Disclaimer: I own nothing
Part 1 (9 days)
It is said that the loss of a mother could affect someone greatly. That the someone could crawl in a hole and just seclude themselves from their surroundings and society. After my mom died I felt nothing. I didn't cry when I found out. I didn't cry at the wake. I didn't cry at the cemetery. And I surely didn't cry when I got home. But I'd heard you were supposed to.
So I researched the appropriate response. Apparently I was supposed to be an emotional wreck. I shouldn't be able to even think about my mother without bursting into tears. I should lock myself in my room and cry and wish she was here to comfort me. But I didn't feel a thing.
My dad blamed himself. He felt that he could have prevented this. When no one could.
My brother went on living his life. But he's always been the suffer in silence type.
It had been five days since the funeral and people were still dropping off food. Why is that when someone dies people bring food? Do people actually think the food will replace the loss of their loved one? Or maybe they're just to sad to cook? I knew my dad just wanted to be left alone, but he'd never had the heart to tell them to go.
My brother leaves for college in three days. Soon it'll just be my father and me. The thought made me cringe. I wasn't the daughter my father wanted me to be. I wasn't athletic or spunky. I was quiet and artistic. I was the black sheep of my family. My parents, actually parent now, have never understood me. They gave up years ago trying to figure out what went wrong when they raised me. Why wasn't I on the cheerleader team? Why didn't I have friends? Why didn't I like them? Were they bad parents?
I wasn't one to socialize. I wasn't one to talk. I spent my childhood in my room drawing, or writing. Instead of going on family picnics or lake trips. I loved them as Richard and Emily. Not as mom and dad.
My brother's been gone for two days and already I can feel the wall between Dad and I growing. He's eating again. Every morning I wake up and make him his favorite breakfast, just like mom used too. French toast with fried eggs in the middle. I'm not sure if it's a help or a hindrance, but I do it anyways. I knock and tell him it was out there, and leave to go to my place. When I'd get back around lunch time the plate would always be there untouched and uneaten. But yesterday I came back and it was gone. This was progress. All good things take time, right?
School starts in two weeks. I have two years left. Being a junior I'd get a car, or I would if I had a job and the money.
I was drawing on my roof outside my window when I saw my new neighbors. The Johnsons had lived in that house since I could remember. They were devout Catholic's. They went to Mass every Sunday. They had a portrait of the Virgin Mary above their fireplace. And they refused to read The Da Vinci Code or anything else by Dan Brown. I'd only been in their house once only to get some sugar for my mom, and I was amazed at how simple it was. We lived in Forks, Washington in a prestige neighborhood. Every house was obnoxiously large and tackily decorated, but not the Johnsons they were simple people. When the put the for sale sign on their house I wondered of their reasons for moving. They moved out one day before my mothers accident.
The new neighbors were a middle aged couple. From what I could tell of their stuff they had a son and a daughter. I saw the daughter, and she looked about eleven. I never saw the son though.
At dinner that night we were eating in silence, as usual. I'd been cooking since mom passed because the only thing my dad could cook was ceral and cold cut sandwiches. I was picking at my spaghetti when my dad cleared his throat.
"You start school in a couple of weeks and I know you need a car. Since we happen to have one extra, you can drive your mothers." His voice was strained, as if he was forcing himself to even sit here with me. I know he wanted nothing more than to go away forever. But who would take care of me? Both my grandparents are gone, and I have no aunt's or uncles. Dad was stuck with me.
"Are you sure you still want it? I understand if you want to give it away, because of the reminder."
"It's a perfect car," Was all he said. We didn't talk for the rest of dinner. I cleaned up the kitchen and went to my room. As I was passing my dads room I heard him crying. I stopped for a minute to just listen to the pain my dad was going through. Why couldn't I comfort him? Why couldn't I at least give a damn about my dad and show him some kind of affection? Some kind of sympathy that I at least gave a damn about what he was going through? I walked to my room with my head down. I felt as if I was a sorry excuse for a daughter, and I was.
Have you ever wondered what marks our time here? If one life can really make an impact on the world…or if the choices we make matter? Ever since my mom died, I've been wondering where she is. Is she in heaven? Did I believe in heaven? Did I even believe in God? My parents were never really church people, and I wasn't exposed to religion that often. But I wanted to, actually I had to, believe that there's a reason for us to be here. That we weren't here to just sit back and make stupid choices. Ruining our lives by making mistake, after mistake. I would go insane if I knew it was all for nothing.
