Six Months, and Six Hopes

Six Months, and Six Hopes

A Story by Lydia

  I was only seven years old when I learned that my best friend had cancer. I can still remember that day as if it was only yesterday. At the time it didn't bother me like it does these days. I guess my young mind didn't grasp the real meaning, and I didn't have the appreciation for life that I have now.
   We were playing outside in the field behind my old house. I remember the exact position I was sitting in: indian style on the ground beside the overgrown bushes. The wind was blowing a soft breeze, and Aliyah's golden curls whipped around her face. When I think about it now I notice the solemn look on her face, but at the time I was completely oblivious.

   "Lucy, can I tell you something? You have to keep it a secret, though," I recall her saying. I raised my head from the dandelions I was playing with.

   "Of course! I'll even pinky promise," my young self replied, sticking out a stubby pinky and we quickly locked fingers with the old tradition. She sat down daintily beside me, and smoothed out her blush pink sundress. Her aqua blue doe eyes looked over at me, and she began to tell me something that neither of us really understood at the time.

   "Momma says I have something called cancer," she announced, tucking a stray curl behind her ear. I squinted my eyes and raised a hand to my forehead, shielding them from the sun. My best friend had just given me life-changing news, and I didn't even know it. We sat in silence simply because I didn't know what to say. I didn't even know what cancer was. I twirled the stem of a dandelion around my index finger, and looked up at her. My blunt cut bangs fell over my eyes as I did so.

  "What is cancer? I've heard it on the TV before, but I don't know what it is," I answered. I had always thought of Aliyah as the smart one, so it seemed logical to ask her. She pressed her lips together, and sat up a bit straighter. She was obviously proud that she knew something that I didn't.

   "Well, momma said that it's a disease that will make me sick for a little while. I have to get treatments like medicine, but I get to stay in a hospital with other kids that have cancer. I've never stayed in a hospital before. Doesn't that sound cool? And she said that you can come visit me anytime you want. She also said I won't be sick for long, and that I'll feel better in no time." There was such innocence in those words, and they bring tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

    I nodded my head, and my short, auburn hair grazed my shoulders as I did so. It seemed like any other conversation at the time, and it was quickly dismissed by us. The day went on as usual after I promised to come see her, and we went on playing.

 What Aliyah's mom told her about being better in no time was not exactly true as you probably already figured out. She went through chemotherapy, and spent almost two years in the local children's hospital. She was pretty sick through it, but she always stayed positive as I've learned is one of her best qualities. She held on to the hope of  getting better, and eventually she did. The doctor's announced that she had went into remission on July 6, 2006. We celebrated by taking her to her favorite restaurant once she had gained most of her strength back.

   She didn't have any problems for six years, and we had almost completely left the problem behind until last summer. We were fifteen, and she went in for a regular yearly exam. The news she came back with was devastating. The cancer had come back. This time it had a profound effect on me. The cancer moved a lot faster this time, also. Before we knew it the doctors said that she only had six more months to live, and that chemo wasn't going to help this time. I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. I literally thought that my life was over, but I had to suck it up. I wasn't the one dying, she was, and she took it better than I did.

   We had a conversation about a week after the news, and Aliyah was listing all the things she would never be able to do. So, I got an idea, and I told her to make a bucket list of six things, and every month we would do one thing. I was determined to live up to my promise, and I did just that.

Month 1: Climb Addison's Mt. Everest


   There is a rather large hill in our town that all the kids call Addison's Mt. Everest. The name is pretty self-explanatory. We live in Addison, Alabama, and there is a hill there that we call Mt. Everest because we have way too much time on our hands. Anyways, there is a path that winds up this hill, and a lot of people climb it. Aliyah said that she heard that if you climb to the very top then you can see the whole town. I joked that there wasn't much of a town to see, but she didn't seem to find that funny.

    So, on the very first day of summer break I took her to Addison's Mt. Everest. I tried to get her to let my mom drive us, but she insisted that we ride our bikes. I was pretty hesitant about it since I didn't think she would have the energy to ride a bike, and climb the hill. I didn't say anything, though, since I promised her that I wouldn't treat her like a china doll. Her words, not mine.

   I rode my bike over to her house which was only a few blocks down the road. I found Aliyah waiting for me in her driveway all ready to go. We rode over to the hill, and I tried to make like I didn't notice when she had to stop a couple times. Once we arrived at the hill we left our bikes at the bottom. There was no way I was going to carry that thing with me.

   "Are you sure you can do this?" I asked one more time.

