*Background information: After reading Alice Walker’s short story, The Flowers, students in Ms. Waterman’s AP Language & Composition class were assigned to write about a memorable moment when they realized that their childhood was over. This is Kate Dilworth’s “And The Summer Was Over” essay entitled, Ballet-Slipper Pink.
-Photo credit: Kate Dilworth ’25
My grandparents had three sons, my father being the oldest. My father was thirty-one when he met my mother who was twenty-six at the time; Nine years later they got married and had me. When I was five I couldn’t wait to turn seven, at seven I couldn’t wait to turn ten. I couldn’t wait to grow up. At five I couldn’t understand the concept of death. I knew my parents would never leave me, and I would always go to sleep in my ballet-slipper pink room, with my parents asleep just on the other side of the wall. My parents would never leave me, they would always be just beyond the pink.
As my wish came true and I turned fifteen, I realized that not only had I grown up but so did my parents. Over the ten years of my wish for maturity, my parents’ skin wrinkled, and their jet-black hair became sprinkled with salt. One day my mother would have me sit down next to her on the guest bed of my grandparents’ house two days after Christmas. Then she would ever so calmly tell me my father had prostate cancer. But it was so small I shouldn’t have to worry. He would stay on top of it.
I had been to countless funerals. Death was simply something that happened. I would put on a nice dress, ride in a silent car with my parents, and sit in a still church. The priest would say a few words, and the family would read their tear-stained speeches about their husband, brother, or son. Yet I had never been to the funeral of someone I truly knew, I couldn’t mourn the hole in my heart if it was never there to begin with.
At sixteen I am sitting on the couch two weeks before the start of junior year. My father sits next to me. When I look at his face, I notice something. I have his eyes, his nose, the same straight black hair. I spent my entire life viewing him as immortal, the never-ending fire in his brain would never burn out. It’s what made him my father. Yet, he has to have surgery, they have to remove the prostate before the cancer spreads further. I remember the moment, I remember hearing only pure silence, I remember the feeling of my mother watching and listening from the kitchen island, my father’s face, his eyes, my eyes, our eyes looking at me, waiting for a reaction. I saw my parents as regular men and women, and I, the perfect mix of both.
I went to bed that night in my room, the one next to my parents, but my ballet-slipper pink walls were painted white.
*Background information: After reading Alice Walker’s short story, The Flowers, students in Ms. Waterman’s AP Language & Composition class were assigned to write about a memorable moment when they realized that their childhood was over. This is Tessa Sweeney’s “And The Summer Was Over” essay entitled, Double Digits.
I was nine years old, two months short of turning ten, waiting for my mother to finish up s’mores in the backyard of our refurbished 1990s home when the sirens started blaring. The fire was beginning to make me sweat. The sticky June weather along with the warmth from the fire made me queasy. The police cars’ sirens rang through my ears as one after the other passed my house. The fence was too high for me to see over, but just as I was scooting a rock from the garden over, my father ordered me to go inside.
My family rushed inside, fumbling for the remote to the TV. I sat down on our brown corduroy couch, s’more in hand. The marshmallow dripped down the side of my hand as I brought my mouth up to clean up the mess. I looked around at the artwork on the walls, bright abstract faces with white frames. There were old family photos from when I was a baby. A picture of me playing with an old, passed-down baby doll with its blonde hair in two pigtails, tied with a pink ribbon. My hair, not much darker than hers, was pulled back similarly.
I had come home from a playdate at a friend’s house about an hour earlier. Reminiscing now, I realize just how surreal this experience would have been for a young girl with a distorted sense of reality. We played horses that afternoon, Grace and I. We were the stablehands and her plastic toy horses galloped across the green carpet. All we cared about was if one of the horses was talented enough to win the race to the living room downstairs, not when or if our parents were going to pick us up.
The TV flickered on and my father quickly turned the channel to the news. My whole family sat eagerly as the news anchor pointed out the sweltering weather that was going to burden us for the rest of the week. It took half an hour for the news station to even report what was happening, that’s how close it must’ve been to our home. We were witnessing it in real time.
