Noah sat somberly looking around the hospital recreation room, waiting, as usual, for his mother to finish discussing his future, or lack thereof, with yet another team of doctors. The room was empty of course. The rec room always was, as far as he could tell. For a place that was meant to cheer up the sick and dying, it seemed ironically depressing. Toys and game systems laid unplayed with, and the dreary beige walls weren't helping any. But what bothered Noah the most was the unwatched TV, playing yet another happily ever after fairy tale movie.
"Like that'd ever happen," Noah scoffed as the prince magically spotted the beautiful young maiden in a crowded room, the people all stepping aside to make a path for him. He watched as the couple stared lovingly into each other's eyes, bile suddenly rising in his throat. Noah couldn't be sure if it was from the new medication they had him on or the disgust the teen felt towards the scene playing out before him, but either way, Noah forced himself to swallow it back down. As he continued watching, the sickening feeling in his gut slowly turned to anger.
"Where the hell is my happy ending?!" he yelled at the characters on the tv screen, throwing a nearby game controller at them. It didn't even make it halfway to its intended target, though, thanks to the disease that was robbing him of his strength and soon, he just found out, his life too. He wanted to cry, to scream, to break everything in sight, but he didn't. Noah didn't have the energy to do any of that. Instead, he only sat there, bitterly watching others get their happily ever after.
"Maybe it'd be better if I just died now, save everyone the trouble," he grumbled, letting out a deep sigh and sinking deeper into the sofa.
Surprised, Noah twisted around in his seat trying to find the owner of the unfamiliar voice. Behind him, leaning against the doorway, was a tall unhealthily slim boy, one maybe two years older than he was. Everything about this boy screamed illness, everything that was but his eyes. His eyes were bright, so full of life.
"No what?" Noah finally asked, realizing how weird he must have seemed just gawking at the other boy. The young man pushed off the wall with some effort and slowly walked towards Noah.
"No, it wouldn't be better if you just died," the boy clarified, a grin spreading across his face. His hollow cheeks made his smile appear painful, and the dark circles surrounding his eyes were a stark contrast to their sparkling green color.
Noah, thrown off by the boy's response, turned away muttering, "Whatever. How'd you even know?"
"Cause, I lost my older brother three years ago, and I cherished every moment I had with him up till the very end. Your family will feel the same way, and you wouldn't want to rob them of that, trust me. I'm Glenn by the way," he said, extending his hand to Noah.
Noah, not in the mood for company, only stared at the offering grunting, "Noah." in response.
Normally, he wasn't this rude, but he justified his behavior on the account that he just found out he was going to die in the very near future. What did the doctor say? Five months, seven, if he was lucky. Lucky? What a joke. Noah had almost lost it when the man had used that word. So maybe he was a little moody, impending death tended to have that effect on people.
After first being diagnosed the doctors were confident that with the right attitude, and of course treatment, Noah would beat cancer. Noah himself regarded his cancer with annoyance. It wasn't something that worried the young teen. It was something that got in his was. The medication made him sick and the doctor appointments well those got in the way of playing video games or hanging out with his former friends, not to mention how tediously long and boring the appointments were. Having cancer sucked but on the bright side, it did get him out of things like turning in homework on time and gym when he was feeling lazy.
Then reality started to sinking in. The treatment wasn't shrinking the melanoma and after the biopsy, his cancer returned. Still, the doctors said they remained optimistic, but the 'would' suddenly turned into a 'could.' It was at that moment that Noah became unsure, and the fear started to sink in. The appointments were scheduled more frequently, and the way people from the hospital looked at him, even his mother, changed. They were worried too.
Though, for Noah, it wasn't until his doctors seemed to give up all hope, that he knew how royally screwed he was. Maybe, had his doctor said something like, 'Right now things aren't looking so good, but I think we a can keep fighting and extend those five months to a year maybe even two,' then Noah could have handled that. He would have had something to fight for, but what was the point of fighting, if even the people who are supposed to save his life had given up?
"So, what's killing you?" Glenn joked trying to keep the conversation going. Seriously?! Noah thought. Couldn't this guy see he just wanted to be left alone to wallow in his own personal pity party?
"Cancer. Melanoma, if you want to get all fancy about it."
Glenn burst out laughing which quickly turned into a coughing fit.
"Are you okay?" Noah inquired, feeling stupid for asking as soon as the words left his mouth. Glenn only waved him off as he struggled to get his coughing under control.
"Yeah, I'm all right," he answered wiping the blood from his bottom lip.
"Are you sure?" Noah asked skeptically. Coughing up blood definitely didn't sound all right in his book. Glenn peered down at the crimson stain now on his sleeve.
"Oh, this? It's no big deal. Just one of the many perks of having Cystic Fibrosis," he said nonchalantly. "Sorry, I laughed by the way. It's just that, well, isn't Melanoma caused by getting too much sun?"
Noah knew exactly what Glenn was thinking, because when he had first learned of his diagnoses, he had thought the same thing.
"But you're so pale, even compared to me, and I'm rarely ever out in the sun." Glenn put his arm next to Noah's for emphasis. It was true. Noah was about as pale as they came. No matter how much time he spent outside, he never seemed to get any darker, redder yes but never tan.
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean anything. Actually, being pale put me at greater risk of getting it, well at least according to my doctor. I guess, I got one too many sunburns when I was younger," he clarified for Glenn just as the doctors had explained to him.
"Well, that sucks. So much for parents telling kids that playing outside is good for them. Apparently it is hazardous to your health." His joke was terrible and should have pissed off Noah, but instead, for the first time in what seemed like forever, Noah smiled.
"Cystic Fibrosis is that...?" Noah trailed off unsure if his question was inappropriate.
"A death sentence?" Glenn guessed. Noah nodded avoiding the older boy's stare. "More or less."
Noah looked up at him, eyebrows furrowed. How could he have such a casual attitude towards dying? Here Noah was filled with so many mixed emotions, and this boy talked of death as if they were discussing the latest homework assignment.
"And knowing you're going to die, doesn't bother you?" Noah asked not being able to keep the shock from his voice. Glenn smirked shaking his head.
"Well yeah, it bothers me, but I can't let dying, keep me from living."ns 18.104.22.168da2