A week before school started, I went to my place to take some photos during twilight. Two years ago when I was in my exploring stage, I found this little pond at back behind my neighborhood. It wasn't large but it was surrounded by tall, gorgeous oak trees that made the place secluded from the world. I felt as if I was in another place when I was here. I felt as if the drama at home didn't follow me here. There was a shield around my place that protected me from the things I ran away from. That was it's purpose. But when I stepped into the familiar cocoon of beauty and peace I found someone else laying on their backs looking up at the sky.
How could they have found this? People in this neighborhood were to snooty to walk on grass, let alone go exploring into the woods. But once I got closer to this unfamiliar person, I realized that I haven't seen him around here. I knew practically everyone in my neighborhood, but not this boy. He was new.
"Excuse me, what are you doing here?" I said, almost shouting. This was the only place I had to get away, and I'll be damned if I was going to let this boy take it from me.
"Looking up at the sky. Hey does that cloud look like Jessica Alba to you?" The boy pointed up to the sky. I didn't look up.
"How did you find this place?"
The boy finally looked away from the sky and at me. He stood up, brushing off his clothes. "I followed you here last week."
Can you say stalker? "Why?"
"Well I saw you come out of your house holding a drawing pad and a camera, and I was curious. I don't usually follow around girls I don't know, but I was extremely bored and you looked interesting." He sat back down picking up a piece of grass and twirling it around his fingers.
I crossed my arms over my chest. "I haven't seen you around the neighborhood."
"That's because I just moved next to you. Personally, I was a little shocked when you and your family didn't come by and say hello. It is the neighborly thing to do, you know."
"You'll find out that people around here aren't nice. The sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be." I said, looking down at him. Who was this boy? What gave him the right to take my place?
"What made you so cynical?" He asked, and I didn't answer. It was quiet for a moment, before he spoke again. "Are you gonna stand there all day pissed off because you can't sit here and sulk by yourself , or are you going to sit down?"
"What did you just say?" I asked.
He looked up at me. "You heard me. I watched you the other day. All you did was sit here with a scowl on your face, like you hated the world. Now there's got to be a reason for that hatred. Either something didn't go right in your life, or your boyfriend didn't call you."
"You are out of line. You don't even know me." I whispered.
"I know you well enough to know that your own mother killed herself. I don't know how or why she did, but I'm guessing her home life wasn't to great."
That's when I did it.
I slapped him across the face.
"Listen here, kid, I don't know who the hell you are, but you're an ass. Have you no consideration for other people? Or do you just like being a dick to everyone you meet?" I yelled.
He smiled. "Nice smack. But I just wanted to see some emotion on your face other than self-pitying. It didn't become on you. Now sit down, let's talk about it."
I widened my eyes. He wanted to talk to me after what he just said? What is he, bipolar? I wanted nothing more than to run home. But I knew this kid would follow me if I did.
"What are you Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jackass? You can't just be an complete jerk to someone then go to being their friend. Either your rude to them or you're not."
"You don't believe people can change?" He asked looking towards the pond.
"I asked first."
I sighed looking down. "It depends. Some people believe they can change, but they don't. Then they tell themselves they just didn't try hard enough, so they should try again. But no, I don't believe people can change."
"How many times have you tried to change yourself?"
"More than I can count." I was shocked that I was actually talking to this boy. This boy who insulted me a mere five minute ago. This boy who made me want to punch myself for not making my mom's life better. This boy who aroused emotions in me, that I haven't seen in a while.
"What's your name?" He asked.
That was the last thing anyone said for a while. I sat and watched the sun go down. I took some pictures of the water glistening in the sunlight, and the trees swaying in the wind. I didn't want to be the one to break the silence. I didn't know what to say.
Edward, what an odd name. It sounded like more of a last name.
When it had been dark for a little while I got up to leave. I didn't say anything to Edward, I just left. But when I was nearing the edge of the trees, I could have sworn I heard him whisper, "Goodbye Bella."
I had only known this boy for about an hour, and already I wished I would have stayed home.
Part 2 (6 days)
I made my dads breakfast half asleep.