I recall getting up from the couch to throw away the paper towel that I had held my s’more with when suddenly the flashing lights from earlier appeared behind the news anchor on the TV.
Seven dead, many wounded.
I had never heard of Columbine High School or Sandy Hook until that night. It wasn’t as if my parents tried to hide these things from me, rather they just never came up in conversation. The death toll kept rising throughout the night. My siblings had gone to bed, but my body never left that couch. It wasn’t until the number hit double digits that my heart began to beat like a drum inside my chest. That night I went to bed thinking of the people who would never hug their mom again. I went to bed thinking of the people who would never see the sunrise; whose fingers would never be sticky with s’more once more.
I woke up in pain for those lives that were lost that night. June is supposed to be a celebration of summer and individuality. That June was a fever dream, the haziness of the fog in my brain cleared. I barely played with plastic horses anymore. I began to wonder why the world is so cruel to the innocent. I still find myself looking at pictures of those we lost years ago.
I was a kid drowning in a sea of grief for people I had never even met.
*Background information: After reading Alice Walker’s short story, The Flowers, students in Ms. Waterman’s AP Language & Composition class were assigned to write about a memorable moment when they realized that their childhood was over. This is Evan Miller’s “And The Summer Was Over” essay entitled, The Next Chapter of My Life.
-Photo credit: Blake Tripp ’24
Since I was little, I had always dreamed of going to a prep school to play hockey in turn helping me get one step closer to my dream. One of my teammate’s parents had talked to my parents about a showcase called the Pre-Prep Showcase. It was a hockey showcase where some of the most talented kids in the world came to get scouted by schools. It was August of 2019, my family and I hit the road for a trip to Boston. The trip was as boring as watching paint dry. When we finally got to Boston, the whole trip changed.
The practice was first thing in the morning. I stepped on the ice and skated around for a bit then, I got in the net, and BANG! The first shot hits me right dead center in the mask. I could smell the rubber from the puck as if someone had lit it on fire right under my nose. After we finished practice, the team headed back to the hotel. We had a team dinner and then we were right back at it on the ice for our first game. We played well and ended up winning.
The next day we had two more games, which we also won. After our final game, we went to a gathering where we met with all the coaches from different schools. Over the next school year, I looked into the different prep schools in New England. Everything was going well until March of 2020. And then Covid happened.
Covid had shut everything down and I was stuck at home. This might have been the best possible thing for me. Since I was bored at home all day, I started working out regularly and got into better shape. With this new free time, I started reaching out to coaches from different prep schools. One of the coaches who responded was Coach O’Brien. We had an interview and the coach was looking forward to meeting me in person.
Eventually, COVID had slowed down a bit and My parents and I decided to muster the courage to go on the seven-hour drive to Maine. It was even worse than the ride to Boston. Once we got there we explored the campus with the coach seeing all the different buildings. I was nervous but excited at the same time. After the tour, I knew this was where I wanted to be during the next chapter of my life. Going off on my own at fifteen was a huge decision though. My parents both excited and scared, knew that this would be what was best for me. Over that summer, my mom and I started packing up all my stuff. It was the end of summer 2021 when we took the first drive that would start the rest of my life. We finally got to campus and got the car unpacked, my room was ready and so was I. So I said my goodbyes and settled in my new room. The first few days passed before the first day of school. We went on a bunch of trips including mini golf and a hike. When the first day finally arrived I got ready, and walked out of my dorm.
Explanation: A couple weeks ago, after powering through yet another mediocre romance novel, I once again heard the distant, tiny whisper in the back of my mind: You could write a book yourself, you know. You’ve done it before. You can do it again. After all, I was enjoying my first summer off since I was 15 years old, reveling in the endless stretches of time. Why not try to write a fantasy novel? Why not? What follows is the brief, half-baked result of an hour of feverish late-night brainstorming and writing powered entirely by Pepsi.
