Michael • Briana Maus

      The clock is starting to run down to 15 seconds. Both teams are tied.  I catch the pass made to me. I dribble the ball while looking at the basket. Sweat dripping down my forehead, I let my feet leave the ground. I reach my hand up and swoosh, the next few minutes go by in a blur. The crowd runs from the bleachers onto the court, and the coach hands me the championship trophy. Next thing i know the crowd picks me up and starts chanting my name, Michael, Michael, Michael. 

      Michael! I wake up to realize the crowd is only one faint voice, the voice belonging to my mom.  “Ugh, fine,” I say as I roll out of bed and stand up. I take a good look around my room at all the basketball jerseys I have hanging up, all the posters and trophies. Looking around I remember my dream, and soon start to feel the empty feeling again. Gosh! How I long for that feeling I had when I was on the court. As I’m looking around, I manage to glance at my alarm clock. It reads 6:40. Crap! The bus leaves in ten minutes. I hurry up, throw on a pair of jeans, slide a shirt over my head, and grab my oxygen tank before heading downstairs. As soon as mom sees me she hands me my medication. I gulp down the horse pills with a chug of water, grab a piece of toast, and head outside.

      As I step outside, I feel that somewhat warm yet cool September breeze. I hurry up and make it to the bus stop in time but am out of breath. When I get there another person shows up and, just like always, she manages to take my breath away. Her name is Madelyn Monsan. She has long, chocolate brown hair and deep ocean blue eyes. She’s not too thin, but just the right kind of skinny. As she walks past me, I smell the fragrance of strawberry. Then as soon as she sees me she says, “Hi, Michael. How are you doing?” Her voice is just like velvet. I start to realize i’m just staring at her like a complete creep. I try to find my voice and thank god I do.

      “I am doing okay. The cancer is not getting worse yet, but they did diagnose me with stage 4.”

      “Aww. I’m truly so sorry to hear that.” My heart flutters a little bit more, then the bus pulls up. Madelyn helps me get my oxygen tank up the bus steps. I quickly thank her and head to my spot next to my best friend, Alexis. Now, Alexis is not like an ordinary girl. She’s like a dude who was born a chick. Literally she’s a pure tomboy and she has the mind of a guy. She has long blonde hair with hazel golden eyes. As i sit down she says. “Dude, if you really like her just ask her out already.”

      “Me? Ask Madelyn out? Geez Alexis, you gotta be kidding me!”

      “Well, why not?”

     “She’s the most popular girl at our school and she is like every guy’s dream,” I say. Seriously, Madelyn has every guy drooling all over her. “What chance do i have?” Alexis thinks for a moment.

      “A good of one.  Any girl would be lucky to have you.” The bus pulls up to the school. As I step off the bus, I suddenly feel my knees go weak and I tumble off the stairs to the ground. Then everything goes black. As soon as i wake up, I am in a hospital room. My parents are in the room, tears running down their face. They come by my bedside and say if i’m ready to let  go I can. I look at them like they’re crazy.

    “What are you talking about?”

     “Michael,” mom says. “You only have 4 months or less than that to live.“

     “Can’t they stop it?“ I whimper.

      “Only one option. Bone marrow surgery, which is life threatening.”

      “What if I do that?”

      “Then you’ll live to see 85.”

      “It’s my choice?”

      “Actually, no. Your father and I have decided to do it.” My mind is racing.  I don’t know what to think. It’s scheduled for next week. Then someone surprising steps in, Alexis. Mom and Dad walk out.

      Alexis walks over and does something really surprising. She bends over and kisses me. I literally felt like I was in heaven. After our 50 seconds of bliss she says, “I had to do that at least once.” she the turns to walk out. I start to think about Madelyn and how I liked her. I could never see myself with Alexis until…..well, until now. I start to think about how me and her hung out, how beautiful she actually looked in the sunlight. Had I been that blind? Here I was crushing on some girl that I didn’t stand a chance with. Now after the kiss, i felt a stronger bond with Alexis. No, she’s not a crush like Madelyn. Alexis is the one who I love.

      “Wait,” I yell. She turns around. “Alexis, I’m sorry I was so blind. I never realized how beautiful you are or how your eyes twinkle in the sunlight. I never even pictured us happening to be honest. But right here, right now, I feel a stronger feeling thanIi ever did before. Alexis Mae Martino I…I “

      “You what?” She asks.

      “I love you”

      Tears start to run down her face and she runs up by my bedside and hugs me.

      “Michael?” she says.

      “Yes?“

      “I love you too.” Ad she kissed me once again.

      Soon my parents walk in and clear their throats. We quickly pull apart.

“Michael we have a small problem,”  my mom says. A surgeon comes in.

“What’s going on? I thought my appointment wasn’t for next week?” I ask with a confused look on my face.

“Well,” the surgeon says. “Your cancer is so bad that instead of having months, you might only have till next week. So we decided to do the surgery now.”

“Now? Like today?” Alexis says.

“Yes, today” She starts to cry. I take her hand and squeeze it.

“Alexis,” I say. “I’ll be fine. I’ll see you after the surgery.”She bends over and hugs me. Little did I know that it would be the last time I ever got to hold her in my arms. Mom and Dad wish me luck and take Alexis out of the room. The surgeon wheels my bed to the surgery room. They give me a big shot in left arm to put me to sleep. Everything goes black.

Even though I’m put to sleep, I still hear the doctors talking.

“Something seems to be wrong with the blood flow, we must hurry.” He inserts a shot into my bone. “Doctor, heart rates dropping, too.” The surgeon tries to hurry, but it’s too late. Flatline. I see my life flash before my eyes. “We are gonna lose him.” Soon I feel blackness sweeping over me and then I feel myself lifting out of the hospital up to heaven.

      The surgeon walks out into the waiting room.

      “May Michael’s family please come forward.” Mom rushes forward.

      “Is everything okay?”

      “I’m sorry,” says the surgeon. “We tried, but the cancer was just too bad.” They all collapse in tears. Alexis, not believing what she just heard, rushes to my room and sees my body laying there all stiff. She runs up to me.

       “Michael, oh Michael. I can’t believe you’re gone. Why did God have to take you? I’ll always remember you. I’ll never forget you, but most importantly, I’ll always love you.”

      All I wanted to say was “me, too.”

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