"It's not good news."
The words had become too familiar to Andrea Rolland over the years.
The look in the doctors eyes, it was also something that had grown far too familiar, as that terrible sentence tumbled out of their mouths and rolled of their tongues as if they spoke the words every day.
This time though, it was different.
Andrea turned back to look at the Doctor who stood at the end of the bed, staring at the sleeping girl.
"We've done all the testing we could and it has spread rapidly, even throughout therapy." The older man spoke. He clutched his clipboard to his chest as Andrea's blue eyes searched his wiser grey ones.
If she had a pound for every time she had been in this same position, she'd be able to buy Katie some kind of fancy expensive chocolate bar they sold downtown at that gift shop she loved so much.
The scenario was the same, but something was different this time. Every other time she heard the doctors speak these words, there was some sort of ultimatum. They'd quickly make up with a "Well we could always try..."
It was the indefinite hope in their eyes that was always there.
But this time,
This time it was different.
"What are you saying?" Andrea asked, eyebrows scrunching together in confusion. The doctor cleared his throat. Behind Andrea, she was aware of her friend still asleep in the hospital bed.
"I'm saying that there's nothing more we can do." He looked at her sadly. Andrea's breath caught in her throat as the doctor continued.
The light sound of Katie's breathing and steady heartbeat coming from the monitor was the only thing that kept her from screaming.
"She's stopped responding to treatments and the cancer has spread too rapidly for us to do anything further."
It was almost like Andrea's brain had completely shut down for the moment. She could faintly feel her heart beating in her chest, but that was the only noise she could hear as everything around her seemed to drift away.
There was a long, unbearable silence as she looked back at her beautiful best friend. Her eyes were closed peacefully, but the bags under her eyes reminded her of how tired the girl was. Her sunken cheeks and pale face used to be full of life. Her brown hair fanned over the pillow behind her head.
Andrea's eyes pricked with tears, the words still soaking in.
3 years of waiting to hear a doctor tell her that,
it seemed sort of surreal.
People often had the debate on whether or not everything was predetermined. There was a certain comfort in knowing, that whatever you did, would somehow work for you. That somehow, someone was watching where you were going and making sure you ended up in the right place. But no one could ever really be sure.
Andrea remembered the day she was called into the hospital when she was only 15.
She remembered seeing Katie's parents, crying softly in the corner of the room. She remembered her own mother, speaking in hushed conversation to the doctor.
It was her mother who told her later that night.
"Katie has Leukaemia."
And it was ever since then that Andrea realised, maybe everything was pre-determined. Maybe there was a greater good that saw through your mistakes and your choices. But either way, you were dealt with whatever card you were dealt.
And either way, you had to make the most of it.
Andrea pulled herself from her revery before turning back to the doctors. A few stray tears trailing down her cheeks as she choked,
She searched long and hard for that lost hope in his eyes, but she couldn't find it. It was replaced with an overwhelming amount of sadness.
"Time will tell, but I'd say she only has about a month or two left to live."