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Creative Nonfiction

I can’t help it.

It was something I was born with. 

Not something I could have controlled.

But they say I only have two weeks to live. 

It was benign before. 

Now it’s malevolent. 

Spreading across my cells like a tidal wave of death. 

Doomed to spread disease to whatever it touches. 

Mama always tells me I have a flair for the dramatics. 

I think that’s why I write. 

To get all these ideas out of my head so that the world can enjoy them. 

Before I’m gone. 

That’s another thing mama says. 

To live a life where people remember you for what you did. 

Not the money you made. 

I tell her I have exactly forty-three dollars in her bank account and it’s not worth much anyway. 

She laughs and tells me that I crack her up. 

It’s only when she turns away that I see the silver lining her eyes. 

I walked downstairs today to see streamers everywhere. 

Mama tells me it’s my honorary birthday party. 

As the doctors told me I’d die four months before my sixteenth birthday. 

I think death day is a better name. 

I tell mama so and she looks like she wants to hit me for a second. 

And then her face sort of crumbles and she turns away furiously. 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen her that sad before. 

Not in my entire life. 

Not when we got the news. 

Not when the doctors told me that I had two weeks to live. 

But when I told her that I was dying. 

When I accepted my fate. 

I think she was holding on to the idea that I wasn’t going to die. 

That if I didn’t think it myself, it wasn’t going to happen. 

But I cemented the idea into place.

I pushed her into the frigid cold waters of reality where she had no choice but to sink or swim. 

She sunk. 

Like a rock. 

The streamers remind me of the last bloody entrails strewn onto the butcher shop’s floor. 

Fitting too, seeing as my intestines are shutting down. 

Maybe it’ll be mine up there soon.

Pink and gooey and fleshy. 

And dripping blood like bright red punch. 

Strung up for people to gawk at. 

The cake looks like it was carved from marble. 

Looks as gritty as if it was too. 

I don’t think mama can bake to save her life. 

But it feels somewhat good that she tried. 

Even if it looks like semi-liquid cement. 

People start arriving in bunches. 

Twos and threes.

I wonder why we only know people with only children. 

Is it a ‘birds of a feather flock together’ kind of deal?

Regardless, everyone looks at me with pity and sorrow as if I’m already dead. 

See? 

Deathday is a better name. 

At least we're upfront about it. 

Pity is something that I, unfortunately, am quite familiar with. 

Someone with more eloquence than me could say we were intimately acquainted

If I were standing next to that someone, I’d smack them. 

Stupid eloquent people and their stupid eloquent pity. 

I got pity when I couldn’t concentrate in school. 

Because my brain was sending me messages of death. 

Images of blood-strewn battlefields that I had never seen before. 

My fingers ached to put it to paper. 

I got pity when I showed up to the writing contest and was disqualified because my writing ‘was unfit for a six-year-old and that I shouldn’t copy other people’s work’. 

I got pity when I finally had to drop out of school because I was in the hospital every other damn day. 

I got pity on my fifteenth birthday when I got presents that I would never be able to use because I was too goddamn sickly. 

I hate pity. 

I think if there’s one thing I hate more than pity, it’s a party. 

A pity-party. 

That's what this is. 

Not a birthday party. 

Not a deathday party. 

A goddamn pity party. 

Did I mention I hate parties?

I never understood them. 

The people are a major issue. 

I don’t like people. 

They’re annoying. 

And then the food always sucks, the company is poor, and honestly, I hate everything about it. 

No, no, no. 

Hate is too weak of a word. 

Despise. Loathe. Detest. Abhor. Resent. 

All of those work equally. 

Parties are not my thing. 

They're-

Alright, I'll say it. 

I was never invited to parties. 

I was the odd kid who everyone hated. 

And...freaking pitied. 

I wander my house, smiling politely at the people who murmur at me sympathetically. 

Internally hating them inside. 

I see people that normally would avoid me in the hallways. 

You know those people. 

The popular kids. 

The jocks. 

The fashion queens. 

The...ugh. 

They all turn to me as if I'm their...God or something and smile at me. 

I shudder inside. 

Mama calls me to the table after several rounds of mingling on my part. 

I reluctantly make my way over to her. 

She tells me to read something of mine to the group. 

I stare at her as if she's grown two heads. 

This is the same group that mocked me over my writing. 

The same group who told me not to plagiarize. 

She smiles encouragingly at me, and because she's my mother, I can't really say no.

I mean, I could. 

But it'd break her heart. 

And her heart is already fragmented into a million pieces, shimmering like broken glass on a velvety red cover. 

So I groan to the laughter of the group and go upstairs to grab something to read. 

I settle on Death Song

It was either that or Silent Struggle

Something I wrote when struggling to get said gory battle scenes out of my head. 

Death Song is about my...well disease. 

