Thursday, 26 March 2020





Jack was a great guy. He was one of those guys that had tattoos covering every inch of both arms, down his chest and back. He was an artist like me, and he proudly displayed his work. His black eyes matched his long dark hair which he frequently wore back in a ponytail. He started with Connors name on my left wrist. The sting was bearable. Don’t get me wrong, it felt like a thousand tiny pins were being poked in me, but I’ve been through much worse. After a couple of hours, Jack was finally finished. I looked at my wrists and smiled.

“The redness will go away in a few days, just make sure you keep moisturizer on them so it won’t itch as bad.

“Thank you Jack, they’re beautiful.”

“Do you have a ride home?” he asked.

“I’m going to call a cab.”

He looked at the clock. “It’s midnight; I’ll have Donny close up and I’ll take you home.”

I smiled, “It's ok Jack, really, I’ll just call a cab.”

He grabbed his coat, yelled for Donny to close up and told me to get in his car.

“If I’m not mistaken you live by my girlfriend, and I’m heading that way anyway; it’s no problem.”

I walked into my apartment, and first thing I did was grab my laptop, change into my pajamas, climbed in bed and opened my email. The first step in getting on with my life was apologizing to Connor, and I owed him a big one. I hit the compose button as a blank page came up:

Dear Connor:

I hope you’re reading this and didn’t delete it before you opened it when you saw my name. If you are, then you’ll see this is my heartfelt apology to you. Words cannot explain how sorry I am for not telling you about my illness from the start. I never meant for us to get as close as we did for that very reason. The night I took you home I had every intention of leaving and never looking back; if I had, we wouldn’t have met and you wouldn’t be hurting right now. I will never forgive myself for not telling you the truth. I believe in fate, and it was fate that brought us together. I told you I was saved for a reason, and I think it was to save you. You have a beautiful heart and soul, and you don’t deserve to never love someone. You will never know what you’ve done for me and how you’ve changed my life. I never would have experienced love the way I have with you, because what you showed me, and how you made me feel, was a first for me in my lifetime. I never loved Kyle. I was with him because he was there and I was afraid of being alone. It is what my whole life was made of, loneliness. My decision not to get treatment at the time was out of pure selfishness on my part, and I’ve come to understand that now. I want to thank you for your love and kindness. If I had one last breath left, I would use it to tell you how much I love you, because I do and I always will. Love forever, Ellery.

Tears filled my eyes as I hit send. I took in a deep breath, closed my laptop and fell asleep.

I threw on a pair of leggings, my pale pink long sweater and my black boots. I put some curls in my long hair and applied some makeup for the first time since Michigan. I opened my laptop and checked my email, nothing. I didn’t expect there to be any reply from him, but one could hope.

I called a cab and headed to Dr. Taub’s office for blood work. I examined my wrists and smiled at the beauty of Connors name and the infinity symbol. I entered the office building and took the elevator up to the fourth floor.

“Hi, I’m Ellery Lane, and I’m here for some blood work,” I said to the young girl behind the desk.

“Yes, I have your file right here, I just need to copy of your ID.” I dug through my purse and retrieved my driver’s license and handed it to her. She took notice of my wrist with Connors name.

“Oh my god, that is awesome,” she said.

I smiled and thanked her as I showed her my other wrist. The scars were barely noticeable, and for people who didn’t know, they wouldn’t see them. The nurse called my name and took me back to the drawing station. She asked me if I was nervous about needles and I laughed.

“I’ve been through chemo before, so giving blood is nothing.”

She managed to force a smile; I don’t think she thought that was too funny. She drew 3 vials of blood and told me to have a good day.

I left the medical building and decided to walk around for a while before calling a cab and heading home. I walked a few blocks doing some window shopping when a text came from Peyton,

“Hey girl, on the plane, headed to Colorado, tell me you’re doing ok.”

I smiled and replied as I walked down the street. Unaware of my surroundings, because I was too engrossed in texting my best friend, I collided into someone.

“Oh shit, I’m so sor…” I started to say as I looked up at the man I just ran into head on. I took in a sharp breath and looked down, “Connor, I’m sorry I didn’t mean…” I couldn’t even look him in the eyes; I was so ashamed. My heart started pounding so hard it felt like it was going to jump out of my chest.

He stood there staring at me, “No, it’s my fault I should have been paying more attention.”

We stood there in front of each other, awkwardly, with his hand lightly touching my arm. I pulled away; the pain was too strong and I felt my throat closing up.

