In my house there are eight words painted on the wall above the bathroom mirror; ‘We are fighting a losing battle against time.’ It has always been there. Our house is 30 years old and it has been there the whole time. No knows who put it there and no one has taken it down. My mother always said it was sobering and a reminder of what little time we have left. And in my case what little time I had left.
Anthopotamus neglectus morbi. It means mayflies disease. And one day a doctor told me I had it.
That day my parents cried for what felt like hours. But all I could manage was a single tear. My life was falling into pieces in front of me and that was all I could manage. How sick is that.
I remember lying on my bed, motionless and emotionless. All I could hear was my parents crying and shouting. And I couldn’t blame them. We had originally gone to the doctors because I started to suffer chest pain occasionally. And now their little girl was dying. Their only child destined to only live to around 16 years old. After a few hours I got off the bed, mostly because I was hungry but also because I wanted to hug my mum and just be with my parents while I still could. But suddenly just as I began to walk down the stairs it hit me. I was OK with dying. It’s like I suddenly came to terms with it. I suddenly realized that crying and being upset wasn’t going to help. My body was going to do what it was going to do and I needed to start living my life before it tried to kill me off. And from that second on, I was on a mission to live, while I still could.
But of course not everyone sees death quite the same. Least of all your enemy’s and most of all your friends. ‘Why are you so happy, your dying for Christ’s sake,’ they would say. Death gives perspective. And perspective makes you laugh at the stupid stuff, the pointless stuff and everyone’s BS. That’s the truth.
So a few weeks after we found out, they decided to pull me out of school. There was no point me staying on, wasting what valuable time I had left. Friday would be my last day, and it would be the day I would have to tell everyone. Of course those closest to me knew; Rose, Emily and Bella, but the rest of the year didn’t and it was going to be uncomfortable telling them. I mean how do you start that conversation? How was your weekend, mine was great. I bought this new dress, got a coupon for free baby food and oh yeah I found out I have a terminal illness. And of course there is the matter of explaining it all. I barely understand this thing myself, so how am I supposed to explain it to everyone. I should literally have brought the doctor along. Bring your doctor to school day, that’s something new. And then I have to repeat the process with around 30 people. I mean for gods sake I’m going to die of overuse of the mouth before this thing offs me.
But when Friday came I was ready. I had a plan. Only tell around 10-15 people/groups and then it would spread – as everything does in a girls school – like herpes on a uni campus. Use the gossips to spread the story and see who comes to me to say their sorrys/goodbyes/f off’s/I wish I’d known you better even though we have gone to the same school for 3 years, and I have had ample opportunity to do so’s. I awoke an hour and a half early at 5 o’clock, much to the displeasure of my parents, in order to look my best on my last day.
I waxed, shaved, plucked, exfoliated, massaged, moisturized and cleansed to my hearts desire. By 7 I was nearly ready to go. I made myself beans on toast for breakfast, because the protein is meant to help slow down my systems self destruction. I then ate and watched YouTube videos involving cats and/or stupid people for another 10 minutes. I then rinsed the ‘leave in’ – I mean how is it leave in if you have to rinse it – conditioner out of my hair, dried it, styled it and touched up my make up. I put on my uniform for what would be the last and final time and gave the skirt an extra hitch up. All the teachers knew what was going on – the school had been informed the week before – and they weren’t going to hassle me on my skirt length. Or the nail polish I had applied the night before. It was a fairly neutral color with little flicks and dots along the sides in black and gold. I was wearing my lucky push up bra and thong just because, and I had my blazer sleeves rolled up to my elbows. I grabbed my crappy old black and red school bag, flung it over my shoulder and practically danced to school. It was my last day. I had expected this day would be 3 or 4 years away not today.
I flirted with the local shop keeper on the way and enough of my cleavage was on show so that he gave my 4 bottles of cider; one for me and the other 3 for the other 3 girls. I slapped my walker’s ID on the school gate and rushed to my locker. I shoved the bottles and locked it up. We aren’t quite rebellious enough to drink in school, the ciders were for the little session arranged in town afterwards.