All Thats In Between

Susan and Nick used to be best friends until something split them apart. Now they hate each other, but whats going to happen when Susan has to stay with Nicks family while here mums away working in England?
A story of hate, love and all thats in between

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1. Susan

My dads name was Jack. He died when I was nine. He was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was thirty-three and died two years later. His grandfather was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of twenty-nine and died a year later when my dad was one month old. My dad met my mum – Emily -  in college when they were both twenty-three, it was love at first sight. They married  three years later and had me four years after that. I was a good baby I was born right on time 29th of June 1994 at 12:49. As a baby i barely cried leaving my parents with a goods night sleep. I was walking at ten months and  as I began to grow up I was  quick at learning and great at making friends, my parents were very proud of me. When I was six I found I had a talent of art. I won several art competitions but then began to draw for myself. I went to seamsborrough junior school when I was eight where I met my two best friends Ashley and Lilly. Ashley had long blonde hair down to her shoulders – which is now died brown – she wore glasses over her scarlet blue eyes – now covered by contacts and she had dark olive skin which surprised everyone with the lack of sun in Ireland. She was shy when i first met her and we began our friendship by discussing the bad weather of Ireland. Lilly on the other hand was wild and crazy she had Long red curls down her back and emerald eyes, unlike Ashley she was pale white and proud of it – one of the reasons I love her. She was an absolute flirt and still is though she would never admit to it. Our friendship began when a boy in our class pushed me, making me cry and Lilly gave him a bit of his own medicine, she's been there for me ever since. Then there was Nick who I had known since I was five when he moved in next door. He had blonde hair and bright blue eyes that shone in the sunlight, sallow skin and in the couple days of the year that the sun shone, he would get an amazing tan. Nick was very athletic, he loved to play rugby and over the years became captain of the schools team. We would see each other everyday, we walked to school and back and soon enough we were best friends. My dad loved him and that was what mattered most to me, as a serious daddy's girl I wanted him to approve of every friend  I had. I told Nick everything and he told me everything, we were like two peas in a pod.

When I was five my parents bought me a black Labrador, I called it chico. I loved Chico more then anything, I took him for long walks down the beach with my parents and let him sleep at the end of my bed. One day when I was seven my mum told me I wasn't allowed take Chico down to the beach by myself. Nick was at Rugby and mum was busy cleaning the house then she had to go visit dad in hospital. I was at the door ready to sneak out when mum caught me I turned, shouting at her. She brought me to the sitting room and explained we could go together later, I was being selfish I told her I wanted to go alone, that I was old enough now. My mother told me to go to my room and as i did I heard a load screech from outside. I ran to see my dear Chico in a puddle of his own blood. The owner of the car who killed Chico ran to my mother apologizing, mum told them it was alright and called the vet. I just sat on the pavement and screamed, then cried. Nick came over that night to console me. I blamed myself for everything If only i hadn't tried to sneak out, if only id listened to my mum. It didnt make anything better though and i realised that Chico wasn't coming back. The next day Ashley, Lilly and Nick came over and we had a funeral. We all wore black and each wrote something for Chico. Beside his grave I buried a box filled with the things we wrote and some pictures of Chico and  all the memories we had together. Chico's grave was marked by a big rock painted blue with Chico's name in pink. I liked to think that was his favourite colour but of course that was just because it was mine. After the funeral mum ordered pizza and we watched Lassie. The night ended with Lilly, Ashley and I in tears after watching the sad  movie and Nick still complaining about having been forced to watch it. The next day at school our teacher had made me a card and the whole class signed it. On the cover was a painting i had done of Chico that year. The card was shown to my parents that night then buried in the box beside Chico.

