I stare out the car window dully. The trees dance with the wind, the sun slowly starting to say goodbye as it disappears behind tall mountains. The sky looks like a painting, each burst of color a careful brushstroke. Red, yellow, and orange streaks cover its once blue color, topped with wisps of pink and purple. My surroundings are so bright and colorful, whispering softly spring is here. Flowers begin to blossom, and the sky starts to glisten. While everyone loves spring, nobody cares about winter. No one says goodbye to winter. No one misses winter or looks forward to it. No one loves winter. Just like no one would say goodbye to me. Just like no one loves me.
I notice a little blue songbird sitting on a low tree branch next to the car, and it tweets a short but beautiful melody and flies away a few moments later. I watch it go, a grace blue speck in the sky. How I wish I could be that bird. I could go anywhere without getting a beating for it. Free, with no one to stop me, no one to restrict me...
“Adeline?” Papa asks his faint and monotone voice interrupting my train of thought.
“Yes, Papa?” I answer gingerly.
“How are you feeling?” He asks. I can detect no traces of concern in his voice.
“Okay,” I shrug, turning back to the window.
Just like that our conversation ends. So short, with no meaning. He cares about me. He has to, I think to myself. But Mama on the other hand...She may need some time. To see her one and only daughter like this left her broken-hearted. I close my eyes, and music floats into my thoughts. Beautiful, passionate, and I can envision myself dancing to it. Suddenly, crying and shouts fill the music. Mama’s crying and shouts. Blaming me for my sickness. I open my eyes abruptly and shake my head.
Our car pulls up slowly in front of multiple tall buildings, painted a dull orange. The sign in front of it reads, in big, bold, letters, Lockwood High. A big banner hangs on the wall, the words Spring Dance Tonight painted in a bold maroon color.
Two metal doors stand in front of me. Blocking me from them. Cold remarks begin to replay over and over in my head, glaring faces clouding up my thoughts. I close my eyes and push open the doors. Snide remarks start to travel my away.
“Hah, look at her dress, where are they from, the dump?”
“Such a loser, I bet she cheats on all her tests!”
I look down and walk briskly through the hallway and toward the dance floor when I suddenly bump into something.
“U-Uh... S-sorry..” I mumble, looking up.
I stop short. Uh oh, I think. It’s Kade. He glares down at me, pure hate radiating from him.
“Watch where you’re going loser,” He spits at my face
“Here, I’ll forgive you if you give me all your money. Hand your purse over, shrimp.”
I shrink away. “No… please n-no,” I whimper.
Why did I think coming to the Spring Dance was a good idea?
“Are you talking back to me?” He roars, lifting his fist.
I close my eyes and huddle into a ball. Suddenly, there’s another voice.
“She said no,” A voice says. A voice I know too well.
“Finn!” I smile at him, and he smiles back.
“C’mon, let’s go,” he says, leading me away from Kade.
My heart begins to pound, and I look up at Finn. He looks like an angel. I couldn’t help but admire his curly black hair, green eyes surrounded by long eyelashes, and his cute smile framed by dimples on either side. He is wearing a navy blue suit with a purple tie. I love you, I think to myself. Nonono, I shake my head. He’ll never feel that way about me!
Finn Lee. Half Korean, half French. 14 years old, and is my best friend. My only friend. And, my crush since Kindergarten. Extremely popular with girls, but somehow still decides to be my friend. Un-athletic, but top in our grade.
“Adeline? You okay?” Finn asks, snapping me out of my daydreaming.
“Oh, yeah! Thanks for saving me back there. By the way, would you like t-” I suddenly stop.
Suddenly, I start to feel dizzy. Black spots appear in my eyes. My legs give away, and I collapse on the floor. The last thing I see is Finn’s concerned face leaning over me before my vision goes blank.
I wake up to the smell of clean sheets and lemon air freshener. A scent I knew all too well. I sit up abruptly. It was the hospital. How many does that make it? The third time this month, I think to myself, sighing. I prop myself up on one elbow and I see Papa who is staring at his cell phone, probably texting a woman that isn’t Mama.
“Oh hey. You’re awake. You haven’t been out for that long,” He says, glancing up at me for just a second.