Disoriented, perhaps. Out of sorts, certainly. Lost, however, was out of the question.
Because being lost is a kind of hopelessness, and if she succumbed to hopelessness, she knew she would sink to the damp earth beneath her, pull her knees close and her eyes shut, and wait for the inevitability of time to blow her away on an errant breeze.
No. She was not lost. Eventually, if she ran in a straight line for long enough, she would happen upon a town, and with any luck—which, she reasoned, she was due any day now—that town would help orient her, a pin in her hazy mental map of Ceris.
And so Laurel continued to run in what she hoped was a straight line, the oppressive dark of the forest under a new moon blurring the landscape. Briars drew wicked nails across her exposed shins as she stumbled on, and tree branches lunged from the blackness to slash her face. She could feel every stone through the wafer-thin soles of her shoes, and the little toe on her left foot had worn through. If it got much colder, she feared she could lose it.
But she couldn’t think about that now. Now, she needed to put as much distance as possible between herself and the prison wagon on the main road. She was certain the prince’s guards would have noticed her absence by now, and it was only a matter of time before a small group was sent after her.
Laurel absolutely could not have suffered a single second more in that rumbling, stinking, overflowing dungheap on wheels. In the darkness of the wagon, she had endured a woman wailing for mercy to guards struck suddenly deaf; she had felt the grimy creep of a hand snaking along her calf; she had smelled the rank of rotting and infected flesh, perhaps her own among it. She hadn’t had time to evaluate her injuries before her failed escape from the palace, and though the heat in her arms could have been from the press of bodies in that overcrowded box of a wagon, it seemed just as likely that the wounds skittering up and down her arms were corrupted with disease.
The third night in the prison wagon, one of the horses had thrown a shoe in the muddy road and they were forced to stop. The wailing woman began pounding her fists on the walls of the wagon, pleading that if the guards would only listen to her, they would understand. Laurel felt the wagon shift as one of the guards jumped down, rounded to the back, and ripped the door open. She could see only silhouettes, but it seemed that everyone froze as the guard hauled himself up inside. The woman’s shrieking quieted to earnest whimpering, but still the guard said nothing as he slowly and deliberately made his way back to her. The air was heavy and thick, like trying to breathe under the blankets. Laurel realized the man’s intent the split second before he acted, but she—and all the other prisoners alongside her—was powerless to act as the man grabbed the crying woman by the neck, reared her head back, and slammed it once, twice, three times into the wall of the wagon.
“Enough! Whining!” he bellowed, his echoes reverberating endlessly through the small confines.
A familiar rage had bubbled up inside Laurel at that moment—rage that a woman would be treated so callously and violently, rage that they were seen as no more than unruly dogs in need of punishment, rage at her own stupidity for landing her in this position in the first place—and it trickled down her scalp and neck like icy water. She dropped her head, eyes squeezed shut against her lot. When she opened them, however, and saw how her hands now appeared as little more than wisps on a breeze, she realized with a jolt of surprise that perhaps her luck had not run out quite yet after all. Within seconds, she had a plan. In retrospect, it was less of a plan and more of a final desperate act, but it had to be better than merely accepting her lot.
Laurel watched as the guard unceremoniously dropped the (hopefully) unconscious woman in a heap and stalked back past her. Slowly, agonizingly carefully, she rose from her seat, clutching her manacles to her chest to keep them silent, and followed his steps out of the wagon. While he jumped down, she slipped down gently in front of him before he could close the doors again, her figure a mere shadow across the door. Unsure how long her luck would hold this time and unwilling to test it with a dead sprint into the treeline, she dropped to her knees, crawled under the wagon, and laid silently on her back, waiting with eyes clenched tightly shut for it to pull away. She had not heard any of the other prisoners speculating about her sudden absence, for which she was grateful, though she doubted it was out of solidarity and more out of shock and fear.
