Charlotte Chronicles, IV

Charlotte Chronicles IIV

My mom is saying things but I’m not really understanding them. Like I know what all the words mean individually but I am having a hard time putting it all together. And it’s making me angry. “Stop. Just stop.” I say. Or maybe I shout it because Mom presses her lips together in a disapproving way, a sure sign she was suppressing something.

The doctor had come in earlier to tell me that they didn’t think that the tumor had resulted in any brain damage and that I was still as smart as always only that now I might see some changes in how I used the information in my head.  And that I might be more emotional now because I had a reduced ability to control my feelings.

I guess that explained why I am crying all the mother loving time.  I am sick of crying. I am sick of the hospital. I don’t want to go to surgery this afternoon to have my port put in. I don’t want to undergo several courses of radiation therapy to make sure all my tumor cells are killed off.

Today is Tuesday. I’ve been in the hospital for five days now. I guess the good thing is that after I get the port put in, I can wear actual pajamas and not the hospital gown and they’ll move me out of the main hospital into an adjacent facility with a big room that overlooks the city. Just like at home.  Only it will still be in a hospital.

I’m missing school and gymnastics practice. Nick tried to cheer me up earlier by saying that I’d gotten too tall for gymanstics anyway. I had grown a little in the last year and some of the maneuvers weren’t as tight. Maybe I would’ve given it up soon but I wished that I could’ve made that decision, not have it taken away from me like my stupid hair. Or where I was going to go to school when after I was discharged.

“I can’t believe you’d make leave school and move to Switzerland.” I glare at my mother and then look pleadingly at my dad. He’s a softie, always trying to make mom and me happy. Living with the two of us has taken a lot out of him, he liked to say.  I love my mom but we grate on each other’s nerves. Dad says it’s because we’re too much alike. I don’t think we’re anything alike. For instance, I would not make my daughter leave her only friends and take her to another country to get better.

The Jacksons have been kicked out of the room and its just us Randolphs. Probably because my mom knew that the Jacksons would not be for us moving away for the year. Nick is my best friend and Nate, well, I couldn’t leave him either. He is going away to college soon and I want to enjoy him being around while I can, even if he was a jerk to me most of the time. I’ll miss Aunt Grace and Uncle Noah too.

“I just think that the transition would be easier for you. We’ll hire a tutor to go with us so you won’t get behind and when we can, we’ll travel around Europe. It will be a big adventure for us.”  Mom is using her ‘Let me explain to you why Freedom Funds is the best hedge fund in the world’ voice. Irritating much?

“You can stop talking to me like I’m some prospective client. I’m not leaving North Prep. Last year sucked because I was a freshman but I’m a sophomore now. I have status!”

“Don’t say suck,” Mom said but it was an automatic response, not one that had any real force behind it. She was too busying staring at Dad.  They’ve developed this technique where they can communicate with each other just by looking. No words.  I’ve seen Aunt Grace and Uncle Noah do it too. Sometimes the look those folks exchange makes me feel uncomfortable, like I’m seeing something private I shouldn’t be looking at. But it’s like the sun and I can’t look away. I want to have that kind of connection. I’ve decided that’s the sign you’ve found your one true love.

It’s never worked with Nate. I tried it once when he started seeing Yolanda from school. Yolanda was a senior last year. Older girls have always had a thing for Nate. I don’t get it. Why don’t they stick with the guys in their own grade and leave Nate alone?  Yolanda was always touching him in school. I’d see her run her hands down the side of his arm or over his back or sometimes even around the waistband of his jeans. I thought it was disgusting how she pawed at him and I glared at him one day trying to tell him silently how gross it was but he just stared at Yolanda with a stupid grin on his face. So even if I thought Nate was my one true love, he didn’t return my feelings. He’s too busy sleeping with all the seniors.  Like Yolanda.

When Yolanda left for college, I was thrilled but her place was taken by another senior girl. Plus there’s this girl who lives downstairs from us who’s in college and she’s always looking at him like he’s a side of beef and she hasn’t eaten in a year. I haven’t seen Nate give her the stupid grin so it seems safe to assume that they aren’t doing it.  I asked Nick once if he thought his brother was hooking up with the girl downstairs and Nick gave me this weird look and told me that he wasn’t going to talk about stuff like that with me.

Dad clears his throat and I do a mental fist pump. That Dad is talking and not Mom meant I’ve won this round. “We’ll take it a day at a time. If North Prep gets too much for you, the Switzerland idea is still available.”

Mom leans over and gives me a kiss on my forehead. Her lips are trembling like she is trying not to cry and I just don’t understand what she is so upset about. How could North Prep be too much for me? All my friends went to North Prep. Nothing bad could happen to me there.

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