"I've given up on school. Not going today."
"Well, why not?" Johnathan sounds so confused, it takes me a minute to remember that I haven't told him about my inevitable death.
"Oh. Come over after school, and I'll tell you."
"Okay!" he says happily. I hang up.
The hours pass slowly. I take my medicine.
How am I going to tell him?
I wheel myself to the front door after several excruciating hours, waiting and practicing lines. I crack it open to see Johnathan's face. I couldn't quite make out his emotions just then.
"Hey." He says. "Are you okay, then?"
"I-" I open my mouth, then shut it. "Come inside."
We must look strange to the passerby. I've positioned myself in the middle of the room, facing him. He's sitting comfortably on the couch, whereas my posture is stiff, and I don't let it touch the clear plastic covering of my wheelchair.
"Yes." All of my previously practiced script is lost to me, and all I can do is gape. At last, I decide to talk a page from Dr. Beard's book.
"I'm going to die."
I start to panic. This is not working out. "Ah, well, my... SPS? I- in ten days- I'll die. Or, they say ten days. Could be more. Could be less. I don't really know. They don't really know either." I'm rambling, and my face is flushed, but I can't stop talking. Anything to fill the silence, to stop whatever words might be coming next.
"...my mom is really scared, and I guess I'm scared too, but eventually I'll a-"
I trail into silence, waiting for Johnathan. Butterflies flitter in my stomach as he speaks.
"You're going to die in ten days."
I nod. The butterflies are going crazy.
"And there's no way to stop it?"
I turn my palms skyward. Words seem to have disappeared, leaving me only at a strange loss for words.
"That's..." Johnathan shakes his head, looking down at the carpet. "That's insane."
"I guess." I say stupidly.
"Not nearly enough time." He mumbles, so quietly I get the feeling that I wasn't supposed to hear it.
"Hey," he says, looking back at me. "Wanna meet me at the beach tomorrow night?"
"Oh, sure." I try to say nonchalantly, but I can't keep the wide smile off my face.
"Cool." He says. "See you tomorrow."