It could have been hours or mere minutes, or perhaps a great many eternities, but finally the wagon began to lurch off, without her.
Students in Ms. Waterman’s World Literature class read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis and were asked to reimagine the iconic opening lines from their own perspective instead of Gregor Samsa. Here is Regina’s piece!
When Regina woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, she found herself changed in her bed into a chameleon. The last couple of days, Regina didn’t feel herself. Her humor changed quicker than the minutes that passed through the clock. She hadn’t figured out her emotions completely, but deep down she knew why she was reacting in such way. There were two weeks and a half of her life in Hebron Academy and she was not prepared for it. She had done such beautiful friendships, she was not ready to say goodbye; time had already run out, and it felt like she had just arrived to Hebron a few hours ago. Regina wasn’t managing to complete her homework, her projects, exercise, or even spend a good quality time with her friends because she was always in her own world, inside her head, overthinking everything.
Regina had never laughed so much in her life than in the last eight months of her life. She never had so many true friendships. Regina hadn’t gained self confidence before school. Regina never had a boyfriend. Regina never had such a close relationship with her teachers. Regina never lived a white winter or a leafless fall. Regina never lived a blooming spring, or a saddening summer, saying goodbye to friendships that would depart to different countries, different states, and different schools. Hebron Academy had become her home, and soon, she had to say goodbye forever. Regina was very thankful for the best decision she had ever taken in her life, which was choosing that exact year to study abroad in her boarding school, otherwise, she wouldn’t have met the people that would impact her life the most. People taught her to grow self-confidence, and learn to have conversations with people. People taught her to be careless when appropriate, and enjoy and thank for everything that she had experienced there.
When Regina realized she was a normal size chameleon, she was so frightened, she couldn’t stop changing colors. When Isabella, her roommate woke up half an hour later, she screamed. She knew what her roommate was going through, but the last thing she would’ve thought, is for Regina to transform into a chameleon. “How did that happen?” she asked. Isabella and everyone else were able to understand everything Regina said, so communication was not a problem. After the girls told Dr. Tobey what Regina had been feeling lately, and her problem of being turned into a chameleon, she advised the roommates to take Regina to Ms. Willer, the psychologist. Everyone was very confused on how she turned herself into a chameleon, but everyone was looking for answers. When Regina arrived with Ms. Willer, she explained how she felt time was flying faster than ever. How she knew those worthy friendships would soon return home, and their home was not necessarily near her. She wouldn’t have to walk two minutes to another building to meet her friends, she wouldn’t be able to sneak out in the middle of the night to her neighboring friends in Halford without the dorm parents listening. Her time was up, and Regina felt like she had to hide from everyone from time to time, understanding how her life would be without them, which is why her, being a chameleon, made sense. Regina could camouflage wherever she wanted; from walls, to desks, to anything she liked. Regina wished she could have her whole life recorded, so that she could remember every single detail possible. She felt guilty for not remembering everything she lived perfectly. All of these thoughts, were representing the bombshell of colors Regina was changing into. She was feeling lonely, although that was the farthest thing far from the truth.
Carlota was a fan of chameleons, she loved to learn everything about them and so she was called over to help try and figure out what was going on with Regina. Carlota told the psychologist that chameleons are naturally very stressful animals, and there are many potential causes for their stress; in this case, the countdown to leave for home was her weakness.
While Carlota researched for more chameleon facts, JD was trying to calm Regina. He was telling her that everything would be okay, and things would be back to normal before she knew it. She was having a panic attack! What would happen to her? She hadn’t finished the school year. Would she be able to finish high-school and start college? Would she be able to go back to Mexico City? Would her family accept her back? Everything was unclear, and there was nothing Regina could do to know what would happen next. She just had to wait, let everything happen in its time.
