Everywhere I turn, all I see is sadness. Pity from the receptionist clacking away at her keyboard. Her arm holds out a cracked lollipop that looks like it's been in her purse since she was a child. I decline, instead focusing on making my way towards room seventeen. My room.
Sad eyes from the nurses and doctors that pass me in the hallway.
Anguish from my mother. She's sitting in the chair outside my room. Her head is buried between her knees, crumpled tissues surrounding her. My stepfather stands behind her, his hands rubbing small circles on her back in an act of comfort.
My hand rests on the metal doorknob, fingers shaking slightly. The gray door creaks open, revealing the familiar room of which I've spent so much time in.
"Did you enjoy your walk?" The doctor asks. I shake my head, and sit down at my bed. I rub my thigh, more as a habit then anything else.
I shrug, kicking my good leg back and forth. "I guess." Sighing, I stare at the tile floor, my eyes tracing the scratches and scars in it.
"So how does you leg feel?"
I shrug again. "It still hurts, a lot." I watch as my leg twitches, roughly. The doctor's eyes are locked on my leg, his gaze deeply concerned.
"Your mother already knows what you have, of course. And I assume you would like to know?"
I nod vigorously, anticipation pumping through my veins. With all my might, I hope that it's just an extra bad muscle cramp. It couldn't be anything else, right?
"Mrs. Tannahill?" The doctor is leaning out the door, calling to my mother. The name tag hanging off his lanyard is spinning, and I catch a glimpse of his name as it flies by Dr. Beard.
I stifle a chuckle as my mother steps into the room. Her eyes are bloodshot, and still dripping with tears. With a soft cry, she runs over to me, hugging me tightly.
Dr. Beard coughs, and mom lets go of me. "Are you going to tell her?" She whispers hoarsely, like I can't hear her.
He nods, grimly. "Maria, we have diagnosed you with Stiff Person Syndrome."
I freeze, the words hitting me like a bullet. Syndrome.
"It's a very rare condition," He continues. "And..." He pauses, just for a moment. "As of now, there is no known cure for it."
I feel like I've been kicked in the stomach. Doubling over, I hold my side, praying for this to be just a dream. My vision tunnels, until all I can see is the floor. The doctor continues talking, but it all sounds like mush in my ears. Everything gets quieter, darkness obscures my view, until there seems to be nothing at all.