When I got back from my place with Edward, I couldn't sleep. Was his always this rude to people? Why did he have to bother me? I went shopping after breakfast to get my mind off of Edward and our semi-friendship. The minute I walked into the supermarket I could feel the stares. Forks was a small town, and word got around fast. Walking down the bread aisle I could feel my English teacher's pitying stare follow me. Picking up the eggs I saw my dad's boss, and I could tell he wanted to say something but didn't. Checking out I saw two old ladies I didn't know, whispering to each other. I knew they were whispering about me and my family. I just had that feeling.
Was there no sanctuary? Could I not go somewhere where my mother was not part of the discussion?
I got home put the groceries away and tried to do anything other than think. I didn't want to think about what people were saying about my family and I didn't want to think about Edward. I had just met this boy and already he's causing me more confusion than anyone else I've ever known.
It's annoying to care. It's a pain. I preferred not to grow close to something. Did this make me a bitch? Probably so. But I wasn't the one hurt and surprised when something was yanked away from me. I was prepared. Is there anything wrong with that?
After cooking dinner I grabbed my camera and went to my place. Praying the whole way there Edward was not there again.
When I first got here he wasn't here. But I was taking some candid's of this bunny when I heard footsteps behind me.
"You know it's kind of sad how every kid in America thinks taking picture of a flower is called photography. The photograph is supposed to have meaning. We should have a screening process of someone if they want to buy a high tech camera." Edward said.
"Maybe that's that kids definition of photography. People look at things differently," I retorted looking up at him.
"Yes, but some buy it just to be with the style."
I looked back at the lake. "Well as Britney Spears puts it, that's their purgative."
"I wish you'd talk to someone." Edward said as he sat down beside me. My first instinct was to get up and walk away, but I forced myself to stay and hear what he said.
"I wish you'd mind your own business."
"I'm gonna go out on a limb and tell you something about myself. No one knows but my family," He stopped for minute. I didn't want to rush him, but I was desperately wondering what he could tell me. There's unlimited possibility.
"I have leukemia."
Silence. Complete and utter silence.
This was not what I was expecting! I figured he would just say he'd been hurt once or that his dog died, or something to try and connect with me, but no…this….this was unexpected.
"I don't know how long I have, I don't care to know. My parents do though. They know the exact time when their son is going to die. Do you know how hard that is for them? You didn't know the exact date your mother would die. My parents know when I'll die. Their not enrolling me in school because it's useless. I won't be here past Christmas, I do know that. Maybe I'll be gone before Thanksgiving." Edward went quiet. I didn't have anything to say. Plus I felt that he wasn't done. He had more to tell. "I told you this for you to realize that everyone goes through something. You don't look like the type that cares about anyone. It's not that you don't hate them, you just don't care. You don't get close enough to anyone to care. Maybe it's a defense mechanism, or maybe your just a bitch. I don't know, but I'd like to." I looked up at him, he was looking at me. I could see in his eyes he was curious as to why I am they way that I am. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I was curious to.
"I'd never really connected with anyone," I started. "My parents didn't get the daughter they wanted. My dad played football, my mom was a cheerleader. I was supposed to be peppy, and outgoing. Instead they got a quiet, shy artist. Who'd rather sit in a room all day by herself drawing, than being with them."
"You honestly think your parents don't love you?"
"I'd never actually thought about it them caring. Sure they give me food, clothing, and shelter, but I always felt on some level that the stork brought me to the wrong house."
Edward looked back at the pond. He picked up a rock and threw it. The rock skipped a few times before losing its momentum and sinking to the bottom. "A year ago when I found out about my death sentence I thought I was being punked by God or something. I was half expecting Ashton Kutcher to pop out of the closet in the doctor's office, and tell me it was all a joke. But he didn't. Bella, there are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroad, afraid, confused, without a roadmap. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days. I chose to ignore my illness. I chose to die. I refused chemo and by the time I changed my mind, it was to late. The disease had progressed to much. So, the question for you is, are you going to let your mothers death and your confusion about who your parents wanted you to be, define the rest of your days? My ignorance is killing me. Don't let yours do it to you."
He stood up and shook off his pants. I didn't know what to say to him. During his speech he sounded more like a man who had been through hell, than the teenage boy he was. But Edward was going through hell. He was dying. He knew his life was ending soon. Sure we all die a little bit every second of the day, but his date was coming much faster than mine. I wanted to hug him. I wanted to tell him I'm sorry. I wanted to tell him that everything would be okay. I wanted to tell him that it will all work out in the end. But I've never been a liar. He knew it wasn't going to work out, so why should I even try to give him hope?
