Flatline

Brielle has always been a tad bit peculiar, strange. She is twenty-eight years old and has been dancing ballet forever. However, during a routine check, something shows up. Something that isn't good. More tests are done, and the doctors can only tell her one thing; cancer. It's in her blood and her lungs, a consequence to the years of smoking that her parents went through starting the day she was born.

Her cancer doesn't only bring her morning sickness, hair loss, it also brings her friends. Old friends she used to be in contact with, but also new ones, Anthony. Anthony, a young boy visiting his sister in the hospital, the person who becomes one of her best friends in the year she has been battling at that time. The two of them get involved, knowing the risks damn well, but they fight. The harder they fight for their relationship, the more she gets confronted with her illness, that seems to be everywhere.

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3. chapter two

Her mother had left a while ago, leaving the room empty, except for her and her fever that as still roaring free. Even though she still didn't feel better at all, she had to make a few phone calls, tell a few people, before they too found out in a similar fashion as her 'parents' did, like Emma did. There were so many people that she had to call herself, or that just had to know. Her ballet company, because there was no way that she could do that again, that she could stand on the tips of her toes and dance again. Do a pirouette and not fall, or be dizzy, or anything.

      Her ballet instructor would understand, but she would have a lot of explaining to do, because she hadn't let her know that she didn't come for a long time. Her hand shook violently as she dialed in the number, and waited as it rung.

      She didn't know why she was nervous about this, it would just be a call to say that she would not return to the company anymore, and that was it, but she felt like she had a responsibility, maybe, that she had abandoned everybody by not showing up, giving vague excuses that nobody really understood.

      But how could she tell the ballet studio that she had cancer and hence being the reason for not showing up, while her own mother didn't even know about it? That would be a little too absurd, and her mother would kill her, which wasn't exactly a good thing.

      "Hello?" The familiar voice of her ballet instructor, Melanie, sounded through the horn. The next lesson would be starting in about ten minutes, and she should be in that one.

      "Hello," Brielle said, her voice almost shaking. "This is, Brielle. I'm calling to say that I won't make it to the lesson today." Flimsy excuse. Flimsy excuse. Extremely bad, but well, she would explain herself anyway, so a bad excuse was in place.

      "Again?" she heard her say, clearly annoyed. "Brielle, would you want to call when you can call? You haven't attended a single lesson in like, forever, everybody is starting to see you as a ghost around here." ‘I am almost a ghost’ she added in her thoughts, but didn’t say it.

      "I know," she said, looking at her nails, fighting the urge to bite them, "but I do have a very good reason, not that it makes anything better." Her lungs were exploding. Still were, and the medicine wasn’t helping at all.

      "Well, I'd like to hear it now." She sounded so unfriendly, so harsh, while she was such a good person, she really liked her actually.

      "I'm at the hospital at the moment," she started. "A serious infection. After, after the chemo." She took a deep breath before saying the c word, the bad word that nobody wanted to hear, but was forced to hear. "I have cancer." Again, the silence was pressing on her heart, making her eyes sting with tears. "I'm really sorry that I didn't tell you earlier, but I had to inform my parents and the family first, before I tell you guys."

      "I'm, I'm sorry."

      "No," Brielle said. "Don't be. I'll get through it eventually, but I will not be dancing anytime soon. Too tired to dance, and too dizzy mostly."

      "I really hope we get to see you again soon, pay us a visit from time to time, we'd love to see you." She had to swallow before she could answer.

      "I'll try, when I get out of the hospital." She hung up the phone, not saying goodbye or anything when she felt the way she always felt right before she had to throw up. It had become such a big part of her life, after chemo, to get sick, really sick and spend sometimes hours, or days in the bathroom, not being able to keep anything down.

      Of course, when she was in the hospital, they had her on an infuse to keep her weight up so she didn't get too weak.

      She almost flew out of bed, through the doors of the bathroom and, holding her hair out of her face, threw up. It was pure vile, since there was nothing in her belly to get out of her system. There was nothing to get out, not a single thing. The IV stand had followed her like a stray dog, not letting the lines that were put into her bloodstream go.
      A nurse came in, helped her clean her face up a little and back into bed. Something was put next to her, so that she didn’t have to get out of bed again, and the fact that she had thrown up was written on her chart. Everything was always written on her chart, and she was sure, that after the chemo and the cancer her medical records would be quite the lecture, since it already contained a lot from the days that she had been in NICU and scared the hell out her of parents often. Of course, her mother couldn’t blame her for that, she was small and born way too soon.

 

When she picked up the phone again, it was to call her oldest sister. The two hadn’t talked in ages, since she was still studying, and the exams were way too close to really be disturbed while studying, but this time, Brielle considered it time to finally call her.
      The phone rung often, before it was eventually picked up by her sister’s girlfriend, who lived in the same dorm as her.
      “Hello?” she asked, a little annoyed.
      “Hi Alesana,” Brielle said, trying to keep her voice normal. Even though Brielle had always known her sister was a lesbian, it was still weird to talk to her girlfriend, just like it was weird to talk to Emma’s boyfriend. They just felt like strangers,“Is Alexandra there?”
      “No,” she said, “she’s at college at the moment.” She already sounded a little bit more gentle. “Want me to pass her a note?”
      “Yeah,” she said, after thinking about It for a little while. “Could you tell her to come and pay me a visit when she finds time to do so? I’m.. I’m in the hospital, floor six, room six hundred and four.”
      “Yeah,” she said, surprise toning her voice. “I’ll tell her. You want me to call her right now? If it’s urgent?”

      “No,” she said, “it’s urgent, but let get go through her complete class first, it wouldn’t be fair to disturb her.” Now she can still focus on her work. Brielle didn’t say it out loud, because she knew that it would worry Alesana, and she didn’t want to do that, because she knew that she would call Alex anyway.
      “I have a few other phone calls to do,” Brielle said, before hanging up. “Bye.”

 

Emma didn’t take it good, and that was an understatement. She stopped by ditching the last hours of school and sat on the end of her bed while Brielle told her the news. That she had cancer, leukemia, spread to her lungs. As soon as the first tear rolled down her cheek, the next followed and she started crying.
      Seeing Emma cry was hard on Brielle, because she had always been the sister that she had the best bound with, the one who understood her like no-one else did.
      “Are you going to die?” she asked, after Brielle had taken her into her arms and allowed her to cry it out. “Don’t kid me.”
      “I don’t know,” Brielle said, telling her the truth. “Everybody dies, but I can’t tell you whether cancer will kill me. No matter how you look at it, I will not die soon. Not if everything goes okay and the chemo helps me. I may have years, and I may have days, I just cannot tell you.”
      “Thanks.” She whispered. “For not kidding me. For the truth.”

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