For the first time in my life, I feel completley happy. I don't worry about how I look, about what people think of me, I'm just completley happy. At school, they're always telling us how to begin with the end in mind, so I am, because to be honest the end isn't that far away, even now. But atleast I know that everything is perfect now even though it was a tough journey. My life burned short, but extremley bright, so I want to share my story with you.
I was walking along with my best friend Liam on our way back from school. We had been best friends since we were kids and constantly bickered about silly little things though none of our arguments were remotely serious. This time, we were debating on whether to have pizza or chinese. Me and him are super close, we always go round to eachothers house every friday.
"Liam, pizza's way nicer! You picked last week-" I said.
"Yes, but you enjoyed the chinese right? It just proves that I'm best at picking what we have." Liam said, nudging me.
"Fine, fine. But I get to pick who's house we go to."
"Kate, no we decided that whoever picks food picks house!" he said, but I gave him my best demanding look and he agreed.
"Fine. But are you sure you don't wanna do anything more special? Seeing as it's your birthday and all. You're sixteen and you're not doing anything?"
Eurgh. Birthdays. I hated them, so much attention on you. That's why I'd much rather just go to Liam's house as usual and not make a big fuss.
"Nah, I'm good. See you later." I hugged him goodbye and walked into my house. There was a note left by my dad waiting on the stairs.
Happy Birthday sweetie. I'll be staying at work late, so go over to Liams if you want. Love you. Dad xx
I smiled, but couldn't help wishing it said Mum on the end. She died of cancer when I was about six. I hated cancer anyway, but then it took my mum and I sort of saw it as an enemy. I knew this was unreasonable. Cancer is just trying to live, just using an enviroment to survive. It doesn't know how many lives it destroys. But still, I hated it. This would be my tenth birthday without my mum, and it hurt me to think of her so I stopped.
I got dressed and waited until I could leave to go to Liams. At last when the time came I ran around and knocked on the door. He opened it and I was a bit surprised. He was dressed in chino trousers and a light blue denim shirt. He'd styled his brown hair and looked freshly shaved. He also smelt awesome.
"What are you all dressed up for?" I asked stepping inside.
He smiled mysteriously at me. "Ah, nothing. Just thought seeing as it's your birthday I should wear something a bit more festive than trackie bottoms today. What film do you wanna watch?"
I just took that as an answer because it's easier than arguing, especially with Liam. No matter how many times we debate, I will never admit that he is always right. We decided on some horror movie and began watching it.
"Hey Kate, will you let my dog in?" he asked.
I looked at him confused. "She didn't bark to come in."
"Yeah, she did. Just open the door will you?"
I got up and opened the door, but his dog Fudge didn't come. "Fudge, fudgey!" I called.
Liam looked up at me. "Maybe we should see if we can find her."
This was weird. Liam was acting weird. Never the less, we stepped into the garden and began calling her name. Suddenly fairy lights came on illuminating the garden and about thirty people stood there and yelled "SUPRISE!"
I made some sort of happy choking laugh noise and looked up at Liam. "You did this?"
He smiled modestly. "Maybe, sorta kinda."
I hugged him."You're awesome."
"Yeah, I know."
He really had tried hard. He'd strung loads of fairy lights everywhere, invited friends and family, made a playlist of all my favourite songs, cooked loads of my favourite food and set everything out nicely in the garden. I was staying the night, so he even set out the spare room all nicely with loads of pillows and candles so I slept well. We spent the rest of the night laughing, dancing, getting a little bit tipsy -okay more than a little bit tipsy with our friends and family and then I went up to bed. Liam came in to say goodnight and tucked me in like I was a little girl.
I slept right away, seeing as my head was banging from all the drink. In the morning, my head was still killing so when Liam knocked in the door it sounded like three grenades going off. I decided that I would never touch alcohol again in my life, even though I knew that wouldn't happen. I said that the last time I had a hangover too.
"Come in." I groaned sitting up.
It was Liam, holding a tray with bacon and eggs on it with some coffee. He looked freshly showered and seemed awake. You'd never realise how hung over he really was.
"Ah thankyou Lee, you're the best." I said, as he set the tray down on my lap and took a piece of toast.
" S'alright. You feeling as trashed as I am?"
I laughed. "Yup."
He smiled, eating more of my breakfast. He always did that, but I didn't mind. I found it kinda cute. Wait, no. He was my best friend, I just found it amusing. "So, I never gave you your birthday present."
"Yeah you did, the party." I frowned.
He shook his head smiling. "That wasn't your present. This is your present."
He pulled a little box out of his pocket. I smiled at him and opened it. Inside was a little locket, just a round locket. On the front it had the words 'Best Friend' written on it and on the back it had 'For Kate, love from Liam' on it. I opened the locket up and on one side it had a picture of me and him when we were about four. We were in the park, and we were hanging from the monkey bars, both grinning at the camera. Our outfits were appalling! I was wearing barbie dungarees with pink wellies and he was wearing combat camo trousers with a matching jacket. Oh the nineties! And then the other side, a picture from Liams sixteenth party. We were dressed better there, him in nice jeans with his best casual shirt, and me in a dress. I was feeding him a slice of birthday cake, and we were both laughing. If someone who didn't know us looked at those pictures, they'd think we were a couple. But we knew we weren't.
