I wake up and look at my clock: 5:30Am. I get out of bed and go to my closet. “Hm.” I say choosing what to wear, I usually don’t care what I wear but I guess I’m getting sort of over being so… boyish all the time. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, being raised by a single dad for so many years.
My mother died when I was young, I still remember a vaguely familiar face, but I don’t remember much other than that. All the rest is from pictures, and stories my older sister, Anna, used to tell me before she moved out after she graduated, and last I’d heard she went to live with some guy in Arizona. But I guess I’ve always been sort of okay with being just me and my dad in this big house. I grab a pair of shorts and a striped shirt. It’s too much work to care. I go into my bathroom and start the shower water going. I look into the mirror to see a tired looking girl in overly-baggy clothes and a messy bun. Then look down, where dozens of bottles are on the countertop. Prescriptions. Medicine. Drugs. Whatever you want to call them. They’re all there. Been there for almost 2 years, since we were told that a certain kind of cell stopped being produced in my body. When the doctor told us I have something called “blastic leukemia, ” It’s a curtain type of cancer which basically kills my bone marrow.
I close my eyes as I let the sound of running water fill my ears, and lean over the bathroom counter.
“Opal, hurry up, don’t be late for school!” I hear my dad say from down stairs and get into the shower.
“A rock.” I laugh/sigh to myself, through the toothbrush and toothpaste in my mouth, looking up at my name on the back of the bathroom door with letter stickers I put up when I was 8, as I’m drying my wet, brown hair in the steamy bathroom. Opal is a type of rock, and it’s what my parents decided to call me. I’ve always hated it, even when I was young. I can’t imagine a more stupid name than “rock.” Ever hear the term: Dumber than a rock? Well, that basically just summed up my rant.
I speed-walk into my bedroom, with my hair up in a towel like an Egyptian, and a toothbrush in my mouth, toward my shoes thrown near my door, as I look at the clock on my bedside table while walking the other direction: 6:15 “Crap.” I say under my breath taking out the toothbrush, and heading back into the bathroom to grab my hairbrush, put my toothbrush back, and put my blue converse on, at the same time. Yearbook starts in 15 minutes. When I grab my hairbrush, I glance in the mirror and take my mascara, too, as an afterthought.
I close my eyes and think everything over.
1. Clothes: on.
2. Shoes: on feet
3. Brush: in hand
4. Backpack: down stairs
5. Computer: inside backpack
6. Yearbook pictures: inside computer
“What am I missing?” I look around and see my dad in the doorway
“7. Keys” he says tossing me my car keys.
“Thanks dad!” I say looping the keys around my finger and give him a goodbye hug and run downstairs. As I pick up my backpack I get an apple and throw it up in one hand, while still in the air I get my Geometry book on the kitchen counter and catch the apple. Yes, (if you haven’t figured it out already) I am an amazing multitasker.
“Bye, Ruby!” I yell to my black lab while taking a bite of my apple and running out the door.
In the car I brush out my hair and take my meds.
When I get to school I park my car and practically sprint to classroom B6 (AKA Yearbook)
Ever since I found out my days are numbered I decided to take some extra circular, right now I only have yearbook, but later in the year I want to sign up for a sport team. I try to open the door slowly and quietly so no one will notice I’m late. Unfortunately, there’s only two other people in this club, so they notice right away.
“Where have you been? We’ve been waiting for those photos all morning!” Jenny says. She’s been my best friend since like 1st grade, because neither of us really liked our names, and partnered up for almost everything ever since. A couple sleepovers later, and here we are: Head of the yearbook committee in our junior year of high school, wow, never thought I’d say that! I’m the only reason she took this EC, but Jen’s gotten ‘really’ into it!
“Uh, hi to you too?” I say taking out my computer, “and I’m only like five minutes late, chill.” I open the computer and load the pictures onto the main computer we borrowed from the school for this reason only.
I look over at Aaron who is asleep in the chair to my left. We’ve gotten kind of close, too, not as close as Jen, and me, but closer than any other guy I’ve known. We met in Chemistry class, and he used to help me with the formulas and potions we were required to do, and I guess we’ve just been friends ever since. I’ve never told him or Jen this, but I’ve always had a little crush on him.
“Hey, kid.” I say nudging him awake in his chair. He stretches and yawns as he rubs the sleep out of his eyes and running his hands over his face and through his dirty-blonde hair. I stare at him for a beat too long, but catch myself before he notices.
“Hey.” He says in a deep sleepy voice, sitting up a little trying to seem semi-awake.
“How much sleep did you get last night?”
He shrugs, “Not much, Alice keeps waking up in the middle of the night and either vomiting or eating. Sometimes she vomits, then later on gets hungry and gets up again to eat. And she’s super loud doing both, and my room being 3 feet away from the kitchen and the bathroom doesn’t help.” His sister is pregnant and came home for the baby to be born, so she could be with her parents when she goes into labor, but it’s driving Aaron crazy.
“That’s rough.” I tell him.
Then break into a major work session after Jen goes all: “If you guys don’t stop talking during our work time, I’m going to vote you both out of yearbook.” Which, she wouldn’t do in a million years, but we just nodded and apologized to keep her happy.