Isabella, Carlota, Alejandra and JD were trying to do everything to calm Regina down. Nothing worked. Jokes, or anecdotes, pictures nor hugs. Talking did not help, but crying didn’t either. Something Regina loved about her Hebron memories, was that her friends opened her mind to more music. She learned to enjoy it, she learned to want more of it. She found a way to relate songs to memories she lived, so every time she thought of specific songs, a flashback would come to her mind. Regina learned to help express her feelings through music, and she loved it.
Everyone was tired of trying to find a solution for Regina’s problem, because nothing seemed to work. They were so exhausted; Ms. Waterman suggested to take a break and listen to music. They played Regina’s favorite songs, and something unexpected happened. When Regina stopped thinking of everything that bothered her, and just concentrated herself on the lyrics of the song, she transformed back to a human. Everyone was shocked at what they had just witnessed, but Regina turned into a chameleon again. Ms. Willer then came to the conclusion, that when Regina got really strong emotions, she would turn into a small talking chameleon; but they had found the solution: music.
Wind singing, golden leaves dancing, mountainside green and Flowery, sky clear and blue, how do you do? Red picnic under a Shining sun
Light reflecting off the diamond lake below me, the flowers’ scent So sickly strong, the pine trees dying and still tough and old, holding Up the sky
Grass swaying, trees rustling and playing along to nature’s song And an orange bird, what rhymes with that? I hear my own pencil Busy on its way
To write a poem, to capture the world around you, everything That swirls inside you head and heart, sky light and dark, all around you, And to Write it down
How? To start to tell you, the reader, just what it is that makes this mountain Beautiful, how? To tell you that I’ve never been to the place I describe So vividly for you.
The grass, the wind, the sky, the orange bird, all non existent, all A reality for someone else, but not me. Every word, every letter Just whispers of imagination Fragile as steam And the slightest breath will change its shape Blow it all away
Hebron Academy Middle School Writing Contest Winner
By Jenni Flynn ’25
Footsteps. Dry, clicking footsteps and a rough voice. Sweat clung to me like a second skin, fear spiked through my body. The closet reeked of cleaning chemicals and wet mops. Who am I? I am Samantha Stone. Why am I hiding in a janitor’s closet? Well, let’s just say I messed up the plan of an evil mastermind. They didn’t think a teenager would interfere. Where am I? Mercury Headquarters. East Wing. I stole back the largest diamond from under Mercury Headquarters security guards’ noses. Scarlett Mercury is the brains behind this place. It was named after her because of how sneaky and deceiving she is. She has pulled off so many bank robberies, it is rumored she’s been thieving her whole life. She is the number one most wanted, and most dangerous mastermind you will ever find. I slowly opened the plaster white door. It made a soft creek. I tensed immediately, one foot hovering out the door. After holding my breath for a count of ten seconds I gingerly continued to open the door. Suddenly I found myself falling. I misjudged the step! Down I fell, my only thought was ‘this is over, this is over, over this is.’ I hit the ground with a loud thud, the sound echoing through the narrow hallway. The diamond fell out of my bag with a soft tinkle, stopping a foot away. Pain bolted through my body, I might as well have been hit by lightning. Groaning, I pulled myself up, wincing as daggers of pain prickled through my body. I looked up, into the face of one of Mercury’s guards. Bob, I had named him, looked furious! I’m surprised he still managed to keep up with me. Bob had a very round face and black beady eyes. Bald he was, I could clearly see the sweat that was pouring off him in waves of stench. He loomed over me, heavily panting. Well, I can’t wait for him! “ Bye Bob” With that, I grabbed the sparkling diamond and started sprinting down the dark hallway towards the only door left. I crashed into it, fumbling with the handle. Glancing behind me, I saw Bob catching up, lumbering pretty fast, pretty fast for a person of his size. Finally, the frustratingly resilient door popped open with a soft click. I rushed into the room, stumbling over my feet in the rush. White steam poured out of the room in a soft whoosh. I squinted, this fog wasn’t helping. Beeps, whirls and cracks could be heard. This seriously reminds me of Darth Vader when he is about to make an entrance and seemingly kill everybody, the dark smoke, how it clears as a black robotic