dad’s cancer spread all over his body and I watched him die. The kids at school had no understanding of what I was going through, but Lilia did. She had seen it time and time again.

And she was there when my dad forgot who I was and didn’t know I was there anymore. And when my mom was too emotionally fragile to handle my needs. Lilia was there like a lighthouse in a thunderstorm. And she shone so bright.

After my dad died, I made one last round through the children’s ward to say goodbye to Lilia. And she cried. I had never seen her cry before. She told me that her one greatest sorrow was not her cancer, not that she was trapped indoors, but that no one ever stuck around.

Other children in the ward either died or got better, leaving her, and nurses got transferred to other hospitals…. there was no one she could ever depend on to be there, and she confided in me that I had consistently hung out with her, even if it was just because I needed support.

And so, I came around after school almost every day since. When I was weak, she was my strength. And I was hers, too, when she went from a spunky, confident 11 year old, to an insecure teen.

Lilia’s voice then broke the silence. “And what if I die, too?” She put her bald head on my shoulder. She had showed me pictures of what she looked like before leukemia, and I could almost see the golden blonde hair glimmering in the sunlight, even now.

“You won’t die.” I said, finally. “You’re getting better, remember?”

“But what if I’m not?” She was uncertain. I chewed on that for a moment.

“Then I’ll be here. I’ll always be here. You know that!” Lilia smiled, but still looked a little worried. I smiled, confidently. “You shouldn’t talk about such morbid things, especially so close to your birthday. You’ll have lived yet another year! You’ll be14! And it’s nearly Summer.” Her doubtful blue eyes met my hazel ones.

“What are you gonna do this Summer?” She asked.

“I’m going to spend most of it with you.” I said. She raised her eyebrows.

“Don’t you have better things to do than spend your summer in a musty old hospital?” she frowned. I shrugged.

“There’s nothing I want more than to hang out with you.” The girl smiled, gratefully.

The two talked until five, and then I said goodbye.

“Goodbye, Daniel.” Lilia called. I smiled.

“See you tomorrow, Lilia.”
CreditPicture from Google Images
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