When I was eight I found out that my daddy was sick. It was the 3rd of July 2002. It was raining – as usual – and we were all stuck inside. I was in my room on the phone to Ashley discussing our latest crushes and  our latest enemies. Mum walked in without knocking witch she knew I hated. She sat at the end of my bed and asked for me to get off the phone, I complained about how i was having a very important conversation but when her jaw locked and she asked again I knew something was wrong. After i hung up she held my hand in hers and told me that dad had Leukemia. At first i didnt understand then she explained it was a cancer of the blood, I suddenly realised  why dad was always away. I was only eight and so I didnt know a lot about diseases and illness's. I had heard of cancer from the television and the news and had always thought of the word as evil since it hurt so many people. As soon as mum had told me Dad had cancer i knew straight away that it was bad. “He's going to be ok right?” I asked Mum didnt have to answer the look of guilt and hurt in her eyes was enough to know that Dad was in trouble. She pulled me into a hug, trying to console me, but I pushed her away, I wanted to know more. She told me that he was diagnosed a year ago, Grandpa had leukemia and so it was in his genes. She told me It was serious and the doctors weren't sure what else they could do. I nodded quietly as she told me all this trying to take it in.  When my mum had finished talking she began to cry, tears suddenly gushed down her cheeks, she began shaking and weeping. I just sat staring at her, I didnt know what I was meant to do, I had never seen her cry. It scared me, I knew that things must be really bad if my mum would cry in front of me so I stood and ran out the door to Nicks house. He was at rugby, so i sat on the porch waiting. My whole body was shaking and I hurt everywhere yet, I didnt cry. If I cried I would be giving up on my dad, admitting to the disease. I sat for half an hour in the rain. When Nick finally arrived home he jumped out of his friends car and ran to hug me, I didnt move, I couldnt. Nick sat with me for three hours in the rain as I tried to work it all out in my head. The next day i woke up with a bad cold. Mum decided I should go to the hospital to see dad I regretted it the minute I got there. He was so small and thin, he looked pale and tired and his once sparkling blue eyes were grey. When I hugged him it felt as if he were going to snap. Instead of feeling his warm fleshy skin, I felt bone. I held my breath and smiled for him. Over the next few weeks I spent most of my time at the hospital beside his bed, I watched as he grew weaker day by day. One saturday when I arrived at the hospital he handed me a book, a book of poems and  asked me to read to him. I opened on a random page and began to read.: “Nor dread nor hope attend A dying animal; A man awaits his end Dreading and hoping all; Many times he died, Many times rose again. A great man in his pride Confronting murderous men Casts derision upon Supersession of breath ; He knows death to the bone Man has created death.” By William Butler Yeats

Nearing my Ninth Birthday my father was getting worse and and so we visited  more. He was much weaker and talking became a chore for him. Nick started coming with me to the hospital, he saw how scared I was and I admired him for this. My dad loved to see Nick and they would discuss the latest rugby scores while I sat beside his bed reading. Ashley and Lilly would visit as well discussing all the new gossip around school. They would bring a flower every time they came and soon enough there was a bouquet of flowers in the vase beside the bed. Everyday I read a new poem to dad, Some were hard to understand but some were beautiful and expressed a new way to look at the world. For my ninth birthday, as I blew out the nine candles, I wished for my dad to be ok, I believed my wish would come true even if everyone else was doubting my father I believed in him. The weeks after my birthday dad was becoming much more tired, he would sleep most of the day, so when I came he was usually asleep. When he was awake he barely ate and soon he even found it hard to lift his own weight, he lived in the hospital bed, but I never gave up believing in him and I told him this everyday. Conversations became shorter and soon enough he was only nodding his head in response. Mum began talking to me about how the doctors were saying he only had a couple of weeks left. I listened to her but at the end of every conversation I would say, “Its ok Mum, he's going to be ok, I know it.” I would smile proudly and pretend that I didnt see the guilt and pain in her eyes as she nodded her head, and gently squeezed my hand. I even pretended I didnt feel the pain in my own chest.

September rolled by giving me less time with dad. I began to draw more, throwing my emotions onto the page helped. It let me feel my emotions in a different way, I wasn't keeping them all bottled up inside because I was putting them out onto a page for everyone to see Nick, Lilly and Ashley were by me all the time checking up at the hospital and talking to me about everything that was happening. The days became shorter and i found that Mum wasn't talking as much, she never smiled anymore and her face seemed to become stained with tears. Everyone was giving up except for me, even Dad started talking about what would happen but I didnt let it get to me, he was strong he would get through this.

