This story is by Khuslen TW and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“I am sorry Kira, but I really don’t think I can go”, I said to my friend as I continued preparing the customer order. “You understand, right?”
I looked over my shoulders to see my friend sighing. She brushed her hand through her dirty blonde hair before looking over to me with her eyes filled with sadness.
“Of course I understand. It’s just…you haven’t been really talking to anyone since, well you know. Are you okay?” she asked.
A short silence followed as I stared down to the cappucino.
“How could I be okay? I mean, it’s been a while but I can’t let the guilt go, you know.” I said, trying my best to not get mad, since I have been throwing tantrums here and there since my mom’s death.
My mom died 2 months ago from tuberculosis. It’s some type of bacterial disease that mainly infects the lungs. We have been switching hospitals and receiving medication for a long period of time, yet it still wasn’t enough.
Since her death, thoughts like “I should’ve been a better daughter, I could’ve helped her more” have been taking over my head to a point that I can’t wake up in the morning without a headache. Maybe her death could have been prevented if I found out about her illness sooner.
As if her passing wasn’t already stressful, the hospital bills put me in so much debt. I tried to get multiple jobs, but the only job I could get was at this cafe.
I get knocked back into reality when I hear my name. “Jordyn!”
“The cappuccino!” Kira said, motioning to my hand. “Oh, right. Here.” I shook my head and gave her the drink.
I looked over the counter and realized that the guy who ordered the drink was Noah. He was one of the people who worked at a fast food place right around the block.
“Hello!” I smiled as I waved at him. He looks up to me and does the same. I only knew his name and job, but Kira was close friends with him.
Noah’s smile turned into a solemn expression and he leaned closer to us before he spoke. “I have a favor to ask, Kira.”
He explained that his mother was in the hospital, and the doctors called him saying that he needed to come quickly . But the problem was that his sister’s kindergarten was going to end in about 30 minutes.
“Could you please pick up my sister and bring her to the hospital? I’d do it, but her kindergarten is pretty far, and it’s in the opposite direction from the hospital.” He explained, hoping that Kira would say yes.
Kira’s facial expression turned from curiosity to worry. “I would, but my shift ends at 9pm today. I am sorry, Noah.”
I quickly jumped into the conversation, offering that I could help him if he wanted.
“You would do that?” Noah’s eyes sparkled with hope. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“No worries! My shift is over soon, and I don’t have anything to do today anyways.” I reassured him. Noah smiles. “Okay. Let me give you the address. Thank you again Jordyn.”
I waved goodbye to Kira and Noah and got the paper he wrote the address on, before leaving to take off my apron and get my car keys.
My life had been desperate and lifeless ever since I lost my mom. I didn’t do anything except work, eat, and sleep. But most of all, think. A lot of thoughts had been clouding my mind.
Mom in the hospital. That sounded way too familiar.
I rolled down my windows and take a deep breath. At least I got to help someone rather than sulking as usual.
I finally reached the destination after about 20 minutes drive. I entered the kindergarten and told the teacher that I needed to pick up my friend’s sister. “Ah! Are you Jordyn? Lily’s brother told me everything.” She smiled before calling out to a little girl and telling her that she’s free to leave.
I looked down at the little girl. She had a long brunette hair just like her brother, but had hazel eyes, instead of green.
“Where’s my brother?” The girl asked me with a confused look.
“Your brother had to leave to the hospital early, so he asked me to pick you up. Let’s go visit your mom, come on!” I hold out my hand to hold hers in mine.
The car ride was long, but it was filled with fun conversations. I tried to uplift Lily’s emotions by telling her funny stories from my childhood. We finally arrived at the hospital and as we walked the halls of the hospital, the familiar scent of medicine and cleaning products made its way into my nose, bringing back painful memories I tried to dismiss. A sudden voice pulled me out of my thoughts. “There she is!” Lily squeals in delight as she ran to her mothers bed side. My eyes met with Noah’s he invited me in and thanked me. I looked at his mother sitting in the bed wires attached to her and monitor surrounding her, a sight I’m sadly so used to seeing. She looked at me a faint smile forming on her lips.
“Thank you for bringing her.”
I shook my head. “It’s okay. There’s no need to thank me, really.”
I felt a slight tug on my arm and my eyes shifted from her and met Lily’s.
“Can you stay a little longer?”
“I could, if you’d like me to.”
“You don’t have to, bringing her here was already enough.” Noah mentioned.
“It’s fine, my life isn’t that interesting, I really don’t have anything else to do.” I chuckled.
Lily and I made our way to the gift shop in the hospital. We bought some snacks and sat in some seats outside her mother’s room.
“Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?” I asked Lily in between bites of my snickers bar.
She tilted her head thinking as she chewed on some licorice. “A nurse or a doctor, they’re the ones that take care of my mom and know how to make her feel better.”
I nodded my head and looked away staring at the tile floor. The nurses were the only ones that kept me company when my own mother was sick.
“Hey” Lily poked my shoulder to bring my attention back to her. “Why don’t you become a nurse?”
I laughed at her idea. “What makes you think I’d be a good nurse?”
“You seem really nice just like them, and you enjoy helping people, too.” She giggled.
“I don’t think that’s such a bad idea.” Lily and I turned our head to the doorway where Noah was leaning against the door frame. A grin on his face coincided with his sister’s.
I left the hospital later that day, the thought of being a nurse lingering in my head. Night fell and I couldn’t sleep, my mind was restless. I grabbed my laptop set on my nightstand and began to do some research on what it takes to be a nurse. That night I didn’t know my whole world would change all thanks to a 5 year old’s silly idea.
A few months later I began taking classes, I decided to try since it wouldn’t hurt and I didn’t have anything to lose. I eventually found that learning about medicine was interesting. As I was on internship, the sight of hurt people made me feel troubled and sad, but when I saw how contented the patients and their family were when they got healed, I realized that this was what I wanted to do after all. Most importantly, I felt like I was making my mom happy by doing this.
I sit in a chair surrounded by my classmates, all of us in caps and gowns, waiting for the ceremony to start. One by one we all get up and walk across the stage to receive what we had all been working so hard for.
“Jordyn Hughes” I smile as I hear my name from the stage, a feeling of accomplishment rushing through my body as I go up and hold my degree. If my mother was still here I know she’d be very proud of me. I was able to make something out of nothing.
Once the ceremony was over and I said my last goodbye to my classmates and friends, I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. It was Noah.
I answer and put the phone up to my ear.
“She’s okay! They checked her today and she’s no longer sick! My mom is going to live!”
Tears of happiness begin to roll down my cheeks. For once everything felt okay, like everything had finally fallen into place. I look up at the sky feeling the sun against my skin. “I’m okay, I’m happy.”