One Month (English Assignment)

by Samantha Bliss

I'm barely 18 and in three months all of my friends will be graduating high school, but I won't. I'll be dead. It was just a doctor's check up, so the cancer was a shock. There is no cure. It will rest in me for a month or two then cause a quick deterioration in my brain. My heart may beat for a while after that, but that's irrelevant. Now I'm at home, but all I want to do is sleep.

I wake up when my dad gets home from work. Whose business is this? Certainly not his. He would cry, make me feel bad about it. Make me feel like I'm responsible for his pain. I don't want that burden, not now, not yet. I drag myself upstairs and make idle, superficial conversation until he seems satisfied. At one in the morning, he's gone to bed, so I pack my things. It doesn't take me long, just money, my passport, a gun for protection and a change of clothes, so by quarter past I'm locking our front door for the last time.

In need of some air, I walk to Stoney Trail bridge and sit on the edge, awaiting a dawn that comes all too soon. Nothing but a reminder of how little time I have left. Stop thinking like this. You can deal with it later. Keep your emotions at bay and walk like the dead.

I stick out my thumb, though I don't know why. Perhaps I have no choice, maybe I'm being impulsive. It's possible I'm just avoiding the inevitable.

It takes 3 days and 5 different rides but eventually I arrive in White Rock. My mum isn't home; I guess I should've seen that coming. Silly, irrational me. I leave her a note, which says only "I love you", and then hitch my way down to Seattle.

The first thing I see is a store filled with dresses. Although I've never seemed like the type, I absolutely adore dresses, but usually they're just too expensive. What does that matter now? 11 dresses and 700$ later, my account is drained and I feel numbly well. I change and throw out my normal clothes, which I secretly loathe. Pants are so restricting.

Stupid America, I'm too young to drink myself into oblivion, but at least the strawberry sorbet is cheap. I stumble through town, shivering and struggling to keep my footing. People give me looks, but I'm too caught up in my own suffering to care. I'm absorbed, I'm lost, I'm alone and I'm going to die.

Oh, the hotels, so welcoming and warm. But I have no value, what does it matter if I die here and now? What difference does it make? I curl up next to a dumpster and hope that daylight won't break my slumber ever again.

Alas it does, as it always does. I feel horrible, but I'm finally crying. Finally letting it out. A few hours pass and I can't look at this city anymore, it depresses me with its daily carefree and shallow existence. What used to make me happy? What do I enjoy? That's it! I start hitch hiking to Charm City Cakes in Maryland to get a cake I've called for them to make me. A little thing, yes, but I can't think of anything else I could possibly do right now.

Seven days, I think that's quick? Regardless, I'm in Maryland now. Another beautiful dress is thrown on, as the old, ripped up one goes into the trash. I need to look nice for Duff. The trip was uneventful; I slept for the majority of it. The general public that drives is nicer than I'd always expected.

My cake, the Millennium Falcon, is as amazing as I'd have imagined. Via the show's cameras, I give a shout out to my parents. Maybe they'll see it, and then maybe they'll forgive me for running away. I hope they don't. I don't deserve to be forgiven. I'm selfish.

I take my cake and check into a cheap motel, then stuff myself until I feel sick. I'm not satisfied. This didn't live up to my expectations. That's fun. Tomorrow, I'm going up to Montreal to visit my sisters. I miss them so much and it's close, so why not?

My dirty hair, ripped up dress, filthy face and obvious emotional distress may have deterred the border guards for a while, but eventually they let me back into my country. I'm sick of hitching and I'm worried my luck with the friendly will run out so I just take a bus to Montreal. Jessica and Lindsay are both working at this time, so I suppose I'll only visit Joanna. She was always my favourite anyways.

I clean myself up in the McDonald's bathroom. I'm an excellent liar so she believes my story about being there with my mother and agrees to go to the art museum with me. Why? I'm without an answer: I hate museums, but I love the idea of them. Whatever, I actually had fun this afternoon. I laughed, something I haven't done in the past two weeks. But it's over now, a state that everything eventually becomes. Something I'll be soon. Shut up. I told you to stop thinking about that! You're worthless if you can't even get that right. Just keep running away from your problems. Being in England will only make you even more delusional, but fine, take this flight to London.

I arrive weary, calm, yet humble. I put on my ballerina dress and sleep while awaiting twilight, where this city is most beautiful. The Eye and Big Ben are lit up while the boats mask themselves in this dusky cover. People rush to return home where their families and loved one wait, the same routine as they have every day. They're so naive, so human, and it's so pathetic.

And do they not love the rain? As they search for shelter, my heart flutters with joy and I can't help but dance on these pebble stone streets. My dress flies out and redirects the rain, and the tears on my cheeks blend in with their surroundings. I can't help but feel gorgeous right now. If only it could last forever. If only.

But forever is a term for fools, and most certainly the delusion of mine which I hold most dear. I've used up this magic, but perhaps somewhere else, somewhere people won't stare and scoff, I can find some more. Finland, I love you, albeit I know not why. Still, this is my chance to visit you. I sleep on the plane this time, highly unusual for me, whom adores the skies. But this whole adventure is tiring; it would be unwise to push myself too much.

