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Serena is laughing beside me on the couch, her silky hair brushes my shoulder. I am envious of her hair, all silver blonde curls, and no sign of split ends, or of it not behaving as it should. My hair is long gone now, as are my eyebrows, and my eye lashes. Chemotherapy took those away months ago, and every chance my hair had to grow back, chemo took it away again.
"Karen, lighten up would you! Its your 17th birthday!" Serena bumps my frail shoulder with her warm hand. I smile a feeble smile with cracked lips. I know what day it is, no one thought I would make it to today.
"Hey, it'll be okay." Serena says more serious now. "You are going to be fine. We will be here this time next year watching this movie for the 80th time in a row." She looks at the television again. And laughs when Moe pokes Curly in the eyes, and Curly bangs his head on a door.
I slowly grab Serena's hand and lightly squeeze. My hand feels cold compared to her warm hand; it feels slight and fragile. I hate feeling this way, but the cancer that started ravishing my body five years ago has yet to let up. And it's time. I'm tired.
She looks at me and squeezes my hand again. She knows. My sister knows it's time. My parents have yet to accept it, mom and dad still fight and pray for a miracle. Serena just prays for one more day, I just pray for it to be over.
I begin to contemplate life after death, what happens to me? Will I go to Heaven, or will I go to Hell? I like to think I will go to Heaven. But who knows. I did steal that candy when I was six. But I am getting tired, so I close my eyes and feel Serena lay her head on my chest. Listening for my breathing, for signs of life.
As I fall asleep, I feel the tubes in my nose pushing air into my cancer-ridden lungs, I feel thick liquid being forced into my veins by the IV stuck in my arm, and I feel fake food dripping into my stomach. God, I am so tired. I hurt so bad. I just want it to be over, and to see where I end up.
As I relax further into sleep, I feel peace. I see nothing but blackness. I hear nothing but soft sounds of silence. No more pain, no more needles, no more tubes. No audience laughter, and no soft breaths from Serena. Everything is gone. I feel good for the first time in so long. No sadness, no anger, no anything.
This lasts for some time, and I pray that this isn't Heaven, or I was ripped off. I hope this is Hell because this is... Well, its nothing. But I relish in the quiet, and the peace I feel.
Suddenly, I hear humming. A sweet sound of a child's song. It sounds like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." I sing the words to myself in this void. "Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are..."
The humming gets louder, and in the darkness I see lights piercing through the thick blanket of blackness. It hurts my eyes, it's so bright! A strange wind begins to blow pushing me towards the light, and I push back not wanting to leave the quiet, serene peace of the darkness. The humming gets louder and changes tune. It sounds like a little girl is humming "You are My Sunshine."
Then as suddenly as it all began, it stops. The humming, the light, the wind. But as I blink away the darkness, I see a little girl sitting at a small table with pink little chairs. She is wearing a dirty pink shirt, and torn denim jeans, her brown hair is greasy and uncombed. She has a small tea set sitting on the table, with stuffed animals sitting on her lap.
She turns and looks at me with big, blue eyes.
"Hi, my name is Lucy. What's your name?" She looks like she is young, five maybe six. But how can she see me? I'm dead. I am dead, right?
"How can you see me?" I ask her.
"Duh, you're my imaginary friend." She says with her little voice. She pours water from her cracked tea pot into a dirty, tiny teacup. "You want to have a tea party with me?" She asks.
"Uh..." I look down. My blonde hair flows down my back in thick, curling waves. I am wearing a pink fairy dress, and I have a crown on my head. "Yeah, sure." I walk to the table and sit down. I try to pick up the tiny tea cup, but my hand slips through the hard plastic.
"You never told me your name." The little girl reminds me.
"Karen. My name is Karen." I say, and I try to pick up the teacup again. But my hand slides through it again. "Why can't I pick up this cup?" I ask frustrated.
Lucy laughs, it sounds soft and twinkles like a bell. "You are so silly! You are my imaginary friend! Of course you can't pick up a cup. You have to pretend."
That concludes part one! Be on the look out for part two coming soon!