   "Lucy, you promised," she replied with almost a look of hurt on her face. I sighed, and held back a comment about how she was going to end up hurting herself. So, we began the hike up the hill. Once again, I tried to act like I didn't notice when she would stop. I made like I was thoroughly investigating some very uninteresting rocks so that she could take a break. I knew she wouldn't ask me to stop. She had too much pride in that little body of hers.

   It didn't take us as long as I thought it would to reach the top. We made it just in time to see the sunset over the horizon. We both collapsed on the ground, and this time I wasn't just doing it to make her feel better. My legs felt like they were going to fall off, so I can't even imagine how she must have felt. As usual she did a good job of hiding it. When I looked over at her a huge smile was plastered across her porcelain face. The slight breeze blew back her curls just like the day when we were seven, and we thought of this whole cancer business as a mere game.

   "It's beautiful," she spoke softly,"I think I can see my house." She pointed to a red tin roof, and I merely nodded in response. I was too busy being in awe of her to pay attention to the view. She was the type of person who could find beauty in the smallest things. I had strived to be like her since I was just a little girl, but I still couldn't see things quite like she could.

   We talked about random stuff for about an hour or so before I finally asked her if she was ready to go home. We had to walk all the way down, and then bike home. If we weren't back by dark we would probably get in a lot of trouble.

    "Can't we stay just a little bit longer?" She pleaded. How could I say no? So we stayed. Yes, we got in trouble, but I don't think either of us really cared.

Month one: Completed with admiration!
Month 2: Dye Her Hair


  "What?!" I exclaimed as Aliyah walked into my house with a package of black hair dye. Black! There was no way I was going to cover up her beautiful golden curls with black hair dye. Does dying really make you that crazy? "There is no way I'm going to dye your hair black! Have you gone completely nuts?"

    Aliyah raised her eyebrows, and folded her arms. I knew that look. That look meant she had a very good excuse. "You said that you would do one thing on my bucket list every month. Dying my hair is on my bucket list, so you have to do it," she countered.

   I sighed, and rolled my eyes. Of course I had to do it, though. I might be a lot of things, but I'm not a liar. "Fine. I'll do it. We'll have to do it in the bathroom, though. I'm not sure how this will turn out. I've never dyed anyone's hair before," I warned as I led her into the bathroom. I set a chair in front of the vanity so she could sit down.

   "Eh, doesn't matter. I won't have this hair for much longer anyways," she reasoned with a shrug of her shoulders as she sat down in the seat I set out for her. I hadn't really noticed it until she brought it up, but I could tell that her hair was a bit thinner than usual. I guess it really was starting to fall out. Little things like that made the situation seem so more real for me, but she didn't seem to be bothered by it. It was mind boggling that she could be so strong.

   "So, what did your mom say about this?" I asked as I started to open the package of hair dye, and skimmed over the instructions.

   Aliyah shrugged her shoulders, and muttered an almost incoherent, "I dunno."

     My eyes almost popped out of my head. Aliyah's mother loved her hair! "Are you seriously telling me that you didn't tell your mom?" I shouted, looking at her mischevious grin through the mirror. "We are going to be so dead," I blurted out without thinking. My eyes widened, and my hand flew to my mouth. "I am so sorry, Aliyah. That was a really bad choice of words," I apologized, disgusted with myself for being so careless.

    I was very surprised when Aliyah burst out laughing. "If you think that bothers me then you really must not know me very well, Lucy," she said once she had finally calmed down from her laughing fit. Once again, I wish I was as strong as her.

    It ended up taking me almost two hours to get the dye in her hair, and the end result was quite horrifying. The mirror and the bathroom walls were splattered with hair dye, and I was almost certain that my fingers, and Aliyah's scalp were permanently stained. Aliyah glanced around the room, and nodded her head slowly. "Yep, Lucy, I think you were right. We are dead," she agreed. We stared at each other in the mirror for a few seconds before bursting out into side-splitting laughter for the umpteenth time.


Month two: Completed with laughter!
Month Three:  Go to a Concert


   Aliyah has never been to a concert, and neither have I. I couldn't afford to buy tickets for a real concert, so we settled on a local band that was playing in town. My mom drove us there, and dropped us off so we could expierience it with just the two of us. We had went shopping a couple weeks before, and were both excited to wear our new outfits. I could see that Aliyah's dress hung loosely on her now much skinnier frame. Sometimes I catch myself worrying about her, and then I have to stop because what's the point? She is going to die anyways. Once again, her words not mine.

