The car shook my stomach as well as my frayed nerves. That was not what I had been expecting. I was anticipating instant vomiting and being tired. But no, just a mild tingling in my arm and a touch of nausea, nothing more than I was used to so I paid no attention to it.
In fact, this charade continued for a couple of days.
Heidi and Robert had rung me, just as they promised and I even went to school, surprising even myself.
Then, on the thursday, it all changed. Strange red ulcers had formed inside my mouth which made it hard to chew and it was really sore. Half way to maths, though, I collapsed after struggling with the fatigue for an hour.
"Alli, Alli?" Heidi called, fearing my number was up.
"It's just the chemo, just the chemo." i kept repeating, half fainted.
"What do I do?" She cried in horror.
"Get...Miss Davis." Was the only person I could think of.
Sense didn't intervene as Heidi ran off, leaving me surrounded by strangers who were gawping and frowning at me. I faded in and out, and was just waking up when Miss Davis and Heidi ran up to me, pushing through the throng of students.
"Why didn't you get help first?" Miss Davis said angrily, bending down beside me.
"My...I asked...for you. My fault." I got out.
"Hold on, Alli. Two minutes."
Struggling slightly because of our unequal weight, Miss Davis slung my arm over her shoulder and help me walk to Student Services where a bed waited.
"Wish I could carry you." Miss Davis mumbled as my feet slowed and tripped feebly.
"Sorry." I croaked every time I fell and she had to catch me.
Creaking in protest, I was placed on the old bed supported by just three worn and rusty springs.
Heidi sat down next to me as Miss Davis rushed to tell the school nurse what had happened and get my mum on the phone. Water in a glass was pressed into my hand and mechanically I drunk it, my brain not knowing if it wanted it or not.
"I'm sorry, Heidi." I sat up, clear of all traces of tiredness and eager to make her feel better.
"I can't believe I didn't know what to do." Despairingly, she shook her head, her long black hair rippling like the sea.
"How would you? You have about as much experience with this as I have. You did fine, considering."
"You have to tell me everything, so I know what to do with you enxt time."
"There won't be a next time," I said firmly, "I just need to learn how to manage how I feel; it's so strange not knowing how my body will react and what to do."
"Alli, Alli?" Cried my mum as she flew in the door.
"Well, bye Alli, hope you feel better soon." Heid left to give us some privacy.
"Are you alright, Alli?"
"Much, thanks." I told mum.
"Why did you leave home if you weren't feeling well?" She snapped and I was all too aware of Miss Davis standing in the doorway.
"I...I didn't know then."
"Well you should know."
Suddenly I couldn't take this, not infront of Miss Davis, not while I was dying.
"Mum, I'm, dying and you're moaning at me for not knowing what's happening to me, just after my treatment?" I couldn't believe it.
"Well..." She searched for something hurting to say, "You're not giving us all one ounce of hope."
"Hope?" I stuttered, totally winded and wounded.
"Yes. You won't even try more chemo so we have nothing left to hope for."
"Mum," My voice was quiet and my eyes were welling up with tears larger than any I had ever experienced, "If you want hope, please, I am not the one to give it to you. There is no hope for me now, I-I can't believe you even said that." I broke.
"Um, Mrs Hall, you need to go and sign your daughter out." Miss Davis coughed from her post.
After my mum had gone, we stared at each other for a few minutes.
"I'm sorry you had to see that." I whispered.
"Why do you always apologise? It wasn't your fault."
"I just want to make everything better. Nothing seems to work anymore." I let my despair sink through my bones and into the floor, radiating up the walls like a raging heat.
"Are you alright?"
"Tired. Tired of everything. I'm just tired."