I never knew how slowly a week could pass. The sun shone blindingly in the sky as my feet plodded wearily back and forth, back and forth between my house and Rose's. She stayed inside most of the time, up in her room, but once a day she'd come out and sit on the porch with me, watching seagulls scream over the pounding waves.
But that week, the slowest of my life, wasn't long enough.
Every other afternoon, Rose had to go back to the hospital for some "tests" before she could start chemo. Whenever she came home, she looked sicker and paler than she had before she'd left. I think she wanted me to go with her, but I couldn't make myself go, and besides, my mother said she didn't want me going anyway. So I stayed with Rose as long as she was at home and awake. When she fell asleep, I would pull her favorite blanket up to her chin and tiptoe out, as though I were her mother.
The day before she had to go back to the hospital to stay, we were up in her room pouring over some old issues of Seventeen. Sunlight filtered into her room through the slit between her drawn curtains and cast shadows that danced across the flowered wallpaper. I knew that the tiny bit of light was giving her a headache.
"Lukemia," Rose said suddenly, looking up as though a realization had hit her.
"What?" I froze.
"Lukemia. That's what I have...you know..."
She started to cry. "Oh God Kylie, I'm so scared. The doctors explained the chemo proccess to me. I'll get sick, sicker than I am. I'll probably lose my hair."
"Rose..." my heart went out to her for the millionth time. "It won't be so bad. I'll come see you every day. You'll get better."
"I won't even get to go to school," said Rose, who, like me, had always lived for weekends and vacations. "But I still have to do work...Mom said something about a tutor."
"I'm sorry," I murmured.
"You should go now," Rose's face grew hard as she stared at the floor. "I need to sleep."
"But all you ever do is--"
"I said go. Please, Kylie. Just leave."
Tears blinding my eyes, I did.