My fingers trembled as I stood at the door to my class. They all knew I had been sick. How was I going to avoid all the questions? How was I going to explain to Harriet, Joe and Nat that I had lung cancer?
I took a shaky breath and stood still again for a moment listening to my ragged breathing. I shook my head then pushed open the door walking in to class. When I walked in everyone looked at me and broke out in smiles. All except Mr Rodney who knew that I was anything but okay as I forced on a smile. He gestured me over and I went. He leant down. "Just take it easy, Miss Verone. If you need to talk any time today you know where to find me" he said quietly before leaning back giving me a supportive smile.
"Thanks, sir" I said softly then turned to head over to my desk with Harriet. Joe and Nat were sat in from of her. "How are you?" Harriet asked instantly.
"I'm... okay. I'll tell you about it later"
"You had us worried sick" Nat accused her grey eyes peering at me suspiciously. I forced a smile and got luckily pulled out of giving an answer as Mr Rodney started to talk about what was new around school.
Once he was done he took the register then let us out of form. "What happened with the doctors?" Joe asked as we headed toward French while Nat and Harriet had Spanish. I looked over at my childhood friend nibbling on my lip.
"It's..... It's not good news" I said slowly. Joe came suddenly to a stop and so did I turning to face him.
He frowned peering down at me having grown at least four inches since I last saw him meaning he now towered over me instead of just leant a little. It wasn't hard to beat me in height though. I'd stopped growing when I was thirteen standing at 5"1 which made everything all that little harder. "What do you mean its not good news?" he asked wary.
I scuffed my shoes against the floor as the corridor started to empty. "I'm sick, Joe" I whispered. "Very sick"
"Then why are you at school?" he said worried putting a hand on my forehead to take my temperature but I batted his hand away.
"Its not.... I have lung cancer"
Everything seemed to go quiet. More cause we were the only ones left in the hallway and seriously late for class. Joe was just watching me. "Cancer..." he said after a while barely getting the word out. "How..... Do you... How long?"
"Shit, Mollie. What the hell are you doing at school? You should be getting treatment. You should-"
"I'm not getting treatment"
Again the silence but this time it was deadly as Joe peered down at me with furious eyes. "What do you mean not getting treatment?" he asked his voice so low it was terrifying but I forced myself to stand strong.
"I don't want it"
"So what?!" he now yelled. "You're giving up!"
I opened my mouth to reply then closed it again. It did seemed that way didn't it. I hugged my stomach peering at my friend with eyes that were filling with tears. "Yes because I have only a few months left and I don't want to spend them in a hospital bed"
That shocked Joe and his face relaxed turning all soft in a second. He yanked me into a hug squeezing me to him. "But you have to fight, Molz" he said using my old nickname. "Life is all about fighting to keep on living. You can't give up when people need you"
I pushed him back. "This is my choice. Now we best get to class before Mrs Sanders throws us in detention" I said ending the discussion. Joe nodded slowly and let go of me. I turned on my heels and strode towards our class.
One look at me and Mrs Sanders just waved us to our seats with a sad frown. When we got to our seats I buried my face in my arms and fought against crying. Joe took hold of my hand and squeezed it once before going back to work. After a while of me just lying on my desk Mrs Sanders came to ask if I was okay. I forced a nod sitting up and angrily wiping away my tears.
"I'm fine" I forced out. "I'll get down to work"
Mrs Sanders didn't seem to believe it but left it alone which I thanked her for. I knew Joe was going to be the toughest one to break the news to. We'd been friends since we were five and had met in the sandpit on our first day of school.
"I'm Mollie" I had said.
"Molz" Joe had grinned over at me.
"No Mollie" I had repeated my name pouting. Joe had shook his head and repeated the shortened version. The memory made me smile and I forced myself to focus on the work.