 I come back down and sit down at the table while everyone else crowds around me. 

And I read. 

About the disease. 

About my mind. 

About how I hated myself sometimes. 

About how I wish I’d never been born. 

My voice cracks every so often, but I soldier on. 

I talk about my mama. 

How strong she’s been. 

And how broken she’ll be when I’m gone. 

I talk about my childhood. 

The damn pity party I’m in. 

I add stuff that wasn’t there before. 

I pour out my soul to this group. 

And...surprisingly it feels good.

I've had all that bottled up in me for so long that when it gets out, I feel impossibly light.

Feather-like.

I look up from my paper to see not a dry eye in the group.

People that I've only ever seen sneers from are wiping their eyes and sniffling.

They look at me as if I was Moses reading the Ten Commandments.

And then they clap.

They applaud my story.

I've somehow become the star of the show.

Goddamn it.

But...it feels good.

To have something positive related to me.

So as everyone makes their way home and starts bringing up the excuses, I make sure to thank each and every one of them for coming.

Because life's short.

Unbearably short in my case.

But it's too short to hold a grudge.

Too short to complain.

Too short to not care.

And as mama drives me to the hospital.

As mama takes me to the ER.

As I feel my body relaxing and my organs failing, I turn to the window. 

My eyes welcomed the sunrise, that iris of fire so pretty in its mascara of pure light. 

I closed my eyes. 

And walked toward that goddamn light as if it had wronged me, and I was going to shake its very foundations. 

Because by golly, it had.

May 11, 2021 12:28

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23 comments

Zoey Hailey
15:05 May 14, 2021

Jawijwjwiqjw omh nainikaaaaaa Brb I'm just gonna go cry😭😭😭 I loved the style in this story. It kind of felt like a poem, and, despite how sad it was, I liked the peace in the ending. After finally feeling at peace from all the feelings that the character had been feeling, she was able to walk towards the light. Great job as always, girlie! Ilyyy<3333333

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Nainika Gupta
16:22 May 14, 2021

Awww, thankssss <333

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Neri Sompanos
15:46 May 24, 2021

Oh my goodness! I love this story so much! The part about deathday really touched me.

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Nainika Gupta
21:51 May 24, 2021

Aw thanks! :) Really appreciate it :)

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Aayushi Bakshi
13:27 May 20, 2021

so beautiful

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Nainika Gupta
16:15 May 20, 2021

thanks!

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17:39 May 18, 2021

amazing

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Nainika Gupta
19:19 May 18, 2021

Thanks!

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00:43 May 12, 2021

This style... I can't get enough of it. I love the directions you take with it. This was such a sad story, packed with just the right amount of emotion. I loved the talk about pity and writing. This was such a unique take on the prompt (when are your stories not unique, though). Great job!

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Nainika Gupta
13:02 May 12, 2021

:) Thanks Annabelle <3

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14:22 May 12, 2021

No problem! How are you?

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Sunny 🌼 🖤
21:51 May 11, 2021

Take the concept of being super close to death and being the pessimist to end all pessimists about it, and you get very moving but also kinda funny. And that last sentence. It was like "Yes I'm dying, but I'm going to be very salty while doing it"

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Nainika Gupta
22:15 May 11, 2021

Aw, thanks :)

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Charli Britton
17:51 May 11, 2021

Holy Hera. there are no words. you've done it again. My eyes were watering. I could feel what your character felt and I loved every second of it. Good job.

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Nainika Gupta
22:16 May 11, 2021

Aw, thanks :)

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日 宁
14:05 May 11, 2021

Wow, I love this.

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Nainika Gupta
22:16 May 11, 2021

Thanks!

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Emily Germaine
12:54 May 11, 2021

NO, IT WAS SO SAD!! I loved the style and I think it was perfect for this story and the story was perfect for the prompt, fantastical job!!

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Nainika Gupta
22:16 May 11, 2021

YOU'RE BACK!!! Awww, thanks <3

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Emily Germaine
12:37 May 12, 2021

ha YEAH I occasionally come back although I haven't written in a while 😂 No problemoooo

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Kay (:
16:37 May 17, 2021

Interesting story, I don't seem how they became the star of the show, nor do I see how this fits the prompt. I found my eyebrows were furrowed when reading this story, it didn't make much sense. I wrote a story in the same prompt and would appreciate it if you read it and gave me some feedback as well.

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Nainika Gupta
16:54 May 17, 2021

Oh, sorry to hear that - my main character has cancer and she's dying soon, so before her death her mother puts on a 16th birthday celebration and she invites all the people who my MC doesn't like. But my MC is a writer and she is encouraged to read aloud her writing, even though it's dark and depressing - but she does and she helps the people who don't like her and pity her to actually understand her better.

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Kay (:
17:16 May 17, 2021

ohh that makes sense! Good job!

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