“I have to go,” I mumbled as I turned the corner and didn’t look back. I reached an alley way between buildings and I stood with my back against the brick trying to catch my breath. All the emotions I tried to force away came flooding back and bruising what was left of my soul.

I ended up walking home which was about 10 blocks from where I was. I didn’t care; I needed to try to clear my head. I walked through the door, panting and completely exhausted. I made a pot of coffee, and as it brewed, I sat down in front of my easel and continued my painting of the wedding in Central Park. I wanted to get at least 2 more paintings finished before I started chemo. I was up till 2am, and it was finally finished. I painted it with the vision of how I would want my wedding to be; just a delusional thought from my head. I took my brushes over to the sink and let them soak as I went to bed. Tomorrow, I would paint a new picture.

Morning had come and gone. I was woken up by my cell phone ringing, “Hello,” I sleepily answered.

“Ellery, it’s Dr. Taub. Your blood results came back, and I’m a little concerned about your hemoglobin level. It’s a little low, but I’m going to go ahead and start chemotherapy anyway. I’m going to schedule your first treatment one week from today, but first I’m going to prescribe you some iron pills I want you to start taking immediately.”

I rolled my eyes, “Ok Dr. Taub, one week from today 9:00 am.”

I looked at the clock as it read 12:00 pm; I couldn’t believe I slept in that late. I put on a pot of coffee and rinsed my brushes. I took a quick shower and got dressed. I noticed the pile of clothes lying in the laundry basket that needed to be washed; I hadn’t done laundry in a while. I sighed as I picked up the basket and set it by the door. I filled a mug with coffee and headed off to the laundry mat; thank god it was only around the corner. After a couple of hours, I finished my laundry and walked back to my apartment where I saw Kyle leaning up against the door.

“What do you want Kyle?” I yell before I approached the walkway. He was standing there with his hands in his pockets staring at me.

“I wanted to see how you were?”

“You could have texted me, not just shown up here.”

This is just what I needed; this a**hole to ruin my day. I wasn’t in the mood, and I needed to start painting.

“Here let me help you,” he said as he took my key and opened the door. I walked in and set the basket in my room. When I came out I noticed him staring at my painting.

“Elle, this is beautiful.”

“Yeah, isn’t it? Now what do you want Kyle?”

I was being mean, but I didn’t care; I loathed this boy standing in front of me and for what he did.

“Like I said, I wanted to see how you were doing.”

“Bullshit Kyle; I’m fine, now you know; now you can leave.”

“Elle, stop acting like this baby,” he said as he swiftly moved closer to me. Before I knew it, his mouth was on mine. I pushed him away with force.

“What the f**k are you doing?”

“Elle, don’t fight it, I know you still love me and I want you so bad.” I stood there in shock by his words and by his actions; I didn’t know what to say.

“Really Kyle, you think I love you? Let me tell you something you scum sucking, loathing little worm; you leaving me was the best thing that ever happened in my life. I never loved you. You were a convenience for me, someone to fill the lonely spot in my world.”

His face turned red and angry, “You’re a f**king bitch Elle,” he screamed.

“Takes one to know one Kyle, now get the f**k out of my house before I seriously hurt you.”

“I’d like to see you try,” he said.

I picked up a vase that sat in the corner of my desk and threw it at him. He ducked as it shattered against the wall.

“You are one crazy bitch; I’m outta here.”

I ran and locked the door, avoiding the tiny pieces of glass that were scattered across my floor. I heavily sighed as I cleaned up the mess I made, remembering the first time I met Connor in his kitchen, and I dropped the mug on his floor.

The whole week I never left the apartment except when I went to the hospital to have a port put in for chemo. I concentrated on finishing my paintings and successfully I did. Sitting in front of my easel was the only time when I felt somewhat normal. My heart was still shattered, and my soul was empty. I felt lost and broken and no matter what I did I couldn’t shake the feeling, so I just existed.

My first treatment was tomorrow morning, and I was scared. I had no one to be there with me. The first time I went through chemo, my dad managed to stay sober long enough to be there for me during my sessions, but as soon as we left the hospital he hit the local bar. Now, I was all alone facing cancer and chemo once again, by myself.

Tears came to my eyes as I threw myself a little pity party. I had some friends, but I was in no way going to have them stop their lives to help me. I took the paintings to the art gallery and terribly missed seeing Peyton’s smiling face greeting me at the door. She had one more week left in Colorado. Sal shook his head when he saw my paintings.

“Ellery, these are beautiful, you are so incredibly talented, I know these will sell quickly,” he said as he moved them over to the empty wall. I gave him a hug and thanked him.





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