I clench my fists, and I want to hit myself. I can’t keep on living like this! I think to myself in frustration. How long do I have to be an invalid? With a father that couldn’t care less about me, who only visited the hospital for the sake of appearance, and a mother who sees me as a disappointment. And to top it all off, a best friend who doesn’t love me back and is unaware of my condition. What can I do about it? I think. Run away? Not a chance. Report them? No way. But before I leave this world, I want to dance with Finn just once. I think about tonight’s event. Maybe I passed out for so long the dance is over... I was so close to asking him to go to the dance with me, but my stupid body failed me. I might not even be here anymore for the next dance. I lay back down, sighing, and let myself drown in my own worries. Perhaps it was a good thing that my time was ending soon, After all, the only person I loved in this world was Finn. Maybe it would turn out better in my next life…
I’m flying. I can hear beautiful, colorful music playing as I glide across the floor, twirling and leaping. I close my eyes and enjoy the moment when suddenly I fall. I can’t get up, and I’m coughing out blood onto my beautiful pink dress. The red is quickly overtaking the pink, spreading like a ripple in still water. Rigid footsteps tap on the floor behind me, and I turn around to see mom. She looks at me in disgust, her eyes piercing through me.
“You wretched creature! I have spent my entire life devoted to you, and yet this is how you repay me! By becoming an invalid! What about my dreams! Do you ever even think about anyone but yourself, you selfish little brat!” Her words slap me in the face, and I can feel tears welling up in my eyes.
“I-1’m sorry.I can’t help i-it..” I stutter, and I can’t bear to look into her eyes.
“LIES! You can’t even become a dancer for me..” Her voice trails off, and she walks briskly away.
I’m left in a puddle of my own blood, her words stinging bitterly. And next thing I know, I’m drowning in a sea of blood, my pleas of help covered by roaring winds. I close my eyes. Help...please someone help...
My eyes shoot open, and my hands are clammy with sweat. It was just a nightmare...I sit up, my heart still racing, and see a dark figure, the stars glittering brightly behind it. The figure shifts, allowing moonlight to cast light onto a handsome face I knew all too well.
“Finn!” I exclaim, surprised. My heart is beating so fast I’m afraid my chest will burst.
“Hey, are you okay?” He asks, concerned.
I smile weakly. “Yeah,” I say.
“So how long are you gonna have to stay here?” He asks, reaching out to hold my hand.
My face burns up and I can barely concentrate. And here goes another lie, I think sadly. “I dunno, but I have to do some tests for them and stuff, shouldn’t take more than an hour,” I say, avoiding the fact that I might not be released by tomorrow.
“Aw, okay,” He says, frowning.
I smile. “Hey, remember that time when you came to visit me when I fainted in 5th grade, and you ended up knocking over all the equipment?” I ask, grinning.
“Oh yeah! The nurses probably hate me.” His face brightens. “One of them even started swearing at me!”
We sit there laughing and talking, and I wish time would just stop. I want to always be by his side, even if he could never love me.
“Oh yeah, I just remembered something!” Finn grins, and I come back to reality.
“Hmm, what is it?” I ask, brushing a strand of hair out of my face.
“Once you're released, will you come back to the dance for me? As my date?” He suddenly asks. He checks his watch. “There’s still a couple of hours before it ends, so you don’t have to worry,” He grins at me, and my insides melt.
I don’t think I heard him correctly. Him? Me? Dance? It feels like a dream. “Seriously?” I gasp.
“Of course. Promise me you’ll be there,” He says looking at me, puppy dog eyes shining.
I will, I want to say so badly, but then I remember my lie. But I’m going to make it tonight. Just for him.
“Alright, of course, I’ll go,” I say, and I pray to God I can.
The hospital is quiet, and I’m still shocked by my unbelievable plan. To sneak out the hospital, just for Finn. I hoped it wouldn’t have come down to this, but they said they weren’t releasing me until next week. I have to do this. To go to the Spring Dance. I slowly crawl out of my bed and tiptoe across the corridor. When I reach the exit I take a deep breath and smooth out my dress, and I do it. I push open the door and run. I thank God that school is only a 5-minute walk away. I pull the hem of my dress up and start walking towards the school. My feet begin to ache, and I stop for a rest. Am I really so sick I can’t even walk for 5 minutes? I think bitterly. I want to collapse. But then I think about Finn, waiting for me, and I start to walk again.
I am once again in front of the metal doors, now illuminated by the glittering stars. Taking a deep breath, I open them and lively music starts to float into my ears. I walk down the hallway, my heels quietly tapping on the linoleum floor. I reach the gym doors and push them open. Couples were dancing, people were eating, and teachers stood at the sides of the gym, bored out of their minds. I start to look for Finn. I walk across the dance floor and made my way to the middle, bumping into dancing couples. And there he was, smiling and looking straight at me like an angel. He was the only thing on my mind. I walked over to him and he put his hand on mine.
