My vision comes back into focus and I see my peers surrounding me. It is my turn to climb the ladder. I lift one foot onto the first bar and begin to climb up. When I reach the top I feel the light breeze cooling my skin. I reach out and wrap my hands around the bar above my head. I stand on top of the world for a moment before releasing my hands from the bar and climbing back down the ladder, back onto the safe ground. A rush of disappointment consumes me, I ashamedly walk back to the front of the playground where my teacher has called my class to line up.
I wake up laying in the room that has been my home for 3 years now. The medical machine hooked to my arm begins to burn. I recently began having this flashback dream the past six months. The beeping sound of the machine reflects my heart beat. I often tap the bed to mimic the beat to help me pass time. Mom and Dad went to the first floor to the cafeteria to indulge in the disgusting hospital food. I was diagnosed with Leukemia about three years ago. I recently finished a chemotherapy and I was considered “clean,” but we all know how that goes. I took a test yesterday to see if it has come back but I have not received the results yet. Mom and Dad walk in the room holding a cheese burger; “Ella, you’re awake! How do you feel?”
“Great, amazing, wonderful,” I spit back sarcastically.
My mom rolls her eyes and smiles, “You are just a blessing to be around, aren’t you Ella?”
I laugh and give her a hug. My dad sits down in the chair beside my bed and strokes my hair. I see the tears in his eyes build up but he holds them back and grabs the remote to turn on the TV. I play a game in my head where I guess what he’ll turn on. Most of the time it is the football game or the news. Suddenly three light taps on the door catches everyone’s attention. Three doctors come in. The way they don’t look me directly in the eyes when they walk in the room and keep their eyes set somewhere else in the distance, I know they come bearing bad news. The tallest male doctor clears his throat, “Miss. Eleanor, how are you sweety?”
“Im okay, Dr. Webb,” I say as I secretly cross my fingers.
The doctors then turn towards my parents,”Eleanor’s test result have come in and unfortunately the results conclude that the cancer is back.”
My mom buries her head in her hand weeping. My dad tries to catch her, but she falls to her knees. Tears begin to well up in my eyes but I knew this was coming. My dad looks to the doctors with a sense of hope and cries out; “How long do we have?”
The doctors look away again into the distance and I want to close my ears and scream so I don’t hear but I don’t. I lay there still staring off into the distance just like the doctors. “Two weeks,” the doctor says quietly.
My dad falls to his knees beside my mom and they just weep. The doctors quietly walk out to give them time to process the news. I stare at the TV and memories begin racing through my head, but one that continually replays is the same one I dreamt about. It was always my goal in elementary school to complete the monkey bars but my sickness forced me to be homeschooled at grade 3. I am ten years old now and still have not been able to complete the monkey bars because of my fear. I fear what if I do not make it, I might fall, or I might injure myself. My fear of the unknown has kept me from completing the monkey bars. The children’s hospital that I live at has a playground in one of the wings. I have never went there because I never feel strong enough. My attention is diverted from my thoughts to the door when the doctors come back in holding a few brochures. Mom and Dad slowly stand up and look at the doctors with hope they’ve come to tell them that I’m okay. I can tell that I’m not and now I know what they’ve come to do. The female doctor hands my mom the brochures and says; “Eleanor, do you wanna go on a fun trip?”
They’ve come to give me my dying wish. She hands me the other brochure that she has and begins rambling on and on about Disneyland, Times Square, Universal Studios, and every other location that every kid dreams of going to. Soon I drown out everything she is saying and I just look at the brochures. She turns her attention to my parents when she realizes I’m not paying attention to her. As she is talking to my mom, I hand her the brochure back and say, “No thanks. I don’t want to do anything.”
“Eleanor, don’t you wanna go on a fun trip,” my mom asks.
Anger rushes through my body. My head feels heavy and as if it is on fire, “No mom, I don’t. I just wanna stay here! I’m dying, I don’t feel like traveling, much less going to ride rides and eating theme park food,” I bark back.
Everyone in the room looks at me. My parents hand the brochures back to the doctors. The doctors turn and walk out of the room, shutting the door very carefully as if I’d start screaming at them if they shut it to hard. My parents sit down on the couch and we all sit in silence. The silence in the room is deafening.
I wake up with a note on my chest saying that my parents went to the cafeteria. I had the same flashback dream that I have been having. A rush of energy fills me and I realize that I want to accomplish my elementary school goal before my time is up. Then reality hits me in the face, how am I supposed to do the monkey bars if I am to scared and I am not even strong enough too walk to the cafeteria. Suddenly my door opens and mom and dad walk in, “Hey Eleanor, how do you feel,” my mom asks.
I completely ignore her question and say, “I want to complete the monkey bars. That is my last wish.”
“Let's do it,” my dad says excitedly.
“Are you sure you feel up to it, honey,” my mom asks concerningly.
“I’m sure I’ll need a little help, but I need to overcome my fear,” I state sternly. I need to do this for myself. I do not want to go having any regrets or unfinished tasks. The doctors walk in and my mom explains to them what I want to do. The doctors agree to let me but what they don’t know is that I wasn’t asking for their approvement. I need to do this. They set a time for tomorrow so that I can get a good night rest for it. Eventually I fall asleep, but I do not remember when.
I wake up from the same flashback dream. I feel even weaker today, but I know I have to overcome this fear. The doctors walk into my room and tell me it’s time. I slowly hop out of my bed and follow them to the hall. When I get to the hall I see my whole family and all my favorite doctors. They all give me a big smile and follow me and the doctors down the hall to the indoor hospital playground. We all walk down the hall like a parade. I can feel my heart beating in my feet, but I shake it away. I look ahead and see the playground before me. My family and doctor family begin cheering my name.
The chants fill the hospital with energy and excitement. I walk to the monkey bars and lift one foot onto the first bar and begin to climb up. I reach out and wrap my hands around the bar above my head. My dad wraps his hands around my waist so I don’t get hurt. I reach for the second bar, and the third, then the fourth and then before I know it I had reached the other side. My family begins cheering and my dad lifts me up in the air and now I’m really on top of the world. Excitement fills my body and I feel accomplished. Excitement and love fills the room and this moment in time stands still.