Renata has always known that the hazy memories of her younger brother are real, even if her mother had denied it. As she struggles with a battle against Thyroid cancer they meet again.
A lot of research went into this story but I am not an expert on Cancer patients nor do I have cancer.
Submission for the salvage creative writing contest.


2. Joe


I ring my hands slowly as I approach the front desk, I’ve never liked hospitals, not since I was little and they had to chase me round the room to give me an injection.  They smell like disinfectant and I hate being in places where people have obviously died. I know that I could be walking down the street and simply step over the place where someone had lost their life and never know this. But you know that people die in hospitals, it’s a fact of life. I felt properly sick from the smell of disinfectant; the nurse looked up from her nails as she filed them slowly, regarding me like a stray dog had just walked in rather that a human being. I gulped quickly, trying to swallow the nerves; I had good reason to be nervous, I’m sure that you would too if put in my position.

“Can I help you?” She asked in that patronizing sing song voice that people in hospitals tended to have. Maybe they were trying to cheer people up when those people are losing their loved ones, or maybe it’s to cheer themselves up.

I tried not to stutter as I spoke, “I-I’m here to see, Renata Furlan?” It was more of a question than a statement, but just saying that name made me even more nervous.

Cautiously, the women looked me up and down, seeing that my hair was in disarray and my clothes were so far from clean. It’s kind of difficult to wash when you’re living on the streets. It also means I don’t have the most extensive amount of clothes, simply the holed, fraying dirty ones that had been on my back for just over two months.

She pursed her small glossy lips, “And who is it exactly that wants to see her?”

“I’m her,” I struggled to come up with the word, come on, just two syllables. “Brother, I’m her brother.” The women put her head down as she typed into her computer, her eyes narrowed slightly as she read the small printed patient information. Reaching for her reading glasses, she quickly took down a note on a green ‘post-it note’ and turned back to face me.

“You’re not allowed in to see her; you should know that by now. Renata Furlan has not accepted any visitors since she was admitted to hospital.” Talking angrily, she tried to dismiss me but I’m not going to give up this quickly. I never give up this quickly.

I protested quite suddenly, “You have to let me in, I need to see her!” I insisted, my hands now on her desk as I spoke. Brushing my hands off gently she went back to work, staring at the wearing letters on her keyboard as she didn’t type.  “I’m her brother, I need to see her.” I said quietly causing her to glance up again at my now crumbling brave faced façade.

“She has said that no one from her foster family may visit now I think you should leave before I call security.” She said sternly, going back to the business-like manner she had been working in.

“But I’m not her foster brother, I’m her real brother. My name is Joe Wilkes; we had the same mum but different dads.” I said quickly hoping to god that I could just be allowed to go see my sister. After over ten years all I wanted to do was run and check every single room until I found her, but I kept calm.

She looked torn, biting her lip before picking up the phone, I quickly stepped back thinking she might be calling for security. “Don’t worry, I’m calling her Ward to see if her story checks out with yours.” She reassured me, but it did nothing of the sort. How is my sister meant to remember me, we haven’t seen each other in over ten years, the only reason I knew that she existed was the little secret picture my mum kept of her in her purse. Dad didn’t like us to talk about her inside of his house, the subject was completely forbidden. Luckily once, dad had gone out raging to wherever he used to go whenever we upset him, mum got really drunk and told me all about her.

She was three years old when I was born; mum had been depressed for a while after Renata’s father had died. My dad was there, my mum was desperate and lonely and that’s how I came along. That was the almost exact way mum had put it to me and that should have upset me, secretly, it really did. I was an accident, an accident that my father had decided he didn’t need to bother with. We had a great three years together, my sister and I.

But it was just after my third birthday that my dad came back, he said he was a changed man and that he wanted me back again, not that he had me in the first place. Mum was naïve and once again desperate, she let him take me away and lied to my sister about me for almost a year before the money got too tight. Going and begging my dad to take her back, he refused as long as Renata was still in the picture. That’s how she ended up in the system, I had a mum, not a very good mum but one Renata should have known better. She overdosed last year and I found out that Dad beat her, it was hard but I didn’t particularly like my father to begin with, this was the icing on the cake. Mum was in a psychiatric ward and dad was refusing to let me visit.

When I found out about Renata’s cancer I had been online, casually scrolling through Facebook since there was not much else to do at the time. Suddenly, I had the idea to look her up; I knew it was a longshot but I tried anyway. How many other people can have the name Renata Furlan, apparently five other people had the name and I quickly looked through their page to see if anything matched.

It was the last one when I saw her, in her profile picture he had her arm swung carelessly around another girl, both laughing, oblivious to the camera. The girl had short dark hair like both mum and I have and she kind of resembled the picture that mum had kept all these years, the same one that currently resided in my pocket. Green eyes, wide in glee, she looked so happy and it made me jealous. Until, I reached her most recent post.

Wish my mother could have told me about a possible hereditary disease before she dumped me here.

Below, the comments were all get well soon messages. It scared me half to death as I read further into the comments, I found out she had cancer. My heart seemed to stop, she was my sister, I felt it inside and I couldn’t let her die without me meeting her again. I knew that the possibility was quite extreme but it was still a possibility.

I ran away because dad wouldn’t let me go, it took me an entire month to travelto the hospital, it couldn’t be over now, could it?

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