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Kids Sad Drama

"Five red shells," counts Julie as she carefully places five tiny sea shells in front of her. "Twelve round rocks," she continues, revealing a dozen perfectly round rocks. "Six pebbles!" she finishes with a big grin.

The six-year-old counts her collection of nice objects, making sure that nothing has been lost in the move. Her treasure chest is full of the prettiest items Julie has discovered. Each one is separated into columns to keep them in piles.

Julie has been told that she is special compared to other kids. Something about being on a 'spect-rum' is supposed to explain why she is so obsessed with collecting rocks and why she can't handle loud noises. 

'Now, where should I put them?' Julie wonders as she looks around her new bedroom. The room is smaller than her old one. Julie's bed, desk, and dresser barely fit. The boxes are taking up too much space.

'Hmm. Maybe on my desk.' Julie thinks as she climbs off her bed. Maneuvering around the many cardboard boxes, she places her collection on her desk. 'I need more boxes for my things.' Julie realizes, noticing there is only a little room left in her treasure chest. 

'My birthday is almost here. I can ask for another treasure chest!' Juliet thought, giggling to herself.

Julie's stomach grumbles loudly.

"I'm hungry," Julie says to no one. Turning on her heel, she leaves her bedroom and heads downstairs.

The new house is like a maze. Julie doesn't know where to turn or find a way out, and she is becoming frustrated because she can't find the staircase.

'I hate this new house,' Julie thought, grumbling. 'Why did we have to move in the first place?'

Her parents said the move was necessary because of Julie's dad's new job and because they needed to find a new house nearby. They chose this house because it was 'cute' and 'quaint'. 

In Julie's eyes, the new house is ugly and small. Every room is tiny, and there isn't even room for a playroom. 

'This place doesn't even have a pool.' Julie pouts. Pools are what make houses fun. 'Why couldn't Mom and Dad find a place with a pool?' she wonders.

Finally locating the stairs, Julie hops down them two at a time. A giggle leaves her lips as she counts the steps by twos. 'Two. Four. Six. Eight,' she counts mentally. 

Juliet stops herself from hopping on the fourteenth step. At the bottom of the staircase, Julie spots her cat lying there. The white cat peacefully naps on the fourteenth step, basking in sunlight shining down from the window.

"Hi, Blue!" Julie whispers, knowing that her deaf cat won't hear her. She lightly brushes Blue's fur, smiling when she hears her cat purr in response. The cat leans into Julie's touch before making themself comfortable on the step. 

Giggling, Julie goes in search of the kitchen. Her bare feet are quiet on the white tile floors. As she walks, she eyes the many boxes that fill the hallway.

'Which box has my toys?' Julie wonders.

As Julie is about to enter the kitchen, she overhears her parents whispering. Being the quiet kid she is, Julie waits and listens.

"Is the doctor certain? Are you sure it's not a false diagnosis?" Juliet's mother, Cheryl, asks. The woman's voice has a sense of urgency; Julie has never heard her mother sound so nervous.

"They are going to do more tests. We'll have to wait a week before we know for sure," says Julie's father, Marshall. The man sounds more concerned than Cheryl.

'What are they talking about?' Julie wonders. They've never sounded like this before.

"A week?! I can't wait that long!" cries Cheryl in a panicked tone. Julie hears a loud shush. "Be quiet. We don't want Julie to hear us," says Marshall.

That catches Julie's attention. She doesn't know if she should continue listening. Clearly, they don't want her to know what they're talking about.

"Marshall, we'll have to tell her. This thing with the doctor isn't going away," Cheryl insists.

"We don't even know if it's benign or malignant. This whole thing could be nothing." Marshall tries to assure his wife. "For all we know, I was given another patient's file!" he says with a fake laugh.

'Ben-ign? Mal-ignant?' Julie thinks, unfamiliar with the words. Her mind can't put together the words correctly. The six-year-old replays the words slowly in her mind. 'What do they mean? Does it mean something bad?' Julie ponders.

Julie summons up some courage and peaks around the corner. Her parents are sitting at the kitchen table, hunching over in their chairs, holding each other's hands.

'They look so sad.' Julie notices.

"We'll have to tell her either way. You can't hide the fact that you have cancer!" hisses Cheryl.

Julie's eyebrows furrow together. 'Cancer? What's that?' Julie wonders.

By the looks on her parents' faces, cancer is not a good thing. They are acting like it is the end of the world, like when Julie fell and broke her wrist. (The two ran around like headless chickens, trying to get Julie to the hospital.)

"How am I supposed to tell our six-year-old daughter that I have cancer?" asks Marshall. The man is crestfallen as he looks at his wife. "It is hard enough as it is taking care of a child who can't handle change."

Cheryl sighs as she takes a sip of her wine. "I guess all we can do is wait for the diagnosis. We'll decide what to tell her then," she says, exhausted. The brunette runs her fingers through her hair as she drains her wine glass.

Marshall nods in agreement. "I agree. That way, we can think of a good way to break the news," he says.

"Why are you trying to lie to me?" Julie demands as she storms into the kitchen. The tiny six-year-old is glaring at her parents, looking like an angry kitten trying to look scary. Her lower lip shakes as tears peak at the corner of her eyes.

Cheryl and Marshall shoot up from their seats, startled by their daughter's appearance. The two look like Leslie caught them with their hands in the cookie jar.

"Julie! How--how long have you been there?" Cheryl asks worriedly.

"Long enough." Julie pouts angrily.

"Julie, what did you hear?" questions Marshall.

Julie responds by asking the single question on her mind. "What is cancer?" Julie asks demandingly.

May 13, 2024 23:16

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2 comments

Isabella Montoya
19:11 May 16, 2024

Amazing story, Ellie! I love the fact that you chose to tell the story from the POV of an innocent, six-year-old child. I liked Julie's innocence and curiosity for the topic and how she figured it was something bad just by reading her parents' body language. It is very sad. I know someone who dealt with this same situation and couldn't tell her children because they were (and still are) too young. Good job with this story.

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Milly Orie
18:23 May 20, 2024

Aw, I really liked this story; I hope Marshall is alright in the end. I love the childish observations Julie makes. Her love for the simple things in life is so wholesome and really brings the story to life.

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