"Aw, Lee I love it. Honestly, it's the best present I've ever got." I hugged him and let him finish my breakfast. "Thankyou for everything! I'm gonna head home and sleep."
"Alright. Love you."
"You too." I called back, leaving the room. We always said love you to eachother, but only meant it because we were so close. It wasn't like a couple I love you, it was more of a friend love you. Get me? Nah, didn't think so.
I was just walking down the stairs when a piercing pain came out of nowhere, right in the centre of the back of my head. I just collapsed and sat on the stairs. The pain was overwhelming! Imagine being stabbed in the back of the head repeatedly, it felt like that. I was sure it was just the drink, but when I tried to stand up it pounded even more and I sat back down.
"Liam?" I called out, weakly.
He came to the top of the stairs. "You alright Kate?"
"No." I groaned and explained what was wrong as well as I could through the pain. He carried me round to my house and my dad drove me and him to the hospital. In the doctors office he did some scans and after twenty minutes we had the results. Those results that would change my perspective on life forever.
When the doctor came in, I knew it was bad news. The sorrow in his eyes. I had a feeling he had that look on his face with way too many patients that came to visit. As soon as he opened his mouth, I wanted to stop him. I wasn't ready to hear this. I wasn't ready to feel what the news would make me feel.
"Mr Parker, Liam, Kate. I am afraid it's not good news." the doctor said and my heart began pounding in my chest.
"What do you mean bad news? You mean like a really bad migrane right?" I asked desperatley but the doctor just shook his head gravely.
"I'm afraid you have a brain tumor. Cancer. I'm so sorry." the doctor said sympathetically.
My heart felt like it dropped to the floor and I felt sick. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! I heard about people with cancer all the time but never imagined it being me. Just those simple words - tumor and cancer - can cause your whole world to crash down around you. I'd already lost my mother to it. Now was I going to be the reason someone's life was ruined?
"No, that's impossible! She's only sixteen, she hasn't lived yet, her life can't be over!" Liam shouted at the doctor, but my dad stopped him. I didn't understand why Liam was being angry at the doctor. It wasn't his fault.
I felt like my life had been ripped apart. Well it had been ripped apart already. My Mum had died of cancer and now I was. I thought back to when my Mum first died. My dad had been seriously depressed. He couldn't look after me properly, he just moped around. I was only six and I had to look after him. Now if I was gone he'd have nobody left and that broke my heart even more than it already was. I looked over at my dad and you could tell he was broken inside, but he tried to keep strong.
"Doctor, isn't there something we can do? Some sort of treatment?" my dad asked, a lot calmer than Liam did but you could sense the sadness.
"There is a treatment, but it's up to Kate if she takes it. There are catches with this treatment, side effects. And even then I can't guarentee it will work."
The doctor turned to me. "Kate, would you like the treatment?" he asked softly.
I froze not knowing what to say. Would it be worth it, having this treatment? What's the point if it might not work? But I looked to my dad who looked like he was in serious pain and then Liam. Liam who never cried at anything, and he was in tears. I knew then that I had to do something, atleast try to stay, not only for my sake but for theres.
"I...I- yeah. Yes please." I said.
The drive home was torture. We all sat in silence, not knowing what to say. I imagined me not being there. I imagined it just being Liam and my dad on the way back from my funeral, not knowing what to say about me being dead. I tried to push those thoughts away. Liam wiped his eyes and tried to stop the tears falling but he couldn't. Somehow I hadn't cried yet, I think I was just in shock. I had a feeling that as soon as I was left alone, I wouldn't be able to stop the tears. We dropped Liam off home and he hugged me tight. I inhaled his usual smell of his aftershave which I couldn't figure out, suddenly realising how lucky I was to have him as my best friend.
"Hold on Kate... please." he whispered in my ear.
"I will if you will." I whispered back.
He broke away and nodded, walking back into his house. Back at my house me and my dad sat watching TV in silence as usual as if nothing was wrong. He walked out of the room and came back in with a picture of Mum. I noticed and groaned. Not this.
"Kate, we've got to talk about it at some point."
"Dad I don't want to." I said, though I knew I had no choice.
"Kate." he said firmly, and I listened. "You lost your Mum when you were six years old.You were devastated and I know I should of been a better dad for you. But not only did I lose her as your Mum, or my wife. I lost my best friend. She meant the world to me... and now you're all I've got. But I want you to know, if you do... leave. I'll be okay."
"Dad." was all I could say and I hugged him tight.
He patted my back. "You better get some sleep, you're having your first treatment tomorrow."
I layed in bed thinking about the treatment. Would it actually save me or just put me through pointless suffering. I thought to Liam. How he'd cried so much. I'd never seen him cry in the twelve years we'd been friends. I wasn't convinced that my father would be okay if I died, but I was even less convinced that he would be alright. I guessed they'd just have to look after eachother.