I remember the day my dad died, the 12th of October 2003 It was a warm day and Nick and I were playing Tag outside the hospital. Nick was teasing me about my plaited hair and the flowery dress i was wearing, every time he teased me I laughed and hit him. We ran around on the grass till we fell. As we lay on the grass Nick turned to me and whispered in my ear. “You look beautiful.” I blushed and jokingly shoved him so he rolled over on the grass. At that moment one of my dads nurses walked out. I stood up as she walked closer . When she reached us she held my hand and gently squeezed it, she was smiling but her eyes where wet, straight away I knew what was going on, in that one moment, I lost all hope I had of my dads survival. I took one last look at the nurse and ran straight into the hospital followed by Nick. I stopped at my dads room, he was so still, his face wasn't white anymore but grey, and his thin hair was nearly all gone. His once bright blue eyes were now closed. Mum was sat by his bed crying and holding his hand. She hadnt seen me outside the door so I sat outside, Nick holding me in his arms as I cried.

The funeral was held three days later. It was raining, black clouds hung in the sky blocking out any chance of sunlight. The whole town came including Nick, Ashley and Lilly and their families. The priest began the ceremony with my dads favourite poem. I remembered reading it to him in the hospital. As we watched my dads coffin being lowered into the grave, the Priest began to tell us how loved my dad had been, But I didnt have to be told I already knew. My dad was the most important thing I had in my life, since I was born I had always worshipped him. I dreamt about the day he would walk me down the isle and the adventures we would go on before I left home. He wasn't just my  dad, he was my best friend, I told him everything and he told me everything I wanted to know. He was my daddy. I looked around at all the new faces amazed by how many people had come. My mum stood up to say some words but broke into tears halfway through, so my aunt Abbie took my mum away from the podium and held her as she cried in the corner of the church. At that moment I so wanted and needed my fathers warm embrace. I needed him to tell me that everything was going to be ok, to kiss me on my head and squeeze my hand. We held our hands and prayed bringing the ceremony to an end. Everyone came up to mum and I at the end, telling us of how sorry they were for our loss. I remember wondering why they said this,  Its not like they got inside my fathers body and killed him or that they were even at the hospital looking after him. There was a reception at the house afterwards. Food and alcohol was served but I just slunk away to my room wanting to be alone. Lilly soon found me, she hugged me tight and let me cry, without uttering a word. We sat together on my bed in silence hugging each other. I knew then that I would forever be grateful to Lilly for this moment,

My dads death took a huge toll on the family. Mum began to work six nights a week, working three jobs. I stayed at Nicks a lot and concentrated on school work and art. In her spare time my mother cried. She locked herself in the bedroom and I would hear her throwing things around the room as much as it  scared me I felt I had to stay strong, thats what  my dad had told me and I wasn't going to let him down. But I was only nine and there was only so much I could do. I worked for the neighbours to get extra money for mum but that didnt make much of a difference. I never cried at home, the atmosphere was already so sad I didnt want to  worsen it. I would go to Nicks everyday after school, we would sit in his room and I would cry. Nick would hold me close promising that he would never let go, that he would always be there for me. I  never forgot how he made everything feel ok. One day he decided that I needed to go down to the park where dad and I spent our sundays. I hadn't been there since he had gone into the hospital and as much as I begged Nick not to take me he wouldn't let go. When we finally got to the gates of the park I wanted to cry, I gripped Nicks hand tightly and he squeezed my hand back giving me a warm smile. I took a deep breath and we walked into the park over to a small ice cream truck. Nick bought us both an Ice-cream and we sat on the swings discussing the memories we had made at the park. When I got home I realised that I hadn't cried at all and although my dad was gone and was never coming back I knew that I would be ok.  

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