TITLE: One Last Time
Tired of being stuck in a hospital bed while disease ravages her body, Bailey escapes from the hospital with the help of her friends. She avoids her parents, knowing they'll return her to the hospital because without the hospital machines she won't live long. Here, Bailey is talking to Twiddle, one of her closest friends.
My phone rings. I check, not that I'll be surprised.
Sure enough, it's Mom. Why can't she take a hint and leave me alone? I slide the phone back into my pocket. Twiddle raises his eyebrows.
"I don't want to deal with her," I say.
"Yeah, you two can always talk tomorrow," he says. For the first time today, there's no humor in his voice.
"You don't agree with what I'm doing?" I ask.
Twiddle shrugs and stares at the ground. "It's not up to me."
"But if it was?"
"I don't know. I want you to be happy. But I also like having you around." His shoe scuffs the dirt.
"You like it so much you didn't visit me for months."
His face twists like I've hacked off one of his fingers and dumped a bucket of salt on the wound.
"That's why I'm here. I know how your mom feels. If it was me calling..." he pauses, searching for words. "If someone who loves you wants to talk to you and they don't think they'll get another chance..." He licks his lips. "If it was me, I couldn't stand not having that last conversation."
Confusion bombards me. I think I know what he's saying. But there's no way. Not possible, not for me.
"What would you say?" I ask in a whisper. The butterflies cavorting in my stomach won't let the words come out any louder.
He looks up, eyes red and laden with tears, and I know. My heart double-thumps.