Slipping From My Grasp

So.... second Movella. This is a story that I wrote quite a while ago, but I won a competition with it and got published in the Red House Young Writers Yearbook 2011, so I thought it might be quite a good piece to get started with.

It's just a short narrative by a teenage girl who has found out she is terminally ill and has only months to live. I'm aware it's quite sad, and I have maybe chosen some quite depressing subject matter, but when I wrote this I really wanted to tackle something challenging head on. I just hope you all like it.

Thanks so much for reading, and please comment to let me know what you think! If I get enough positive feedback I may even extend this into a longer piece :) x


1. Accepting


I’m dying.


Those words taste so strange in my mouth, as if they shouldn’t be there. I don’t suppose they should, really. Nothing makes sense anymore. None of this has sunk in; I don’t think it ever will. How is anyone, least of all a sixteen year old girl, meant to come to terms with the fact that her life is coming to an end? You’re not; that’s what’s so cruel about it. I spend all my time hoping and praying that I’ll pull through, that somehow all the doctors and specialists I’ve seen will turn out to be wrong... but I know, in my heart of hearts, that that won’t be the case.


My life is ebbing away from me, and it haunts me that my time is slipping out of my grasp so quickly. I want to hold onto every second but I can’t. The months are slipping away, and I’m beginning to wish that this infernal countdown would just end. Right now. Everything’s ten times more painful because I can almost see it happening, as if the sand timer’s just getting lower and lower, not stopping.


I’m past wondering why this happened to me, why I was singled out of so many people. It could have been anyone, after all. It could have been my sister, or my best friend, or that girl in the year above me at school who I barely speak to. I don’t blame anyone or anything. It’s just not my way of dealing with it. I’ve heard of some people wasting away at home, closing themselves off from the world, as if they could pretend that it was a bad dream they were going to wake up from in the end. Or some people get emotional. Very emotional. Some people get so angry they scream at anyone who dares to approach them, then the next minute they’re breaking down sobbing. I’ve never done any of that. It just didn’t seem right. I got on with it, because I knew whatever I did I couldn’t change the outcome. It was better to focus on enjoying the end of my life. I never think of it like that, as the ‘end’ of my life. Sometimes, it feels like I could live forever. But I know I won’t. I’m never going to get a fairytale ending.


It’s hard, of course it’s hard. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, knowing how and when I’m going to die. I hate it that all my friends will grow up and live normal lives, go to university, have a job, get married, have children, grandchildren, all of it, and I won’t. I’ll be a distant memory from their youth, a long dead person. I’ll never age like them. I’ll be frozen in time as a sixteen year old... forever. It makes me want to laugh. That they’ll all fret about growing old. Most people don’t realise how lucky they are, getting to grow old like that. I wouldn’t care about a few grey hairs or wrinkles if I could only live!


None of this was how I’d imagined it to happen. Not that I’d ever thought it would happen to me. I don’t think anybody ever does. You hear about these things, these horrible, horrible things, but you just take it as read that they’ll never happen to you. That’s what I did. I remember the firs t moment when I knew I was going to... to die. There’d been months of tests and appointments, but nobody told me anything. And then, one day, they called us up to the hospital unexpectedly. I could never forget that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when the doctor asked to speak to my mum ‘in private’. That doctor... in his stupid white coat, with his stupid stethoscope dangling around his stupid neck. Why couldn’t he just say it, straight out to me, right there in the corridor: “I’m sorry, you have seven months left to live.” Because it doesn’t work like that. And he wasn’t sorry. I must have been the hundredth patient he’d diagnosed. A few months, and he won’t even remember my name.


And my mum left me, sitting there in the waiting area, drumming my fingers against the arm of the chair and trying not to look at the medical posters on the noticeboard. People came and went. I waited. Everything seemed to be happening in a blur around me, yet I was still and oblivious... And still I waited. I guess that’s why they call it a ‘waiting’ room! And then, the worst... Mum came out of the room, her eyes red. She had been crying. She wouldn’t look at me. And I knew. Straight away, I knew why.


So, that was the beginning of the end. The first few words in the last chapter of my life. There’s not much chance of me forgetting them, ever.


I don’t have a future. Only a past, and a present.


I’m dying.

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