   We walked into the building where the concert was going to be held, arm in arm. There wasn't very many seats and most people were standing up. Thankfully, there weren't very many people, and since most of the town knows each other they knew Aliyah's situation and let us have two seats in the very front row. I could tell that she didn't like it, but there is one thing that Aliyah is going to have to learn: It's okay to play up sympathy. My brother's words, not mine. Okay, fine. Maybe they are mine.

   "I hate when people act like I might drop dead if I have to stand up for more than five minutes," she whispered to me. I saw her shoot a death glare at one of the boys from our school who was in the group of people who gave up their seats.

   I rolled my eyes, and shoved her arm lightly. "Just be glad were in the front row. Sometimes sympathy pays off well," I replied, giving her a small smile.

    The band came out after a little while, and we spent the next two hours head banging, and dancing like no one was watching. Of course, we weren't the only ones. At one point the drummer winked at Aliyah, and I couldn't help but laugh. She scoffed. "Since when does blonde roots on black hair, and bald patches count as attractive?" She shouted over the noise.

    I laughed again, and shrugged. "Raging beauties like you can pull off anything," I replied, and she slapped my arm, her cheeks flushing red. She was never one to take compliments well.

   I really am going to miss these moments that only a best friend can share.


Month three: Completed with dancing!
Month Four: Cut Her Hair


   This was the day I was dreading the most. I knew it was coming because Aliyah had mentioned it many times before. This month she wanted me to cut off her golden curls.

  "Aliyah, I don't think I can do this," I cautioned.

    "Please, Lucy. It's going to fall out anyways. I don't want to see it happen. Lots of girls with cancer do this. Just shave it off," she begged, looking up at me from her place on the floor with pleading eyes.

   I sighed, and gave in. My hands were literally shaking as I brought the razor to her head. I could see her grimace, and I tried to do it as fast as I could. I drug the razor across her scalp from the front to the back. All of her hair was gone in less than five quick strokes of the blade. Her half black, half blonde curls scattered across my floor.

    She slowly lowered her hands from her eyes, and inspected herself in the mirror. I chewed at my lip as I watched her from where I was now sweeping her hair into the dustpan. "It's a big change isn't it?" I asked, balancing my chin on the top of the broom handle.

    She ran her hand across her bald head, and turned to face me. "Yeah, but like you said, raging beauties like me can pull off anything, right?"

  I smiled, and nodded my head. "Definitley."


Month Four: Completed with big changes!

Month Five: Go to the Beach one last time


   Since we live in Alabama were not too far from Gulf Shores. Taking her to the beach wasn't something I could really do by myself so our families took the chance to have one last trip with all of us. At this point Aliyah was pretty weak, and it was quite obvious that the cancer was gaining on her. She slept most of the car ride there, but I cherished every moment with her even when she was asleep.

    We arrived at the beach around noon, and we mainly just layed out in the sun. She mustered up enough energy around three or four o'clock, and we splashed around in the water for about thirty minutes. I could tell that she was getting tired again, so I suggested we go sit back down. The smell of the saltwater burned my nose as we lounged near the shore. The waves tickled my feet when they splashed onto the sand. I was actually starting to drift off when Aliyah suddenly pushed herself off the ground, and leaned back on her elbows. I looked over at her, and she looked down at me. "What is it?"

  "I don't have much longer, y'know?" She breathed and looked out onto the ocean that almost matched the color of her eyes.

  I shook my head slowly. She was right, but I think we were all trying to deny it. "It'll be okay, Aliyah. I'm sure you still have a little-," I began.

  "Lucy, I'm not afraid to die," she interjected, and for just a moment she looked stronger and happier than I think I'd ever seen her.

    I pressed my lips together, and took a deep breath. I was no where close to being as strong as her. Even in her last days she was stronger than I could ever be. "I'll never have another best friend. I'll never be as close to anyone as I am to you," I disclosed.

   She looked down at me, and shook her head. "That's not true. Yeah, you'll be sad for a little while, but eventually you'll move on."


    She wasn't afraid to die, but I was afraid to live without her.


Month Five: Completed with a strong persona!
Month Six: I'll never know...


    I was on my way to Aliyah's house. The sun was shining, and it was an all around beautiful day. But as I approached her house I just knew something was wrong. Aliyah's little brothers weren't running around outside like they usually were. I tried to push all the horrible thoughts from my mind, but it was impossible. I ran the rest of the way up the driveway, but her father came out of the house before I could even reach the door. The look he gave me confirmed my fears. I shook my head in disbelief. I knew it was coming, but I hadn't really prepared myself. "No, please, no," I agonized.

