1 September 2011

Decay – Raffiela Garcia


Things hadn’t always been this way. There had been a time when Jamie lived an ordinary life. School, annoying siblings, unremarkable pets, all that sort of thing. Just your everyday life in mainstream suburbia. Sometimes, on days like today, that old life seemed almost attractive.

“It’s not good to dwell in the past,” said a voice by the nape of his neck. Jamie acknowledged the new presence by the slightest tilt of his chin.

“Whatever, Erin.”

“I know,” Erin scoffed, the view outside the window reflecting in her brown eyes. “How can you not dwell in the past when there’s nothing in the future?”

Jamie turned away; he didn’t like cynical Erin. She often spoke about the doctor’s appointment where they told her that her body was like a dying flower. Acute leukaemia, she laughed loudly, as if what was happening in their bones was just a whole big joke like school.

He thought that school was a big joke, but he knew leukaemia wasn’t. Though whenever Erin started sulking he wished he was sitting back in a stuffy Science classroom. “Tell me what you were like before, you know.” He didn’t answer, he wasn’t going to but it was something in Erin’s eyes, the set of her shoulders and the curve of her collarbone that got him talking.

“I was a bad kid, I picked fights, skipped school, bullied my little brother. It got to the point I got expelled and I could tell just by looking at my own parents that they were so disappointed. Funny thing is that I did all that because I wanted to live. But it doesn’t matter, does it? Not anymore.”

“How’d you find out you have leukaemia?” There it was; the hidden mirth in Erin’s rough accent as she spoke the last word.

“Weight loss, I guess. My parents sent me to the hospital, and I reckon when I came home they were expecting pamphlets about anorexia but instead got ones about cancer. They disappeared to work, and my brother to his X-Box.”

Erin opened her mouth. “Oh, Jamie”

“Then one day I was lying on a park bench and I figured that all I had was a killer headache, a family that didn’t care, and some stupid cancer that’s stopping me from living.”

He turned his head towards his female companion and smiled bitterly. “Still, I’d give anything to go home than be here. I want to go home. It’s gotta be better than feeling dead every second.”

Erin held out her hand, blue veins running up her wrist to the crease where she’d bend her arms. “Maybe just this once we can go to the park and pretend that we’re kids with a head full of hair and growing bones.” He wasn’t quite sure, but hearing cynical, moaning, pessimistic Erin saying the most optimistic thing he’d heard in a long time made him take her hand. His lips stretched from ear to ear.

Raffiela Garcia, Year 8 (Female), St Margaret’s School