She's Running Out of Time
"Ms. Eulalia Clearwater, where’s your family? You came alone?”
Eulalia Clearwater was baffled. She was just picking up some medical reports. Why would she need an entourage?
And speaking of family… did she even have one?
Her mom died giving birth to her, her dad saw her as a cash cow, and her brother blamed her for their mom’s death and couldn’t stand her. As for her lover… she practically fight tooth and nail for him. She almost forgot what the word “family” meant until the doc brought it up.
Eulalia snapped out of her daze and shook her head. “Just me, myself, and I.”
The doctor’s brows furrowed. He adjusted his glasses, let out a heavy sigh, and handed her a stack of lab reports with a look of pity and resignation.
"Ms. Clearwater, I’ve got bad news. You’ve got stomach cancer, and it’s pretty far along.”
He seemed to feel sorry for her, a young woman dealt such a rotten hand. He was extra gentle, like he was walking on eggshells.
Eulalia felt like the wind was knocked out of her. She grabbed the reports and scanned the numbers. She wasn’t a doc, but even she could tell her stomach was in bad shape.
She had a hunch something was up during the endoscopy, but she didn’t want to think about it.
The doctor pointed at the images, explaining everything in detail. Eulalia was half-listening, half-zoned out. The gist was, she didn’t have much time and needed to start chemo ASAP.
How long can you last with late-stage stomach cancer? She knew better than anyone – her grandpa fought it for two years before he kicked the bucket.
The doctor tried to be helpful. ”Ms. Clearwater, I really think you should get admitted for treatment as soon as possible.”
“Will that...make me better?” Eulalia’s voice was barely above a whisper, her face numb.
The doctor didn’t say anything, just gave a sad shake of his head.
Screw it then, she thought. She licked her dry lips, stood up, and stuffed the diagnosis into her bag.
She muttered a “thanks” and bolted out of the room.
Outside the hospital, it was raining cats and dogs. The rain was like ice daggers on her face. She fumbled for her umbrella, but the rain was coming down sideways. The umbrella was about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
It was March, not exactly freezing, but Eulalia felt cold to her bones. The chill seeped into her marrow and spread through her body.
Her fingers were red and numb. She held the umbrella with one hand and shoved the other in her pocket, but she couldn’t get warm.
Eulalia wandered aimlessly. She twisted the ring on her finger and looked up at the overcast sky. The weather in Windwatch City was as fickle as a pickle. Spring was supposed to be full of life, but here she was, staring down the barrel.
She flagged down a cab. When it pulled over, she slowly closed her umbrella and climbed in.
“Where to?” the driver asked.
“Sapphire Bay,” she mumbled.
After a while, she couldn’t help but pull out the diagnosis and look at the images again.
The picture of her stomach was twisted and ugly. It was hard to believe that thing was inside her.
Her stomach cancer was from hunger. She’d been married to Percival Dunraven for four years, and she’d bent over backward trying to please him, cooking his favorite dishes, hoping he’d come home to a feast and maybe, just maybe, soften up a bit.
But Percival couldn’t care less about sharing a meal with her. She didn’t let it get her down, though. She kept cooking and texting him, hoping he’d show up. But all she got for her trouble was stomach cancer.
Tears started rolling down her face. Eulalia took a deep breath. She thought she was tough as nails, that she’d seen it all.
But today, all her strength crumbled like a house of cards. Her stomach was in knots, and she was shaking like a leaf, biting back a moan.
The driver heard her crying and glanced in the rearview mirror. He’d never seen someone so utterly broken.
“Miss, what’s eating you? Heartbreak? Job troubles?” he ventured.
He continued, “Look, life’s got its ups and downs. You gotta roll with the punches. Crying won’t fix anything. Get some rest, and tomorrow’s a brand new day.”
Eulalia looked up, her smile bitter. “Thanks,” she said. It was ironic that the first person to comfort her after her diagnosis was a total stranger.
The driver just smiled and focused on the road. When they reached Sapphire Bay, he pulled over.
Eulalia paid through her phone and got out. She tore up the diagnosis and chucked it in a trash can.
A cold wind blew. She wiped her tears and put on her usual cool and collected face. But her eyes were red and puffy, and her face was pale as a ghost.
She was Eulalia Clearwater, the unshakeable, but today, she was shaken to her core.