Chapter 37: On Stage
The assembly was scheduled for Friday during the last period of the day. The last thing Amarea wanted to do was talk about why she was sick. No one could really understand what it was like to die. Amarea was slated to go last. Her parents had honored her request and stayed home. They wouldn’t let her stay home, though. They felt it was important for people to understand who she was, to tell her side of the story. Amarea had written a speech about the history of the disease, how it had changed her life, and all the other crap Mrs. Humphries had suggested, but she didn’t want to read it.
She was sick of her school, she was sick of her disease, not her disease, the disease. So, when she stood at the podium, she was ready to explode.
“I came to this school seven months ago,” Amarea began, her voice as shaky as her hands. “No one welcomed me. No one took the time to get to know me. You’ve made fun of me, laughed at me, made me feel like an unwanted freak, all because I look different. When I was little, all I wanted to be was a chef, to cook fancy dinners in a fancy restaurant. Now all I want to do is live long enough to graduate, which doesn’t even look like it’s going to happen. I had to leave my friends, to be close to a hospital. Not close to a family member or a friend, but a building of death, pain, and misery. Imagine you were new at a school and no one talked to you. No one asked you how your day was or even said hello. You have made my last few months a living hell. You have made what could very well be my last few months alive, not even worth living. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Cancer is nothing compared with being a student at a school where no one even cares you exist.”
Amarea began to walk off the stage, but stopped when she heard someone in the audience clap.
The lone clapper looked vaguely familiar. He was standing in the back shadows.
Joey? Amarea called out.
Who else? Joey grinned.