figure emerges out of the clouds…, STOP Bob is coming! Spotting a door in the far corner of the of the mistly room, I bolted towards it but screeched to a stop as I say the label of the door; TIME MACHINE. ONE WAY ONLY. POSSIBILITY OF COMING BACK VARIES. Ohh, I could go one way, to the past or the future. No, no, no! I began to panic, tears blurring my vision. I can’t do this, what about mom, little Johnny, my family?! My friends, my life!? I possibly could never come back to this year. How co- “ Crash!” The defending sound forced me to cover my ears. I whipped around, dread filling my body. Bob glared back at me. Abruptly, he started running for me, his thick hands out, his face cherry red. I don’t have a choice anymore. Frantically I ran to the door. There were two glowing buttons: PAST and FUTURE. Taking a deep, shaky breath, I pushed the future button. Instantly, the door yielded to my pull. Glancing back, I saw Bob still chasing me, he was close. There was no backing out of this now, With that, I jumped through the pearly white mist. It was like trying to walk on air, feeling your stomach drop on a huge ride. I squeezed my eyes tighter than they already were, hoping, praying it will end. Then, thankfully, it did. I fell, hard, on a smooth tile surface. Opening my eyes, I glanced around. This place was familiar. Glass walls that shone with red lights from within tall arching ceilings. This is like Mercury Headquarters! Then it hit me. Mercury Headquarters. The time machine. Me hitting the future button. Mercury Headquarters still existed in the future! Oh my gosh, I need to get out of here! Spinning around, I quickly looked for the nearest exit. If they caught me here, I may be dead. I would be giving Mercury Headquarters the diamond I worked so hard to steal back. Yes!, east wing exist. Snatching my bag off the floor, I ran down the dim hallway, my light footsteps the only sounds I could hear I was so close, so close, I was almost there. YES! I swirled into the exit, only to run into something. No, someone.I looked up, once again, to see the pudgy face of Bob again. Oh no, no no NO! I turned around, there must be another way! There must be! But, before I could bolt, a voice filled the the air. “ You thought you could run from me? The voice inquired. I froze. Nobody had to turn round to know who the voice belonged to. My blood turned to ice. Scarlett Mercury. I finally forced myself to turn around; and there she was. Scarlett Mercury herself. She was a tall, thin figure with cascading, glossy hair. She was wearing a red, silk cocktail dress with a silver belt around her waist, and silver Angel wings heels. She looked stunning. Scarlett smirked softly at me. “ When you are done staring at me, I would like the diamond” she said slyly. I froze. Fear immobilized me, I don’t know what to do. I could make a run for it though… As if sensing my thoughts, Scarlett snapped her fingers and Bob roughly grabbed me, twisting my arms behind my back. I kicked him frantically, struggling to break out of his grip. He had gotten stronger since the year 2018. Scarlet smiled at my efforts to escape. She leaned over and plucked the diamond from my bag. She stood there, admiring it with a triumphant smile on her face. “ How did I get here?” I asked. Scarlett looked up. “ Oh sweetie, you took a time machine. One that Ibuilt.” she said “ You know, when you go into time machines I, Scarlett Mercury make, there is always a hook, a snag, a catch.” Scarlett said dramatically, twirling her hair on a long, thin finger. “I sent you into a time loop.” Slick is seriously an understatement. If I live through this, I am so going to write a book about her. Scarlett glared at me menacingly. “I knew you would find my trap. I knew you would fall for it. And I knew I would get my diamond” She finished, looking very bored. “ Now, I don’t have time to waste. I need to steal Cleopatra’s crown. I have a deadline! Hit it Bob!” She snapped her fingers and Cardi B’s song ‘Money’ rang through invisible speakers. Scarlett twirled around, dancing to the music. “Come along now.” she said gesturing to Bob. Bob shoved me forwards, forcing me to walk behind Scarlett her. Tears welled up in my eyes. No, I’m not gonna cry. I’m not gonna cry. “ Why are you doing this and who are you?” I asked. Though I willed my voice to be strong, it broke at the very end. Scarlett twirled around. “ Who am I?” she asked, green eyes boring into me. “ I am Scarlet Mercury.” “ You won’t get away with this Scarlet Red Mercury!” I yelled after her. “ Ooh, not the full name, it’s momfor you. Yes, I like that muchbetter.” Scarlett haughtily tossed her hair over her shoulder. With that, she spun back around, regal authority in the air around her. Scarlet Mercury. My mom?!
