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“Dad! What’s for breakfast?” I asked, wheeling myself towards the table. “Your favorite, banana-blueberry pancakes!” he replied with a grin. “I don’t know if it’s my favorite until I try it!” I said, taking a big bite of pancakes. Oh. Big mistake. The batter was stale, leaving me with an aftertaste of eggs. As if that wasn’t enough, The blueberries were sour and the bananas tasted like goo. I chewed carefully, trying not to get any in my taste buds, while trying to keep a straight face. 

Choking down the last chunks of not so pancake-y pancakes, I asked him a question, “Dad, do you miss mom?” I asked. “Not necessarily, she left you, but life isn’t easy without her, eh?” He didn’t seem to care that his wife had ran away, but life is a little harder without her. Number Uno, she doesn’t cook the best, but Dad’s food compared to hers, I’d eat it like it’s heaven! Number two, she used to be the one to help me in the restroom, but without her, I make a few stains here and there. And number three, Mom used to do all the cleaning, so when she left, the house was dirty for a few good months before we decided to get to work. 

I live my life in a wheelchair, except for when I’m on the bed and in the loo. A few months ago, my mom and dad started to fight a lot, usually my mom complains about the money, and then my father says how we aren’t poor, we have enough to live. Not like I disagree with my mom, we were pretty tight, but why leave me? When she left, she took my brother with her, and left a note. It hadn’t explained why she took my brother, or where they went, but I still framed the note and put it by lamp, just in case it gave any clues. 

A normal day as normal as can be, but your mom decides to come back to you and tell you she has cancer. How does that happen?

As a teen, I liked to write stories and draw cartoons. My dad had just  put me on my bed, and I was writing about this girl, lonely and sad, but she’s friends with a cat named Hope. They encounter adventures as a pair, and when she comes back, the whole town is buzzing about her! 

Then, two burly men ran to my window. They started to knock hard and fast. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t strapped into my wheelchair, so I couldn’t move, and talking just didn’t seem right at this moment. If I said something wrong, I could be taken away. I layed on my bed, waiting for the door to come down. What else?

My dad heard the commotion and ran in here. “What’d you do? Did you shoplift? Murder?” I rolled my eyes. How is a disabled person able to do those things? “Just open the door Dad,” I whispered. Once the door was unlocked, two random weirdos ran inside. They didn’t look half as scary as they did outside. I was lying on my stomach when they came in, so they could immediately handcuff me. “Come with us, you know what you did” said the taller one while the other strapped me in. I had no idea. 

Dad gave me the I-told-you-so look and tried to stop them, but I gave him the everything-will-be-okay nod. He shook his head but let go. Outside, the two men, or who I thought were men took off their costume. I gasped. I blinked at the view. I blinked again. I blinked one last time. I wanted to run into her arms, but as I tried to get up, I got pulled back into the chair. Oh yeah. The wheelchair. 

“Mom!” I started to yell. She put a finger over her lips and smiled. I was never on either of my parent’s side because I loved both equally, so when Mom left, I was shattered. But now she’s back, back for good! Beside her was my big brother, now with a beard. “Hi Jack!” I said, happy to see him. “Hey dude,” he replied rather glumly. I looked at him with a puzzled look. Is he not happy to see me? Was he too old for a sister like me? We used to always play together. 

“Karry, I have something important to tell you. It may change your life.” my mom said. She looked serious. I looked into her eyes. I could sense worry and sadness in her eyes. “What?” I asked. “Jack and I went to the doctors months ago, and it turns out…….I have cancer, and it's the worst stage.” She said, tears escaping from her eyes. 

Silence. I tried to reprocess the words over and over, but each time was the same answer. My mother was really sick.

She began again, “I’m sorry for running away, I had known for a while, but it was getting worse and I didn’t want to worry you,” she took a deep breath, and started again, “so I took off. The money thing was just an excuse, I never minded, and I knew it wasn’t your dad’s fault. Your brother noticed things wrong and insisted on me to tell him, so I took him with me.” She cried for a while and to break the silence, I asked my brother, “does daddy know?” He shook his head. “We’re thinking of another way to tell him.” “You need to tell him.” Silence again.

I wheeled myself inside, thinking of possible ways to tell Dad. The easiest way, I thought. The most simple way. Just get it over with. Inside, Dad tried to find where Mom had taken me, not knowing that we had come inside. I looked into his eyes and took a deep breath. “Momhascancerandit’stheworststage.” He looked at me. “Mom has cancer and it’s the worst stage.” I said, much slower this time. “Woah, you’re kidding.” “No. I’m not.” He didn’t say anything for the rest of the afternoon. 

I think Dad told Mom to stay for a few months, so she was the one to put me on my bed. I hope it wasn’t the last. That night, I traced my finger across the frame, thinking of ways I could make mom’s last years priceless. If they were her last years. I prayed it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. 

I woke up to the sun shining onto my face. I opened my eyes. A cat ran by the window. Hope! I remember my story. I was the girl, lonely and sad, and the cat outside was Hope! I had to find a way to get the cat. 

“Daddy, I want a cat.” I said, gobbling down my favorite pancakes, this time made by Mom, which was as good as ever. “Which one?” he asked, helping Mom wash the dishes. “The one in the yard.” “The one in the yard? Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Okay sweetie. I’ll try. But it won’t be easy. Cats have ticks, you know.” How could I not know that? 

That afternoon, Dad got to work. He wore pants way too long, a long sleeved shirt, a pair of socks, and a bee helmet for whatever reason. I watched from a window while dad set a bait. As Hope approached, he picked her up from the butt, trying to take control over the squiggling cat. “Go Daddy!” I yelled. We had bought some flea chemicals for our previous cat, and Dad rubbed some of that on her as well. Then, he took Hope to our backyard hose and gave her a rinse. 

Hope slurped up the last drips of milk. She was officially mine. That night, she slept on the floor of my bed. Life was going to be so much better with her.

I was right. The next day, we got some good news from mom’s doctor. She was just starting to get on the last stage, so she might have more time. The whole family decided to go to Tokyo’s Disneyland as a celebration, which might be a challenge with me and my wheelchair. 

We had so much fun at Disneyland, taking pictures and eating food. Mom and I even got matching outfits of the castle, Mickey ears, and a Minnie backpack to go along! This was the best trip yet! That night, we slept in the best hotel ever! The lobby had some fluffy chairs, and though I couldn’t sit in it, I still had fun touching the soft fur that made me think of Hope. A few days later, we went home exhausted but happy. 

The night we got home, the unthinkable happened. Mom fell unconscious and trembled onto the floor. The ER doctors came back with devastating news. Her heartbeat had stopped. Hope had given us hope, and I still believe she did, but Jesus needed Mom so bad that he took her away. I had managed to think about that at her funeral, leaving it without any tears. I just hope I see her again. 

The next morning, I had let Hope out of the house, back into the yard. It was time to say goodbye.

July 27, 2020 20:23

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2 comments

Ann Rapp
23:18 Aug 06, 2020

Hello NC, I enjoyed reading your story and found it quite moving. You are good at setting down on paper what your characters are feeling in their hearts. It is interesting to read a first hand story of what it is like to be in a wheelchair - I wish there was more literature with this point of view. Hope you write more about it.

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N C
23:44 Aug 06, 2020

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it!

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