“You look stunning, Adeline,” He breathed, his eyes twinkling.
I smiled and wrapped my arms around him. “You too.”
He held me tight until a slow song started to play. He positioned my hands on his shoulders and delicately held my waist. We slowly swayed to the music and stared into each other’s eyes. Half an hour passed and the DJ played his last song. Finn wrapped his arm around me and pulled me in. He inched closer and my heart skipped a beat. I closed my eyes and our lips touched. A warm feeling starts rushing up my veins. When we finally pulled apart I found myself smiling. The gym starts to slowly clear out until only we remain.
“Do you want me to walk you home?” Finn suggested.
“No thank you,” I whispered.
We both stood silent for a minute, smiling to ourselves.
RING! I hear the wretched noise that is my alarm and yanking out the plug, I abruptly get up. My mind is blurry. What happened last night? I think to myself. Suddenly, like a boomerang, it all comes back. Adeline. She came back, just for me. We danced for hours and ended the night with a lovely kiss. I smile to myself. That girl is a wonder and makes my heart beat faster each second. I push back my blankets and hop out of bed. I scramble downstairs, running a hand through my hair.
“Hey, son. Get over here,” my dad calls me over.
His voice sounds all wrong. I can’t put a finger on it. Then I realize dad’s voice is so gentle, filled with sorrow and worry.
“What’s wrong?” I ask, rushing over. My mind starts thinking of all the horrible possibilities. And yet what comes next is something I never would’ve thought of.
“Adeline..” His voice trails off. “Here, you better see for yourself,” He shakes his head, looking at me sadly.
My heart begins to pound. Adeline? What happened to her? He hands me an elegant blue envelope with a songbird on the front. I look at it hesitantly. A weird feeling makes my stomach drop. I hustle back to my room and flop down on the bed. Taking a deep breath, I brace myself, and tear open the envelope and take out the letter sealed inside. I slowly unfold it to reveal delicate handwriting I always admired. Adeline’s handwriting. I start reading.
I want to start by saying thank you and sorry at the same time. When you could be hanging out with absolutely anyone in this school, you chose me. You stood by my side in times of good and bad and I never knew why. And yet I chose to betray your trust. I have been very sick for a long time, but I didn’t want to make you worry. I’m sorry. I snuck out of the hospital just for you. Because Finn Lee, I love you. I love you from the moon to the stars to the sun. You make me feel blissful, even in harsh times. You're not only my first love but also my last and only one. My time is running short, and I’m afraid I won’t see your beautiful smile again. But I still have one more thing to say. Don’t feel bad. Don’t live the rest of your life in misery. Be happy! Find love, and I know it will never be me. You were the guy who made a girl’s heart swell with love until her last breath, and deserve someone amazing. And remember, I will always love you even in my next life.
I clasp my hand to my mouth as tears start spilling out of my eyes and wet spots start to appear on the paper. Tears filled with sorrow, tears filled with love. Adeline, my dear sweet Adeline was gone? My mind couldn’t grasp it. It felt as if we had just met and now...And now she was gone. Like a breeze of spring wind, she had come and gone. Last night, when we said goodbye, I never knew it would be the last time. I close my eyes, and I can see her just like she was last night. Her dark brown hair flowing down her back, her green eyes sparkling as she smiled with those soft lips I had just kissed. Her green dress accentuating her beautiful eyes and making her look even more alluring, even more divine, than she was before. And now, this beautiful girl...was gone. No...this can’t be happening. Adeline...I love you too. I love you more than anything out there, I love you more than I can express with my words. And I’m sorry too, sorry that I didn’t tell you I loved you sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t notice you were sick. And I’m sorry I couldn’t give you the love you deserved.
I open my bedroom window and look outside. A blue songbird is perched on a nearby tree. It looks at me and tilts its head. The songbird tweets a little melody and flies away. I stare up at the blue sky and think wistfully to myself. Adeline, I hope to meet you in another life where we can be together and I can love you forever. But for now, all I can say is I love you. You brought out the best in me and made me feel welcome. You made my heartthrob every time I saw you, and you made me who I am. You gave me meaning to life. Wherever you may be, Adeline, I love you. Tears trickle down my cheek, and I close my eyes, letting the spring wind play with my hair. And almost as if by magic, I could see Adeline standing in front of me, as beautiful as ever, telling me not to fret, smiling in the most magical way. Goodbye, she says gently and slowly disappears, blowing away into the blue sky.