I tried to sleep, but the headache in the back of my brain was so painful and there were so many thoughts whizzing around my head. I couldn't help but think about all the things I'd never gotten to do, all the oppurtunities I'd missed. All those mistakes I'd made and never fixed.
I layed in bed awake until six am and then got dressed. I waited downstairs in anticipation until 9 am when my nurse would come to give me my treatment. I wanted Liam to be there but he was at school, so I just had my dad which was fine by me. When there was a knock on the door I was suddenly nervous.
"Dad get the door please?" I asked shakily and he did.
I was shocked when the nurse walked in. She wasn't at all how I imagined her. She was probably about late thirties/early forties and she had short red hair spiked up. She wore no makeup and a normal nursing outfit but you could tell she was unique. She had such a fun atmosphere about her and when she walked in she grinned at me.
"Hello Kate!" she said, setting her stuff up.
"Hi." I said smiling. I couldn't help but smile, she was so awesome.
She looked pleasently surprised. "Wow, you seem happy! Now I'm Ellen, I'll be doing your therapy every two weeks so everytime you have it you'll have me. What I'm going to do is you see this big drip looking thing? I'm going to put this needle into your hand and we're going to wait for a couple of hours until all of the stuff in the drip has gone. Alright?"
I nodded and we went through with the therapy. Because we had some time to kill we had a talk.
"You found out about your cancer the other day hm?" she asked softly and I nodded. "I bet it's tough on you."
"Yeah, it is. I'm mainly worried about what's going to happen to my dad if I die. When..."
I hesitated, wondering whether I should talk about my Mum to Ellen. I decided to, because she was the only one I could talk to without her getting upset at the moment.
"When what sweetie?" she asked.
I swallowed. "When my Mum died of cancer... he was so broken. I can't stand the thought of him being like that again without me to look after him."
Ellen looked at me sadly. "I'm sure you'll survive."
"You're just saying that. There's no way I'm going to survive, just be honest." I said. I was so glad my dad wasn't in the room, he'd be so upset.
"Look Kate, in this job I have to be honest. I could tell you that you probably won't survive, but I don't think that. I honestly think you have a good chance of surviving. You know why?"
I raised my eyebrows. "No."
"Because you have such a strong personality. You're so determined. I'll help you through it."
I smiled at her and my dad walked in.
"Would you like a cuppa Ellen?" he asked. Funny. He looked like he was blushing slightly and... he was wearing his best shirt.
"Ooh, yes please Alan that would be lovely." she said and they hurried out of the room to get her one.
I groaned. My dad had a crush and it was disgusting.
Two hours later, Ellen disconnected the therapy and left. She gave me her details so I could contact her whenever I liked. It was hard to believe that that chemotherapy was supposed to be making me feel better, because in all honesty it made me feel like crap. I felt exhausted, even though all I'd been doing all day was sitting down. My headache was worse than ever and I felt sick. I was sweaty and pale and I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep. So I did. For ages. I fell asleep at about half eleven in the morning and then woke up at 7pm and I was still tired, but felt better.
I wandered back downstairs where my dad was cooking my favourite pizza. I smiled at him.
"You did great today sweetie." he kissed me on the head as he set my pizza down.
Usually I would of loved it, it was my favourite food in the world. But suddenly it just seemed so unnapealing. Today, the cheese looked like the stuff you get from inside a spot and the tuna looked like it was some disgusting slop that had been chewed up and spat back out on my plate. And then the sweetcorn just made it look more like puke than ever. I groaned and ran upstairs and I puked. I won't go into detail but it wasn't pretty, and I didn't move from that spot for about 20 minutes.
I was just leaning up against the wall feeling worse than ever when I heard a knock on the door.
"Kate?" said a voice that could only be Liam's. He opened the door and looked sympathetic.
"Hey." I said weakly smiling.
He walked over and put his arm around me. "Oh Kate."
I decided then that I couldn't hold it in any longer. I felt like crap, I was dying, I was missing my Mum and I'd stayed strong for too long. Whoever didn't expect me to cry is an idiot. I let out a sob that lead to another and another and before I knew it it was like Niagra Falls was pouring out onto Liams shoulder.
"Kate please stop crying, I can't stand it." he said after 30 minutes of sobbing.
"S-sorry." I said, wiping my eyes.
He laughed. "Don't be."
"It's... just hard Liam. This therapy's making me feel like crap and it might not even work, I've got so much to worry about, there's so much I've never done and I'm going to die before I even get a chance!" I sobbed.
"You're not dying." he said firmly. But I have to admit, he sounded like he was trying to convince himself.
"Liam, come on-"
"I'm not letting you." he changed the subject. "Everyone missed you at school today."
I looked up at him. "Did you explain what was happening?"
He shook his head. "Only to our friends. Didn't think you'd want everyone knowing."
I nodded, letting him know he'd done the right thing and just fell asleep on his shoulder. I know randomly falling asleep on your best friend in your bathroom isn't the most normal thing to do, but I was just so exhausted. I was so glad to have a friend like Liam there for me. I don't think I could get through it without him.