The Ones Left Waiting

You know when someone gets sick? Isn't everyone's first thought automatically about them? Worrying about them, wondering if they're okay? Of course, this is how it should be. But sometimes we forget the people closest to the patient: their best friend, their boyfriend, their brother? How does it affect them?

Jackie Bianco has a brain tumor. She has mere months to live, unless a miracle occurs. But this is not her story. This is the story of Daniel, her twin brother, who needs his calm sister to keep him under control. This is the story of Mia, her best friend, who is like a lost soul without her partner in crime. And this is the story of Firth, the love of Jackie's life, who will surely die without her.

This is the story of the people sitting in the waiting room, the people with nothing left to do but worry. The ones left waiting for news, good or bad.

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6. Daniel

This was not happening. It just wasn’t possible. Jackie, my twin sister, was in a coma. It was unthinkable. Leaning over a toilet bowl, I vomited violently.
“No. No, no, no, NO!” I muttered vehemently.
‘Not Jackie. Not my sister!”
Nausea rose up again and I ducked back down.

After puking my guts out in the restroom, I headed out into the lobby. Mia and Firth called after me,
“Where are you going?” Firth asked, eyes red.
“Away from here.”
“Daniel, don’t do anything- drastic.”
“I know what you’re thinking. But I’m not going to hurt myself in any way. I just need some time to think. Alone.”
They still looked worried, but I strode out of the building and to my car.

After driving thirty miles, I finally reached my destination. I’d arrived at the lake. Every summer during our childhood, our parents brought us up here for two weeks. We rented a cabin and had the time of our lives. Mia and Firth always tagged along and half of our childhood memories were centered on this place. It echoes of a simpler time; a time of water balloon fights, s’mores, creepy ghost stories told late into the night. I needed that comfort right then.
I parked my car and walked to the lake front, the freezing water lapping my heels. It was there that I allowed myself to cry. I screamed to the heavens, beat the ground with my fists and bawled my eyes out. Why Jackie, was the thought constantly coursing through my head.
Firth and Mia found me there at 1 AM in the morning. Numb from the cold, I halfheartedly waved at them,
“Hey, guys.”
“Hey!’ Mia said shrilly, hauling me up.
“Do you have no heart, Daniel Bianco? Your sister’s in a coma, your poor parents are distraught, and you add to their worry by going missing for five hours!”
“I HAVE A HEART!” I bellowed back.
“And the fucking thing is breaking right now!”
She stared at me in outrage. I flipped her off and then back pedaled as she started towards me. Mia took karate since she was six. So maybe giving her the finger was not the smartest thing to do.
Luckily Firth intervened. He jumped in between me and Mia and kept us away from each other.
“Hey!” he yelled.
“Fighting is the wrong thing to do right now! Do you think Jackie would have wanted this! You two clawing at each other like cats and dogs?”
He shook his head wretchedly.
“You guys need to settle your differences and grow up, because we’ve got bigger problems that you hating each other!”
This probably the longest speech I’d ever heard Firth make. It was enough for Mia and me to not go for each other’s throats. Firth hesitantly released us and Mia stuck out her hand for me to shake. Getting the premonition I was about to be judo-thrown, I shook back. Then she pulled me in for a hug.
“I’m sorry.” She said so softly so only I could hear.
“Me too.”
We smiled apologetically at each other and headed to the car.
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