Christmas break was just the time Emmy needed to recover. The Miles had played a lot of board games, tried several new recipes, watched every Christmas movie imaginable and Emmy rested and healed. She healed physically and emotionally. When the first day back to school rolled around she was ready to go back. Except for the NG tube she looked better than she had in several months.
Stephanie had called each of her teachers over the weekend to make sure they knew about Emmy’s condition and that she was very self conscious about the tube. They all knew and were glad to hear that she was doing better. Each teacher assured her that they would take care of any situations that arose.
Monday morning Emmy got up and dressed early. Stephanie hooked her to the pump. Thankfully Dr. Hatcher had agreed to speed up the infusion so now it only took an hour to get it all in. The boys’ school started earlier so they ate and left while Stephanie went to get ready. Emmy was confined to the couch while the pump did its thing so she just watched TV.
Once the pump finished, Stephanie unhooked everything while Emmy removed her shirt. Stephanie helped her tape the NG tube down her back. She noticed that Emmy left her hair down and she assumed it was to hide as much of the tube as possible. All you could really see was the tube from her nose to her ear. Emmy had chosen a Lincoln hoodie to wear today so even the central line was hidden by the bulk of the sweatshirt.
“Ready?” Stephanie asked as she came out of the kitchen with a coffee in hand.
“Yes, Ma’am.” Emmy closed her eyes immediately realizing the mistake. “Sorry.”
“Its Ok, your nervous about today and it always slips out when you’re nervous. So I’ll let it slide this time.”
The ride to school was quiet as was the walk from the parking lot. They entered throughout the front doors and had to walk through the office so Stephanie could clock herself in through the computer. At the front desk Mrs. Stamper smiled as they walked in.
“Emmy its good to see you. You look good.”
“Thank you.” Emmy hoped that Coach would hurry and they could make it out before anyone else came in. It didn’t work. Mr. Woodson must have heard Mrs. Stamper because he came down the hall moments later.
“Emmy Taylor. No more scaring us like that. You got it?” She smiled sheepishly and nodded. He turned his attention to Mrs. Miles. “So how is it going?”
“Good. She went back to the doctor this week and everything is moving in the right direction.”
“That’s good to hear.”
“Emmy I know she’s here.” He pointed to Stephanie “but if you need anything you can always come see me. OK?”
“Thank you Sir.” He patted her on the shoulder and then went back to his office.
Up in her classroom Stephanie began readying everything for the day and Emmy just took a seat in one of the desks. She watched the clock as the moments ticked by inching ever closer to that moment when the bell would ring and she’d have to go out in the hall and face the stares.
She’d only been out twice since they’d been home from the hospital and both times she watched every eye turn to her. Emmy knew that every person was wondering what had happened.
Then it happened time was up. The bell rang and Emmy took a deep breath. Stephanie just watched her go. This was something that she had to do. Nothing Steph could say would make it any better or change the fact that everyone now knew about the cancer.
She opened the door and with her head down she headed to her locker. There she opened it quickly hoping to grab her stuff for math and make it to class without seeing anyone she knew. “Emmy.” Too late. Maisy came running up the hall toward her.
“Oh my gosh your here. I can’t believe you’re her.” She hugged her gently. “You look so good.” Maisy had the locker next to hers so she waited while she stuffed her backpack in and grabbed her math book as well.
“So how are things going?”
“Ok I guess.”
“You’ve been back to the doctor?”
“Yes. Last week.”
“And you’re still on track to play next year?”
“So far so good. The scans are next month. That’s when we find out if the chemo really worked and it’s all gone.”
“Oh Emmy I have been so worried.” She hugged her again.
“It’s going to be OK.”
“It is, because I’ve never seen a tougher person in my life, than you.”
From down the hall another person yelled her name. “Emmy, hey good to see you.” It was Sophie and Maria was with her. They both waved really big. This of course drew the attention of everyone in the hall. Everyone seemed to just smile though. Maisy could tell that Emmy was nervous so she ushered her into their first class.
Amazingly the entire day went fine. No one asked any questions or stared at her, not even at lunch. She didn’t get sick a single time all day. That was only the second time that had happened. The teachers and her classes just acted like everything was normal. By the end of the day she actually found herself smiling as Maisy told her a story about the crazy puppy her little brother had gotten for Christmas.
Immediately upon entering her room Stephanie could tell a difference in Emmy. “Hi.” Emmy smiled as she walked in and Stephanie couldn’t help but smile back. “Good Day?”
“Great day.” And that was it. They didn’t discuss anything more about how things had gone.
When they got home Brett was there waiting and Emmy looked him in the eye smiled and said “Hi” before she headed to her room. he immediately looked at Stephanie and mouthed. “WOW” and she mouthed back “I know.” It was almost like when a pitcher has taken a perfect game into the seventh inning and no one wants to mention it for fear of jinxing it. So no one did. Everyone just fell back into their routine with Emmy becoming more and more a part of their family everyday.