Isabelle's Last Dance
Izzy Renwick has pancreatic cancer, and she knows she's not going to make it. The only things she truly wants are: to turn 18 and fall in love. But she knows they're both out of her reach.
Peter Gardner has colon cancer, and is angry and bitter. He wants to lock himself in a room and wither away until the cancer works its course, never wanting to look anyone in the face again. And then he meets Izzy. . . .
Chapter 3: Izzy
"I hope so," I said, truly hoping it would at least help somehow.
"It's only for a week that you'll be here. They just want to monitor your reactions to chemo, and to see if it works at all," Mom said, stroking my hair and kissing my forehead.
"It'll work right? I want to at least make it to my birthday."
And the heartbroken look on her face made me wish I would have kept that to myself.
"Oh sweetie, you will. You most definitely will be eighteen."
She stayed a moment longer before a nurse came in, telling her visiting hours were over. I was left alone in my hospital room, my "roommate" wasn't here at the moment, and I wish she was. I didn't want to be left alone in a hospital room with only my pessimistic thoughts I didn't want in my head.
"Hi Miss Renwick, I'm Nurse Holloway and I'll be right down the hall. Just press this button," She gestured to a button. "if you need me. OK?" She asked with a kind smile.
I returned the smile. "OK, thank you. I don't want to be a burden, though. I'll try and not push it too often."
Nurse Holloway shook her head. "Nonsense Miss Renwick, it's my job. Press it when necessary."
And after she left, I lay on the bed, staring around the room. I managed to turn the TV on and watch an episode of some show I never heard of. I was about ten minutes in when Nurse Holloway came in with a girl, who had to be the person I was sharing the room with.
"Isabelle, this is Karen. Karen, this is Isabelle," The nurse said gently, guiding Karen over to her hospital bed. She looked tired, pale, and drawn. The dark shadows under her eyes showed that she hadn't had a lot of sleep recently. Just like me.
Nurse Holloway left, leaving Karen and me alone in near silence. The only thing making noise was the TV.
"I'm Karen, nice to meet you," She said in a small voice.
"I'm Isabelle, but call me Izzy. It's nice to meet you too, though I wish it were on better terms and circumstances for the both of us," I said with a weak smile.
Karen managed a little chuckle. "Don't we all? What are you here for?"
"I'm here for chemo," I said simply, turning back to watch the TV.
"I'm here for surgery. They're going to remove this tumor growing along my spine. It's such a pain. . . . pardon the pun," Karen said with a faint smile. "If you don't mind me asking, what kind of cancer do you have?" She asked gently.
I turned back to look at her. "Promise me you'll treat me as if I'm normal?"
"I will if you promise to treat me like I'm normal."
"Promise," I said solemnly.
"Promise." Karen replied.
Karen was silent. "Oh."
I could tell she was pitying me in her mind, but she didn't give it away.
"Yeah, they're going to try chemo and see if it'll work. I don't want to be pessimistic about it, just realistic. I honestly doubt it will work," I said, hopelessness creeping up on me again.
Karen and me sat, watching TV for the longest time before she spoke.
"Are you going to the group therapy session later today?"
"They have those?" I asked, turning to look at her.
She nodded. "Yeah, for teens with cancer and whatnot. I have a feeling you'd be accepted, what with your. . . . condition. I guess it's supposed to make you not feel all alone in this fight, even if the end result is mostly the same," Karen said with a sad smile.
I returned the small smile.
"I know what my result is going to be, I've came to terms with it. I don't like it, but there's no other option. I just--never mind, I don't want to burden you with my depressing thoughts," I said, looking away from her face.
"No, no, tell me. I've been told I'm a great listener, and it's been so long since I've shared a room with someone. I won't judge. Promise."
"I just want to make it to my eighteenth birthday."
"Is that it? I get the feeling there's more," Karen said, eyeing me.
"It's just the typical clichÃ© for a teenage girl with cancer to want. . . .I want to fall in love," I said quietly.
The room was quiet except for the TV. Karen and I stared at each other for a long moment before she broke the silence between us.
"You might just find it," She said.
"I'm not going to say names because he'll find a way to kill me, but there's this boy here I met in the courtyard, and he has cancer too. He's angry about it, so naturally I thought he was a jerk, but had reason to be so I didn't say anything. He kept talking about a girl named Isabelle Renwick, who he saw talking to a nurse last week. As soon as Nurse Holloway say your name, I knew you had to be the girl he was talking about. You are gorgeous, by the way," Karen said with a smile.
"Oh, um, thanks," I said, blushing. Who was this boy who talked about me? "How old is he?"
"Eighteen. He's a senior in high school, but hasn't actually been to school in nearly two months."
I sighed, several images of whomever this boy may be, popped in and out of my head.
"Group therapy you say? I guess I could try it out, but how would I know who he is?" I asked, desperately curious as to who would talk about me and call me "gorgeous".
She nodded. "Here's a hint, his last name is Gardner, and they usually make them introduce with their first and last name. You, darling, may have found a Romeo to your Juliet."
I smiled, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about how she used Romeo and Juliet to compare this mystery boy and me. It did seem fitting, what with the impending death and all. Or maybe I was just looking to into her words. She probably didn't mean anything by it. I looked back at the TV, the name 'Gardner' swimming in and out of my thoughts. Maybe I could find that love I wanted after all. . . .