Sometimes I wanted to be an Emily. Or a Hannah. Or maybe even a Jennifer. But I got stuck with Opal. Yes, I'm named after a rock. A stupid, dull, rock. Or, that's what I thought before...Well, before I met him. He changed everything. Of course, so did me being diagnosed. Also, moving across the country to find a treatment; that changed stuff too. But most of all, he changed me. I'm Opal Clemens. I have a rare type of bone marrow cancer. Untreatable so far. And this is my life.



When the bell rings I grab my backpack and stuff my computer inside. “See you later, guys!” I throw a small wave in their direction and walk out of the classroom, where kids are running around like a swarm of bees.
“Hey, Opal,” I hear Aaron say from behind me so I turn around.
“What’s up?”
He comes to a halt when he’s a couple feet from me. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Uh,” I think about my day, “1st period, 2nd period, 3rd per--”
“No!” He interrupts, with a laugh “I meant after school.”
“Oh,” is all I can say before my face feels hot. His smile is contagious, though, and I relax a little. “I don’t have anything after school, except for homework, probably.” I shrug
Aaron nods. “Do you think your dad would be okay if I took you out for a bit?” He asks a little hopeful, but still weary of my answer.
My dad is really over-protective around boys, so Aaron has always been a little cautious around him.
“Like a date?” I ask with a sarcastic smile on my face. But on the inside I’m secretly asking myself why he’d want to go out with me. I’m not pretty, or graceful. I’m awkward, and clumsy, and never dress like I care, like a girl should, why is he asking ME out? I mean, he’s smart, and has a sense of humor, and, though his glasses are in the way of seeing it at first, he’s kind of good-looking; with his dirty-blond hair, and bright blue eyes, and lightly tanned skin.
Then all of a sudden a wash of sadness takes over me because I know my dad wouldn’t even think about letting me go out with boy by myself until I was at least 80 years old!
“Kind of,” he says in almost a question, unsure of himself. His usual broad, toothy, signature smile, replaced with an awkward, little smirk, at the corner of his mouth. I know he’s never asked a girl out in his life, and I find it interesting how he picked me, of all girls in the entire school. (Though I’m sure I’m one of the two girls, not related to him, he’s talked to this semester.)
“Um,” I start not wanting to hurt his feelings or say the wrong thing, “I’d have to ask my dad” which he knows already.
“Yeah,” he moves his weight from one foot to the other, “What if he said yes? Would you want…” he pauses obviously nervousness practically taking over him, “To… Go out?” He sucks in a breath “With me.” He corrects himself quickly.
“Of course, you’re one of my best friends!” I try to say as coolly as I can, as if I’m not completely dying inside.
“Oh,” He says his eyes darting to the floor, his hand going to the back of his neck. I realize I chose the wrong word. I meant to say that like I wanted to go out with him, but I used the worst word to use possible: “Friend” which means he is probably getting the wrong idea, that I don’t like him, and he’s totally making a fool out of himself right now. I almost hear him tearing himself down in his head.
I look down at my watch, noticing I only have a few minutes before my next class starts.
“Walk me to class?” I ask trying to be as obvious as possible.
He looks up his toothy smile coming back into view. “Sure.”

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