It was an average day in Chemistry, a worksheet here, an activity there. I sat at the lab bench munching on Double Bubble. I was determined to find out the percent composition of sugar in gum. My lab partner and friend, Carolina, sat quietly beside me chomping her gum too. We were listening to the conversation of two guys sitting across the table from us. I had heard it before. Cancer… they were talking about cancer.
The lighthearted way it rolled off their tongues began to irritate me slightly.
It was not until they began joking about it that I began to ask myself, “I wonder if I should tell them?”
The thought barely entered my mind before the words were coming out of my mouth.
In the utmost matter of fact manner, I stated, “Actually, I had cancer.”
Their immature faces dropped and landed in a twisted heap on the linoleum floor. With their mouths slightly agape, their expressions displayed a complex mix of thoughts encased in shock. The naïve chatter had transformed into complete silence. I could have wacked them over the head with a triple beam balance and it would not have surprised them more.
Unable to form grammatically correct sentences, the occasional, “Oh, really,” “Um,” “ Ahh,” escaped them.
Although they assumed it was a sensitive subject to me, I was secretly in hysterics on the inside.
Their faces remained in a state of disbelief. Their minds tried to grasp the fact that a kid could get cancer, survive it, and look like I do.
Hello, welcome to reality… yeah…. Kids get cancer too…
On my way back to my desk, I saw them whispering to each other and discreetly glancing at me. They didn’t look at me the same way.
I think I changed ‘em.