Saturday, July 7, 2012

71. Prognosis

I spotted her lanky frame from the end of the sterile hall.  She gave a limp wave in my direction.       

“How is she?”
“Well, she’s asleep.  She’s on a lot of painkillers.” 

“I got here as fast as I could,” I offered lamely.   
“I know you did.  I’m not blaming you.  Oh, there’s her doctor.  Dr. Jarvis?  Excuse me?  This is my sister, Emily.” 

“Nice to meet you.  Sorry it’s under these circumstances.  Why don’t we take a walk?” 
Lindsey picked her tote bag up off the floor.  I noticed it was full of baby toys. 

“Linds, where’s Tyler?  I forgot to ask!” 
“He’s with Steve.  I left him with my next-door neighbor until Steve could get home from work.  He just texted me that he picked him up.” 

“Oh, good.”  I suddenly felt like I was in the way:  interrupting everything and not helping. 
The doctor cleared his throat.  “So, Emma, here’s the thing with your mom—”

Emily,” I corrected, trying to keep my voice light.   
“Yes, okay.  Emily.  The cancer has spread.  It’s much worse than six months ago, it’s in several locations in her lungs.  It’s making it so she can’t breathe.” 

I listened intently to his words, searching for the content, but my mind painted pictures of the locations—miniature beach villas dotting the horizon.  The cancer went inside the villas, turned on the TV, poured glasses of wine, and sat down on the alveoli.  They had no intention of leaving. 
I noticed Lindsey was crying.  She had cried on the phone.  Maybe having children does that to you—makes you more in touch with your emotions. 
“Your mother’s time is limited.  Let me be perfectly clear:  you should not leave the hospital.” 
Lindsey let out an eerie wail, then dropped her bag.  “How much time?  Tell me!”
“A day, two ... three at the very most.” 
The world will end in three days.”  It was my mother who said these words, standing behind us, clutching at the wall. 
trifecta writing challenge:  333 words, the prompt is "The world will end in three days."


  1. Touching. And I like your photo of the hospital sign.


  2. I have to agree, it was touching and sad. Great job!

  3. flowed well good character development. Enjoyed it!

  4. This was incredibly real and well written. I just lost a close friend to cancer.

  5. that was so sad!
    the part about how the cancer took up residence, though, was a very original take on the circumstance.

  6. So sad - Nice effect with the alveoli and villas

  7. Such a compelling story with so few words. Excellent!

  8. Thanks so much for linking up with Trifecta this weekend. This was a sad response, for sure, but if I'm completely honest, I have to say that the final line absolutely creeped me out. I think because the dialogue and action was strictly between the two women at the beginning, branching out to the doctor later. To have the mom suddenly come in with dialogue scared me. Maybe it's just late. Either way, I enjoyed this. Nice take.

  9. I agree with Trifecta. That last line is a killer (no pun intended?).


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