2 - Seemingly Ordinary
He calmed down after a few minutes. He got up and drank a glass of water then returned to his laptop to click on the next video.
"Hi! My name is Sunshine Malden. You can call me Shine, 22, currently living in New York but..." James watched Shine pause and sigh in the video selfie she recorded while she sat on her bed.
She appeared to be in her studio type apartment, judging by the white ceiling and walls decorated with a few pieces of abstract and art deco paintings, a huge black leather couch with big colorful pillows and HD TV in what looked like her living room, there was a small yet full kitchen across it and a door to the bathroom just behind her.
"But... Uhm... I have to give up everything here and go back home," she said to the camera with a bitter smile.
"You see... Something happened to me. Something that changed my life, scratched off every plan I had and made me start this video journal."
James noticed how different Shine was in that video. Maybe because she just heard the news so the conflicting emotions she felt dampened her usual sunny optimism.
"Something seemingly ordinary but turned my life upside down." Shine let out another sigh before she continued.
"I started living here in New York over a year ago when The Sagamore called me for a Commis position. Having worked with them during my internship in college. I jumped on a plane, flew here, eagerly donned my chef coat and started firing up the kitchen. The plan was to get promoted to Saucier in a few months and maybe in a year or two make it to Chef de Partie. I am... was in the second part of the plan when I started having little 'accidents' in the kitchen. You know... Dropping the ladle... The pan slipping out of my hand... Burning my fingers... I didn't think too much of it until the clumsy slip-ups became too often and I started feeling numbness in my hands. So, I decided to try and find out what was happening to me. Turns out, it's not so ordinary." She shrugged.
James touched her cheek on the screen, knowing exactly what Shine found out.
"So... I went to the doctor and he told me to get some tests done... A Loooot of tests... So I had them and when the doctor called me back to his office he gave me the biggest news of my life."
Shine took a deep breath as she recalled what happened just the day before she recorded that video.
"So, he sat there, looked at me then looked down to the results and then looked back up at me again and asked. 'Do you have a friend or family member outside?' It was a weird question but I answered 'No' since I was living alone because my family is thousands of miles away and didn't want to bother anyone else. So, he asked me to sit down and blabbered on about the numbers on the paper and the test results until finally, he told me... 'You have what we call ALS. It's a neurological disease...' I'm pretty sure he said a hefty lot." She giggled and shook her head before looking back at the camera.
"But at that point, I had this surreal moment like his mouth was moving but I didn't really hear the words. It felt like he was speaking to me through a thick glass wall. ALS... Like the Ice Bucket Challenge ALS... Like all your nerves are going to die eventually ALS until you won't be able to breathe ALS."
James watched as Shine’s face slightly lit up at an epiphany.
"Then I realized as he sat there from across the desk telling me how I'll be needing all the love and support I can get, how there was no cure but I can have treatments to help relieve the discomfort as the disease progresses, how I would most likely live as long as two to five years... Hell, no! Who is this person to tell me how long I would live? Yes, I was clearly dying but aren't we all? He could sit there and die of a heart attack right in front of me. Maybe I don't die of this disease, maybe I get hit by a bus tomorrow or my plane crashes next week or maybe... Just maybe... I defy the odds and get to live a long life until I'm old and gray. We will all die somehow eventually, at least I have been warned." She then sighed again but this time it was followed by a huge grin and her enthusiastic voice as she spoke.
"So, here's a new plan. My plan is to live each day as if today is the day I die. I will live freely, love fully and do everything I want. I will make a bucket list and see how far I can go. I won't let this disease destroy everything because I AM GOING TO LIVE and you will all be able to watch it." She smiled and James was again reminded of his Sunshine's optimism which shined like that sun after a storm.
"Alright. That's it for now. That was quite a long story. Next time we'll do more, probably pack my stuff here and decide which items to give away to whom. Okay. Bye." She beamed and waved. "See you next time if there will be one but I'm guessing there will be one."
She then mouthed "Bye" as she waved goodbye and blew a kiss to the camera.