   Aliyah's father nodded his head. "Early this morning," he answered, and shoved his hands in his pockets. I could tell it was taking all he had to not burst into tears. I didn't have the strength to hold it back. I practically collapsed to the ground, wrapping my arms around my knees, and burying my face in my hands. The tears were pouring out, and I almost choked on my own saliva. She couldn't be gone. Not my Aliyah. She was so strong, and she had so much life in her. For a minute I was almost angry at her because in those fragile moments it seemed like she  had given up. I immediatly felt guilty for thinking that way, and internally scolded myself.

   I sensed Aliyah's father kneeling down beside me, and I felt his rough hand on my shoulder. "She told me to tell you something right before she passed. She said that she wanted you to know that she was very thankful for you being there for her these past few months. She said they were the best days of her life, and that you were her best friend. She also said that she loved you very much, and that she wanted to thank you for sticking with her through eveything."

    I raised my mascara stained faced, and wiped at my eyes. "I-is she still in there?"

    He nodded his head. "You can say your goodbyes if you want to. Don't feel like you have to, though. I know that is a very hard thing."

   I wanted to, though. I wanted to see her one last time. "I want to do it. I think she would want me to," I replied, and slowly lifted myself off the ground. My chest ached from all the crying. I slowly made my way into the house. I avoided the living room where her mother, and little brothers were. I couldn't see Aliyah's mother in that state. I hesitated as I entered her bedroom. Her face was covered by a sheet, and I felt my knees buckle underneath me.  I managed to walk across the room, and slowly pulled the sheet back. I expected myself to get dizzy or something seeing a dead body, but I didn't. She simply looked like she was sleeping. She looked so peaceful, and I was almost glad that she wasn't in anymore pain. I grabbed her hand gently, and interlocked my fingers with her cold ones. "Your welcome, Aliyah."

© 2012 Lydia

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OH MY GOD!!! I genuinely was about to cry at the end!!! So sad!!
Loved it :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

While I was reading I was thinking, " This must be what it feels like to go through something like this." It was depicted so well, it gave me a sense of feeling the character since it was written so well. I like how it was broken up, the language, and the way that with each section the description of the character changes in order to show the deterioration of her. I just really enjoyed reading this piece, very well done.


Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

Thank you. It means a lot.
This is so touching and extremly prsonal to me. My boyfriend has canser, it is in the spine of his back and he recenty went into remission. Its hard though, letting go my exfiance recently commited suicide, and this made me think of that day, and the day I know is coming. You rally captured the determnation I feel when I think of being with him and doing everything I can to make him happy for the rest of his life. You have inspired me. I am writing my life now, even though this is fiction, i hope that one day, I can touch some one with it the wayyou have touched me with this.

Posted 11 Years Ago


11 Years Ago

Thank you so much. And I am so sorry about your situation. I'm sure you will touch many.
Wow, this piece was SO good! I can't believe that a) this is fiction, and b) you're only 13. Keep up the good work!

Posted 11 Years Ago

When did I become such a crier? In the past few days, I have cried at two written things. I have never cried at books. Okay, that might just be a lie.
This is so incredibly sad, but so incredibly good. I'll be favoriting this, without a doubt. Thank you for writing this, I can only hope it wasn't true.

Posted 11 Years Ago


11 Years Ago

I'm glad you liked it. There is nothing wrong with crying over stories. It was fictional, though.

11 Years Ago

Oh thank god!
Dear Lydia,

A wonderful and powerful write. I know several people struggling with this horrid disease, and several who have passed on. We are so mortal, and end in such tragedy, at least that is what we leave with our loved ones that survive us.

Who can know what will be? We are finite creatures. We don't last but a blink of the eye. This is how it has always been. This is the fate of humanity. To oppose these truths, religion has grown to give us comfort. I make no judgement here. I dispute no beliefs and put no beliefs forward to challenge any. But none can dispute the world and its ways. All stay their portion and pass on. This is a truth that all know and feel, and fill with our tears. Whatever lies ahead, we see what lies in this world. We know. We feel. We have our own ways of trying to cope.

This is a sad and stirring story. It was much enjoyed and appreciated.

Very best regards,


Posted 11 Years Ago

wow. I've got this lump in my throat, which prevents me from saying more.

Posted 11 Years Ago

Very good... men never cry... it's popcorn salt damn it... men never cry

Posted 11 Years Ago

Wow, I Honestly wasn't expecting this to be so good. haha I know exactly what this feels like actually due to experience and the fact that I almost cried is a good thing for you. It means that you wrote it well and captured the true mood and feelings of the story well. I loved it, even though it is sad. But not everything can be happy right. ha
Keep Writing! :)

Posted 11 Years Ago

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Added on June 8, 2012
Last Updated on June 8, 2012



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