I don't understand the signs, I don't understand the conversations. I'm completely isolated in a town with millions of people. You could define it as awesome, I suppose. This is Turku, on the south western coast. As I travel to the outskirts of town to escape the business and confusion created by cities and unfairly given to my mind, I pass a store that offers gliding. That's actually not a bad idea. It's always been a distant desire of mine, something I wanted to do when I grow up. I don't get to anymore, so I may as well.

I'm terrified... What if I crash? I could break a leg, or even worse, I could die. Oh snap. I keep forgetting the inevitable, I'm too caught up. I'm going too quickly. Well, let's go. I jump out, the instructor is trying to tell me something but I don't want to listen, I don't want to know, I don't want to feel, I don't want to care. I want to be free.

It's not like I imagined. This, this is a huge disappointment. I feel the world pulling me down, the pressure of wind on my face. But it's not freeing, just painful. It's not enough. Will anything ever be enough to satisfy my search for freedom, my search to feel alive?

In a sombre and hopeless move, I check in to some hotel. I drag myself to my bed and plummet down onto the sheets. I feel neither my limbs nor any pain. I'm just there. I exist for nothing. What have I accomplished? Whose lives have I changed? Nothing, and no one's. All I've done is follow a system developed long before I was even born, with no questions asked. It's pitiful. I hate myself. I don't even deserve to live for the next month.

I wake up in an entirely different mood. I want something, I want to try again. I call Make-A-Wish. Yeah, I'm in Finland, but maybe they can still get me what I want. I explain that I only have about a week of a functional brain left and they agree to honour my request. At 17h the next day, there's a knock on my door. I greet an old man and a middle aged woman, both of whom look rather worn out and apathetic to their surroundings. They ask for my information and take me down to their car. As we drive up to the hangar I can see them there. There are at least 50 of them, planes. But not just commercial planes, F-18s and F-22s and F-35s and ones I'd never even imagined could be so beautiful. Before I even step out of the car, I'm shaking with excitement. Nothing else matters right now, this is what I've longed for my entire life. I'm inside the plane.

Help me. I don't think I can do this. Why am I wimping out? This is what a want. Keep going... it's too late. The engines are roaring and the propellers are spinning. The pilot gives me a thumbs up and I quickly look away, hoping he won't see my fresh tears rolling down. I tuck my purple dress under my legs so it doesn't fly up, then pray to God we crash as we take off.

I feel the world weighing me down again, but this time it's rather nice. The lift is gentle, the feeling immense. I knew I was right all along; this is where I belong, up here, in the sky. Words cannot describe how perfect this is and we're not even a thousand feet from the ground yet. The rise is quick on such a fast plane, and then it starts to spin, and as we do I feel my mood turn right around. How could I have been so cynical, so pessimistic yesterday? The world is a beautiful place, and how I'd love to stay here longer. There are no real problems... nothing really wrong. Just people overreacting, right? How could there be any evil when there's something as perfect as flying. The sun, I watch it set, then the pilot, he tells me we're landing. That's it. It's done.

When asked how I enjoyed it, I respond in the expected overly enthusiastic, affirmative way, but I'm not happy or sad. I'm surreal. Walking feels entirely new, the touch of the car door feels like the scales of an alien, the sounds of the world fill my head but don't register. This inherently makes the few days absurdly odd. I sleep for 16 hours then meditate for the other 8. I can't remember the last time I ate, spoke or really thought, but for some reason I wish this were intrinsic.

Then I notice a twitch. And another. Ah, it begins. The time has come for me to go. Should I be at peace with this? Should I fight to stay alive? Should I give up? What's the meaning of life. What's the purpose of this strict organisation in our world. Why have I never done anything I actually wanted, said anything I truly believed, or felt a joy like I did in that plane. Why must we mould ourselves to a way of life, which most of us don't even enjoy. Is this really the only way?

I'm desolate, up here, all alone, in this forest. I just told the cab to drive, but why on earth would he bring me here? The dismay I felt when I saw where I'd arrived was infinite, but I had no more funds. This is it; this is where I'll be spending the last days of my life. Cold and discouraged in an ugly landscape. I make a fort in a tree, in case of wild animals. My dreams, they torment me, creatures, gnawing, scratching, and licking at my soul. Tearing apart everything I once cherished, everyone I thought I loved. Ripping down the foundations of my life, only to replace it with carbonized worlds. Maybe this is trying to tell me I should've stayed home.

When I awake, I find myself wishing to be there again. As much as it agonizes, as much as it's brutal. I want to see my parents again, I don't care if they're alive or not. I just don't want to be here. Do I have a choice? There's no where I can go. No connection to the world. Just me, a twitchy little fool, who can't even stand up straight anymore. I'm starting to see blurs, lightning and ghosts. I hear people screaming, screaming for help, but I know there's no one there. My hands stop responding, and I'm left running for life.

A bridge. Somehow I'm sitting on it. Memories of that day I sat on Stoney Trail and made the choice to leave for good. Mindless and idiotic me, naively thinking that by running away from home I'd finally feel true happiness, finally be free before I died. The most disheartening part about it is I know I'd do the same, should it happen again. I know myself too well. The futility of the situation slowly sinks in. I remember I have a gun packed in my bag.

My name is Samantha Bliss and one month ago I was diagnosed with a brain tumour which could not be operated on. Today, April 9, 2013, I die by my own hand.

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