"I'm sorry," I whispered.
"No you're not. You're maybe sorry that you were so rude to me, but you're not sorry I'm dying. You don't even know me, so how can you be sorry?"
I didn't know what to say. I think anything I would have said, would've made me look like a huge bitch. So I just kept quiet. Eventually he left. I stayed a little while after, just sitting there. Taking a few random pictures.
I had hoped if he showed up it would make our friendship or whatever it was we had going on, clearer. If anything tonight made it a lot more confusing. Friends are complicated, and I'm not so sure they're worth the trouble.
Part 3 (3 days)
I haven't been to my place in 3 days.
That's the longest I've ever stayed away. I didn't want to face Edward. He made me think, made me care. I haven't cared in so long, I forgot what it felt like, the strength it took. But I knew I had to go tonight. It was like an addiction. I needed it.
I walked to my place and just looked around. It seemed like everything had changed. It seemed as if the trees had move just the slightest bit since I was gone. The pond was not in the exact place it was. I felt a severe disturbance in the force. I was never one to share what I had. I really had no one to share my stuff with, so I was never really taught. But so far, I'm not really digging the idea. Didn't the saying 'finder's keepers, losers weepers' mean anything anymore?
Edward was thankfully not here when I got here. But I knew he would be here sometime. Every time I came here, he seemed to sense it and follow me here. So I waited.
I'd realized last night that I actually like talking to him. He was wise. He was like my own personal philosopher. Well he wasn't actually mine.
I heard rustling near the edge of the trees and saw a figure emerge. I expected to see Edward, but it wasn't.
It was a baby deer. He slowly looked around the opening making sure it was safe. He shakily began to towards the pond. The deer didn't look older than a month. Not that I'm a deer expert, or anything. He hesitantly started to drink the water. As if he was afraid it was going to attack him first. Ohh, to be that naïve. To not know that the world was not what you expected it to be. You expect to it be beautiful and understanding. That nothing this beautiful could ever hurt you. Deer's had it easy that way. They would never be made fun of at school. They would never be a let down to their parents. They would never be a let down to society in general.
Do you ever think God stays in heaven in fear of what he's created? The evil in this world? That he wanted to create something, so beautiful and yet it turned out so ugly. Things don't always go they way there supposed to….maybe his plan didn't follow through either. Realizing this, I smiled. Thinking about things this way made me feel closer to God. It made he seem as if he was just a regular person like everyone else. Someone who's life plan didn't go exactly the way he wanted it.
I sat there in my place for about an hour longer. Just thinking of stuff that came across my mind. I thought about my third grade play, when I played the dancing tulip. I thought about the family vacation we took to Sea World when I was ten. I was looking over the edge of the shark tank and I slipped and was falling in. But I felt someone pull me back up. It was my dad. He smiled down at me and walked away. That was the first time he acted like my father. I smiled at the memory. Of course there were good times in my family. Before I got weird. Before mom got sick.
My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was ten. It was actually a month after the Sea World trip. Everything changed after that. My brother got quieter, I got weirder, and mom got sicker. Dad took control of everything and tried to make it seem like nothing had changed. But everything already had.
I remember one time at dinner mom wouldn't eat her peas because she said they were friends with Hitler. My mother was Jewish, so he kind of freaked her out. I knew then that my mother was never getting better. That's when all I lost all hope. And weirdly enough, I think that's when everyone else did to.
Sometimes I wonder if anything's absolute anymore. Is there still right and wrong? Good and bad? Truth and lies? Or is everything left to interpretation, grey? Sometimes we're forced to bend the truth, transform it, because we're faced with things that our not of our own making. And sometimes things simply catch up to us. I had been able to ignore my mother's death for quite a while. What made her do what she did? Why didn't she talk to us? Why did she have to get sick? Of all the other mother's in the world, why did it have to be mine? My mom will never see my kids. My mom will never see my wedding day. She'll never see me graduate college. She'll never see me live out the rest of my life. She had missed out on so much. I missed out on so much.
Another hour had gone by and Edward still wasn't here. It was stupid of me to assume he'd come. He had no obligation to be here.
