By Laura Cashin
I’ve never really understood why people like fall so much. It’s a time of death; the leaves are dying, animals fly somewhere else and die, my family died. I guess I’ve just always had a thing against fall, probably because all of the worst news had come to me during fall. My mother died of cancer when I was three (November 3rd, 1992); my dad, sister and brother died when I was 16 in a bloody car crash (October 19, 2005); my grandparents both died of natural causes three years ago (September 17, 2012, October 3, 2012). The worst things have always happened to me during fall. Although lately, I’ve really been enjoying fall. Probably because it was when I met the most loving and important person in my life.
I saw her for the first time two years ago in October. I was tired of being so lonely, so I decided to join a dating website. I was sitting at an obscure coffee shop a few blocks down from my street, just searching through the people on the website, when I looked up and saw her. She had the most beautiful blue eyes and the most luscious, curly, chocolate brown hair. She was wearing a light blue shirt with three quartered sleeves, and a long, gold necklace with a heart on the end. She wore long, black, bell bottom, dress pants and shiny black pumps. I decided to make my move.
“Hey,” I said and slightly smiled at her; that one word is what started it all.
It’s now been two years since we first met, and we are in a healthy and steady relationship; I plan on proposing to her today.
I came home to find her crying on the couch with her phone in her hand. “What’s wrong, Sweetie?” I asked, dreading the answer. My mind started racing through what could’ve possibly been said on the other side: did someone die, her mother, her father, her sister?
“The hospital called,” she said, her voice shaking, tears running down her face. I knew what was to come, “I have cancer. The doctors say I have only two months to live,”
My heart plummeted into my stomach. I fell to the ground and broke out into tears. My gray fedora fell off my head, my glasses fell to the ground and my short red hair fell into my face. Tears began to roll down my cheeks, and I called out in agony. She walked over and gave me one of her long, soothing hugs that I will always remember. I clenched the diamond ring that would’ve represented our everlasting love for each other in my sad, swollen hand. Every part of my body filled with grief and misery as I cried on our hardwood floor, next to our tall, maroon door.
The next couple of months were a living hell, watching her wear away, the cancer in her lungs slowly killing her. I would love to say she kept her humor and glow, but then I would be lying. She became very depressed, and it killed me to see her so sad, and there was nothing I could do to help her or to stop this wretched disease from killing her. She slowly began to lose her hair, her skin turned pale white, she was always tired, too tired to do everyday activities. She spent the majority of the time in the hospital. Within the two months after diagnosis, her lungs had filled up with cancerous fluids three times. She didn’t smile as much, and I had to do everything for her, as she was too weak and too tired to function.
My beautiful, loving, amazing girlfriend died on November 24, 2015 at 3:26 am, when the cancer in her lungs stopped her heart. The funeral took place two days later and her entire family showed up. I bawled my eyes out during the entire ceremony. I stayed at her grave several hours after the burial took place, wondering why I ever liked fall.
I hope you enjoyed this Flash Fiction story by one of the eighth graders at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Washington, WI! Keep checking back each Friday for more stories by more awesome students!