*If you haven't read chapter one, read it here:
"So what's the worst thing that can happen...to me I mean?" I needed to get straight to the point.
"Mom, tell me."
She looked down and I saw a faint trace of fear cross her face. She spoke softly "Amber, I mean, we won't know for sure until we get our appointment with the neurosurgeon, but the doctors think the tumor on your pituitary gland is pushing on your optical nerves...which means you could go blind....or....."
"Or what? MOM! OR WHAT?" My voice came out louder than I intended.
But the thing is, I already knew the answer to the question. It was an unspoken understanding.
And you know, the crazy thing is, in that moment, I didn't feel fear. I was relieved.
Finally, I had an answer.
I wouldn't have to be a science experiment anymore... I had an answer.
Even though I had a brain tumor, at least it was an answer.
After I felt somewhat satisfied with their (non) answers to my several other questions, there was again that ever-present, stuffy pause.
It was terrible. No one said a word. We were all so clueless. Truthfully, there wasn't much to be said. It was a simple fact. I had a brain tumor. I could die. There were no spoken words that would change it.
I remember we prayed.
We prayed in the middle of my principal's office.
I don't exactly remember why we prayed or what was said, but I had to fight back tears. They burned in the back of my throat.
The thing is though, I didn't know if I actually believed it... the prayer I mean.
Except, it was all I had. Since prayers were the only thing in that moment that made sense.
Nothing really did make sense.
I couldn't stand to be in that room any longer. I'm not sure how much time had passed since I was taken out of class, but I wanted to leave. My mom told me that the principal had given us the O.K. to take me out of classes for the day. I told them no, I wanted to stay in school. I needed to hold onto some sort of normal. I could tell this confused my grandmother. She was unsure about my reaction. Obviously, she was upset, but she was being cautious. She was waiting to see how I'd react, and I think she expected me to be upset too. I couldn't though. I had to pretend I was okay. My mom was standing there, trying to be strong, like she normally was, but I could see through her. She was scared. She was like me; trying to be strong, even though we were both scared to death. Literally.
After their several attempts to persuade me to leave, they finally gave up and hugged me goodbye.
They told the principal what I wanted to do, then hugged me again (something I'd have to get used to in the coming days). After I watched them walk to their car, I went and checked my blotchy face in the mirror hanging on the wall in the dull office. I wiped my snotty nose, grabbed my bag and opened the door. As I walked out of the office, it was like I could instantly breathe again. It was like my body was responding saying "Ahhh, yes. Back to normal." Well, except that my head was pounding, throbbing really. I wanted to scream "F YOU BRAIN! NO REALLY! RUB IT IN!!!" but I digressed.
I noticed that no one was in their classrooms and after looking at the clock in the hallway, I concluded that it must be lunchtime.
Although to me, time was irrelevant. Time just stood still.
I walked in the direction of the cafeteria when I saw *Kate, my best friend, waiting for me with a quizzical look across her face. She saw me, and grabbed my hand and dragged me into the nearest bathroom.
As she pulled me into it, she checked to make sure no one else was there. Once she was satisfied that we were in fact alone, she sort of whispered curiously
"Amber, what's going on? "
before I could even muster up a response, she asked again, this time adding "Why was your mom here? Isn't she supposed to be in Canada?" She was always looking for information, drama if you will.
I tried hard to answer her but my brain was mush. I couldn't speak.
(what I really wanted to say was "I have a fricken brain tumor and I could die. DIE!")
but I literally couldn't find words those words in my head.
The only thing I could do was laugh.
So I did, I laughed.
I broke out in hysterics, in fact. I was laughing harder than I had ever laughed before.
So much so, I fell to the ground with my hand over my belly (which was burning because of my laughter.)
Kate was confused, but my laughter was infectious. It was so contagious that she broke out in laughter too.
So there we were, sitting on the floor of our schools bathroom, laughing our asses off.
*Names have been changed for their privacy*