Imagine waking up one day and realizing your identity has completely changed. You are still yourself and can still identify with your given name, but the only issue is none of that matters anymore. The year is 2060. Just yesterday you were living your mundane life without a care in the world. However, waking up this morning you realize that nothing is the same. Everything you have feared has come true and there is nothing you can do to stop it. This is exactly how I felt on the morning of February 20th, 2060.
The one part of yourself that you have kept a secret from all of those around you is finally released into the world. Your DNA. It no longer matters what you have been eating or how much you exercise every day, the only thing that matters now is your genetic code. The government announced the “Genetic Coding Program” early this morning on the news and has ordered mandatory testing for everyone to go to the nearest Coding Station. President Patricia Locust gave her address this morning and issued a National Holiday, so that everyone may be excused from work to go get tested. I am extremely petrified to go and get tested because I already know what the results will be. I wish I could say I am optimistic about this experience, but without any parents left to comfort me, I am suddenly left with an unsettling feeling.
I teleport to the Testing Clinic as soon as my dog is safe in his rejuvenating chamber. Once I arrive I wait in line just like everyone else and am sure to stay clear of the unloading zone so I am not trampled by any teleporters. We have all been given surveys on our Pearpads to fill-out before the doctor is able to see us. I wait anxiously for my turn and when my name is finally called I stand up out of the waiting room seat and walk ever so slowly to the door where my clammy hands gently turn the knob. I am asked to sit on the patient’s bed and proceed to give them my arm so they can take my blood. I know this is not the most important detail, but you think they could have found a less invasive way to get this information. Anyways… before I know it the doctor has finished and grabs this strange looking device. The perspiration on my forehead is evident as he airdrops my results. He says “enjoy your day” and escorts me out of the room. It was not until I began to read the virtual ink of my demise that I understood why he was unable to read the results out loud.
Imagine reading every single thing about yourself that you never wanted to know. All of the flaws you carry that you were never able to admit to yourself. This is exactly what reading the results felt like. My eyes followed down the screen: 67% chance of early onset Alzheimer’s, 90% iron immune deficiency, then the ones I predicted, 20% this cancer, 82% that cancer, and the absolute killer, 97.6% Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. At that moment I wish I had not known what those words meant and I hated myself for being in medical school. Those three words and 38 characters meant I would become an absolute mess of tissue where my bones should be, within a couple of years. My name was no longer of any worth and my financial status did not mean a thing. The only thing people would now see me as is a large pile of walking tissue that can barely stand up on her own. Forget about becoming a doctor, I will be lucky to live past 21.
I have been kicked out of Med school and all of my hopes of becoming a doctor are shattered. It has been only a couple of months since being tested, and the symptoms of my Fibrodysplasia are bound to come any day. My teachers told me “it is best if you just relax and enjoy the rest of your time.” Just like that, I am no longer a human being, but rather another statistic who is awaiting their death. Once the symptoms kick in, I do not even bother going to see a medical professional. They cannot do anything to help me and I would rather enjoy my last months alive outside of a hospital bed. Ironically I spend my last weeks at the hospital I had always dream of working at. Instead of tending to patients. I would sit outside of the NICU and watch as each child was ripped of their innocence when the doctor came to code the newborns. I am thankful I was able to live what short amount of time I had without fear of what would happen the next day, unlike those poor children who will wake up everyday in fear of what could happen tomorrow.