I walked home slowly, thinking. On the way home I realized one thing. That it's only when we're tested that you truly discover who you are. And it's only when you're tested that you discover who you can be. I discovered that I'm trying to find out the questions to life, as is everyone else. That I'm not weird or a freak. I'm normal. I'm a confused person with a dark past. There had to be at least one billion people in the world that are asking the same questions I am, and oddly enough, the thought made me smile.
I felt as if things had changed. That things were not like they were a day ago. But I wasn't sure exactly what had changed.
Part 4 (THE END)
I went to my place for the rest of the week and Edward still didn't show up. This worried me. I wanted to go to his house and ask for him, but I didn't have the courage. In the back of my head I wondered if his cancer had gotten to him. He said he didn't have long to live. Everyday I checked the obituaries for his, but thankfully, his never appeared.
I was lounging around watching TV when my dad dropped a letter into my lap. I looked at it. There was not return address, just my name in a neat elegant script. I didn't want to read it in the house. No, it felt wrong to read it in here, whatever this letter and whoever this letter was from I knew it had to be read elsewhere. I had to read it in my place. I think this was meant to be read there.
I tried opening the letter six times before finally making it to my place. There was too much temptation. But I restrained.
I slowly, ominously opened the letter. It was written in the same neat and elegant script that was written on the envelope.
I'm writing you this in a hospital bed. But if you're reading this, that means I'm gone. I actually don't know why I'm writing this.. I just felt like I'd made some kind of impact on your life. Conceited of me, I know. I felt like I made you appreciate life. I felt like I made you realize you were worth something, and, yes, this world sucks, but someone will always be there for you. Whether it's your family or a complete stranger. There comes a time when every life goes off course. In this desperate moment you must chooser your direction. Will you fight to stay on the path while others tell who you are? Or will you label yourself? Will you be honored by your choice? Don't think just because you're not the person someone expects you to be, that they don't love you. Nothing is what you expect it to be. It's either better or worse than you expected.
So the doctor just came in. He says this is it, I'm dying. He said I have less than three days. How do you handle someone telling you you're dying in three days? This was a lot harder than I'd thought it'd be. I'd accepted my fate a long time ago, but now it's like..it's real. It's actually happening. Sometimes I still think I'm having this horrible nightmare and I'll wake up any second but I don't. Because this isn't a horrible nightmare, it's my life. But for the past six months that's what my life has been. A horrible nightmare. How do you know if you've lead a good life? If you were a good person? I've never stolen or murdered somebody. Does that make me a good person? I kept decent grades, I didn't disrupt the peace. Am I good?
When you're dying, people actually listen to you instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. Before I told you I was dying you were just waiting to show me that what I said about you was wrong. You weren't listening. Or maybe you were. I don't know. But after I told you, you did listen. You saw me in a new light. To you I was no longer the little jerk who said something about your mother, I was some dying kid. You showed me respect after I told you. You should show people respect all the time. Even if they are the scum of the earth, show them respect. Because that's what good people do. Everyone in the world is trying to be who they think they should be. I was. You were too. No one is who they are anymore. The advice I gave you is what I've discovered since I was diagnosed. What I've come to realize about life. I made my last goal to change someone's life. To give them the knowledge to go far in life. To tell them things that I've discovered. Because in whatever way possible, I want to be remembered by someone, other than my family. I wanted to be remembered as a boy who made someone's life better just by talking to them. You just happened to be the person I chose.
Stepping up. It's a simple concept. It basically means to rise above yourself, to do a little more, to show that you're something special. So Bella, show the world you can step up to it's challenges. Show the world you aren't afraid of what's thrown at you. Because you know you can make it through.
I think it's time. My eyes are slowly starting to droop and my chest is starting to hurt.
I looked up at the clouds. They were dark and ominous. Things were clearer now. He wasn't trying to be a jerk, he was trying to help me. I think I'd known that all along. But I denied it. Because I didn't believe anyone would want to help me.
I sat there staring into open space, my thoughts running around my head. I heard a clap of thunder then it started raining.
There, in that meadow, I cried. For the first time in a long time. I cried for Edward. And I cried for my mother.
AN: Okay, so I've had this written for a while and originally the characters weren't Edward and Bella. But as I was going through my documents, and I found that this and I thought would be a pretty great one-shot.
so, please review!