Early mornings were always my favorite, even though most of the time I wasn’t awake to see them – but today was somehow different. The picturesque scene in front of me made it impossible to even think about leaving. The water wasn’t perfect; it wasn’t as blue as the sky on a cloudless day. It was sound however, with waves lapping against the dock just barely reaching my resting feet. The sky, shades of purple and orange, from the sun that was just beginning to rise added to the beauty of this early morning. A cool breeze against my bare arms caused me to wrap my hands tighter around my body, sinking my chin deeper into my knees. As I closed my eyes to enjoy the beauty of this moment, the reality of the day before settled, causing stinging tears to stream down my face.
The clock ticked on for what seemed like forever. As I waited impatiently in front of the grand oak desk with papers sprawled across it-almost artistically- I noticed the vast amounts of medical certificates and commemoration plaques plastered on the walls. “Huh,” I sneered to myself, “He really is that good.” I had avoided all doctors for as long as I could remember, I never took a liking for them. But I knew this wasn’t something that was going to fix itself like a common cold; it was so much more than that. I rested my hands on top of the desk and took notice to how frail they had become. They were almost transparent, revealing thin blue veins in abstract patterns. Lifeless. I shifted my eyes away from them, I couldn’t bare to look at myself anymore. My face matched the appearance of my hands complimented with dark circles and sunken cheeks. Lifeless… A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. “Hello Mrs. Blaize, I’m Dr. Ramorae,” said the man as he walked briskly to his desk. “How are you doing today?” Did he really just ask that? How do I look like I’m doing sir? Spiffy, just spiffy. “Could be worse, how about yourself?” I asked, uninterested in the small talk. “Not too bad. Alright, let’s see what we have here…” As he flipped through the few pages of the file titled with my name, his brows furrowed. “What stage?” I questioned, well aware of my condition- lung cancer. “Three. Amara, we have to begin treatment immediately. Cells from the lump in the lymph node are spreading quickly through your lymph ves-“ He trailed off using complicated medical terminology to explain my condition and the limited treatment options I had at this point. The rest of the conversation was a blur, filled with false sympathy and what were supposed to be motivational stories of patients who recovered from stage three cancers. None of it mattered, I knew my fate, I just didn’t know how to accept it.
The house was empty when I arrived. Not bothering to turn on the lights, I walked over to the dining table, throwing my wallet and keys angrily on top of it. I sat at the table fighting the stubborn tears that just wouldn’t quit, and allowed reality to set in; I was dying. I dropped my head into my hands and cried until I couldn’t anymore. The sound of keys at the door caused me to lift my head and quickly try to make myself look presentable. I didn’t want them to see me at my weakest. “Mommy, mommy! Look what we brought for you,” the twins said synchronously, pulling Noah by each arm. “You brought me daddy?” I joked trying my best to maintain my composure for the sake of my kids and husband. “No mom, It’s in daddy’s pocket!” Riley squealed excitedly while her brother, Aidan, tugged at Noah’s shirt until he pulled out a small box from his pocket. He slowly opened the box to uncover a beautiful heart shaped necklace. “Show her what it can do daddy!” Aidan said excitedly. “Patience guys!” Noah chuckled as he opened the necklace revealing a photo of him and I on one side with the twins on the other. I gasped at how perfect it was as he put it around my neck. “Thank you,” I whispered before pulling them all into a hug. “Alright kids, bed time. Go brush your teeth and change.” They both groaned and made their way towards their bedrooms. Noah shook his head with a smile and took a seat in front of me, reaching for my hands. We sat silently for what seemed like hours before he said anything. Noah was the one person who knew me better than I knew myself, I didn’t have to utter a single word for him to know the distress I was feeling. “What did the doctor say?” He asked with concern in his eyes. “I have stage three lung canc-,” my voice cracked as new tears formed, blurring my vision. I felt Noah walk over until he was standing next to me and pull me into a hug. “We’ll get through this together. You have our love and support. Nothing bad will happen to you,” he said gripping me tighter. I knew that he was being strong for my sake, but internally he was completely shattered and I was the cause of it. I barely slept that night, the night my worst fear was confirmed into a reality.
A warm hand on my shoulder startled me out of my ‘self pity party.’ I turned to see Noah still in his pajamas, rubbing his eyes, hair standing on end, and yet somehow he still looked perfect. I smiled to myself. “Hey beautiful, what are you doing up so early?” He said in a groggy voice. “Just enjoying the sunrise,” I said with a half smile. “There’ll be plenty more sunrises that we’ll both enjoy together. I promise you that Amara.” With that he kissed me on my forehead and walked me back over to the dock where we sat and watched the sunrise, my head resting on his shoulder. Before long, the twins were up and running through the backyard towards the dock. “Mommy, daddy,” they screamed as they ran into our arms. Pulling them both into our laps, we laughed and giggled the whole morning listening to their tall tales. Somewhere between Noah’s loving gazes and the twins’ excitement of life’s little pleasures, I found the courage and hope I desperately needed to fight my cancer. Gripping the necklace Noah gave me the night before I realized just how much this moment meant to me, just how much my family meant to me. I wanted to be there when the twins graduated and went off to college. I wanted to be there Aidan made the college football team. I wanted to be there when Noah walked Riley down the aisle at her wedding. Most of all, I wanted to grow old with the man I loved. So I was going to fight, and you better believe that this was one fight I was adamant on winning at all costs!