Forty Two

Forty two days. That was all the time I had left in this world. My sickness is getting stronger and consequently I am getting weaker.

So I promised myself I wouldn't start anything new, nothing I wouldn't be here for to finish. But then I met him.



1. Day One // Truth


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“The truth." Dumbledore sighed. "It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

- J.K Rowling


‘Doth add more grief to too much of mine own. Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs; being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes; being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears. What is it else? A madness most discreet, a choking gall, and a preserving sweet.’

I twisted my head uncomfortably, the lumps in the hospital pillow clearly prevalent. I swallowed, my throat burning, the sour taste of the hospital food still in my mouth, and focused my gaze back on the torn book lying in my lap. My eyes followed the words, savouring them, the feel of them as they quietly dripped off my tongue. I even tried speaking in different accents, marvelling how different the phrases sounded as letters and sounds were elongated.

‘Tell me in sadness, who is that you love?’

I could hear voices outside, muffled whispers. My gaze left the pages and I found myself staring at my mother through the glazed window, who clearly agitated with the news she was receiving from my nurse. Her face showed changing emotions. Shock, disbelief, sadness and… grief?

My vision started to blur, and my head started to pound. I dropped my gaze to my hand, moving it around, so that I could see the blue of my veins. It was a habit I had, which people described as both disgusting and creepy. But I found so incredibly interesting. The colour reminded me I was alive, that the blood was still pumping and the oxygen was still there.

The door opened and my mother approached me cautiously. ‘Reading that again?’ She asked, I could detect a faint smile behind her sad eyes. 

‘Never get sick of it.’ I smiled, my cheeks stretching, feeling unnatural.

‘That’s good honey.’ Her voice seemed distant.

Silence followed her statement. We both seemed to float mindlessly in the silence, trying to fold it over our fragile bodies, wanting it to protect us from the cold, hard truth.

‘I…I have to tell you something Em.’

I swallowed. It was bad, I knew it. ‘How long have I got?’

Tears started to fall from her already swollen eyes. She reached for my hand, wrinkles appearing upon her forehead as she started to shake from her sobs. ‘You’re such a smart girl, so smart…so smart.’

‘Mum, I… I’m sorry.’

She sat up straighter, forcefully wiping away her tears. ‘No. No don’t you dare apologise, it’s not your fault. It’s this… this monster of a disease. It just fights and fights until your last dying breath.’ Her voice shook.

‘How long have I got?’ I asked again, asking the question I never wanted to hear the answer to.

‘Well, the doctor has given me this medication which should get you through the next few weeks, but there’s only so much it can do.’ She breathed in air sharply through her clenched teeth, her grip on my hand had grown both tighter and more protective.

‘They’re guessing you’ve only got forty two days left.’

The truth slapped me, so hard I could almost feel my cheeks raw and burning. Forty-two days and everything I once knew would become black nothing. My mother started to cry again but I couldn’t find the strength in myself to comfort her.

I placed Romeo and Juliet back underneath my pillow, and suddenly the irony hit me. This was my favourite novel because I felt as though I could relate to it, but no one had ever come close to loving me as Romeo loved Juliet, and I was going to die before I found anyone who did.




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