Stars Worth Searching For

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Chapter Nine

Three days later, mom and I are in the waiting room of Dr. Calloway’s office for a follow up appointment. I can’t wait to show him my new- well temporary prosthetic.

“Hey guys.” Dr. Calloway smiles at me. “It looks great.”

“Thanks.”

He puts his hand over mine. “So was it worth it?”

“Yeah, it was.”

Dr. Calloway shows me pictures of my right eye, and mom and I go check out at the front desk.

Right as we’re leaving, I notice a girl maybe a little younger than me, sitting with her mom, and the surgical coordinator. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.

“Can I wait for her?” I ask mom, quietly.

“Why?” Mom asks, confused.

Two minutes later. The girl gets up from the chair and leaves the office, tears streaming down her cheeks

Without a shadow of a doubt, I follow behind her.

“Hey.” I offer a small smile.

She offers a confused smile through tears.

“Are you okay?’ I ask.

“Yeah.” She nods.

“You sure?”

Before I know it, she’s bawling.

I know exactly what she needs. I give her a hug, rubbing her back.

“What can I do for you?”

“Nothing.” She hiccup- sobs. “I don’t think you can do anything, I’m sorry.”

“Do you want to talk about something?”

“I have to have my eye removed.” She answers.

I hand her a tissue from my purse. “I know how you feel.”

“How?” She asks.

“Because I had my eye removed too.”

She looks at me closely. “You have a prosthetic?” She asks.

“Yeah.” I put my hand on her knee. “I actually just got it.”

“Why was your eye removed?”

“I have ROP, it’s a really long story, it never fully recovered after retina detachment surgery.”

“Oh.” She gives me a sympathetic smile. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok.” I put my arm around her. “I’m much happier now, I was in a lot of pain before. My eye was causing a lot of havoc for me.”

“I’m sorry.” She says. “I have Retinoblastoma. Dr. Calloway told me that the tumor hasn’t spread anywhere yet, so he’s removing my eye tomorrow.”

“It’s gonna be hard, but you’ll get through it.” I offer a small smile.

“What’s your name?” She smiles.

“Alexandria, you can call me Alex.”

She hands me her phone. “Can you put your number in? I’m Callie.”

“Yeah. And you can talk to me whenever you need.”

I handed her the card for the counselor at the clinic. “They have professional’s you can talk to about this, you don’t have to go through this alone.”

“Thanks.” Emily smiles and hugs me. “That means a lot.”

“No problem, and good luck.” I hug her again, before heading out to the parking lot.

“I’m proud of you.” Mom puts her hand over mine.

“Why?” I ask.

“I just am.” She sighs, smiling and shifting into reverse.

I love doing good deeds, and showing people empathy and compassion, and showing them that they aren’t alone.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

“Want Starbucks?” Mom asks on the way home.

“Yeah.”

“Do you work today?”

“Yeah, and then I’m getting dinner with Leo.”

“Is Hannah taking you?” Mom asks. “Your sister has a doctor appointment today.”

“Yeah, she’s taking me before she goes to work.”

“Are you coming home tonight?”

“No, Jenny wanted to have me over for dinner, to celebrate me getting my prosthetic.”

“That’s nice.” Mom smiles. “I’m so happy for you.”

“Thanks.” I put my head on her shoulder.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

“Hey, there’s something from FAU for you.” Hannah hands me an envelope.

Already?

“Did it come with a package?” I ask.

“Yeah, there’s some more stuff in here.” Hannah hands me the package and envelope.

I open the letter, my hands shaking.

Dear Ms. Aronson,

We would like to congratulate you on your acceptance for the upcoming center, with your major in Medical Science. Please register for orientation, and then you will pick out your schedule, and pay your orientation fee.

Tears stream down my cheeks.

“What’s up?” Hannah wraps me into a hug.

“I got accepted into FAU!”

Hannah hugs me. “We’re celebrating, when you get back from Leo’s tomorrow, I’m so excited for you!”

“Thank you!” I hug her, tears streaming down my cheeks. “I’ve gotta get ready for work.”

Hannah hugs me. “I’m proud of you.”

“Thank you. I can’t wait to tell mom and the girls!”

I change into my scrubs and slip my sneakers on, and text my family’s group chat, sending them a picture of my acceptance letter.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

“So, what’s the plan, now?” Leo puts his arm around me, as we’re walking to his car.

“I have to talk to my advisor, to see what credits I can have transferred, so I don’t have to retake classes I already took, and I have a meeting with Kaycee, the scholarship counselor, to help me with my essay, so my chances to them granting me my scholarship are as high as they can be.”

“When are you meeting with her?” Leo swings our hands.

“Monday, after work.”

“Oh okay, so you’re gonna work on your essay this weekend?”

“Yeah.”

Leo takes my face in his hands, and kisses me. “I’m so happy for you.”

“Thank you.” I smile and kiss him, running my thumb across his cheek.

“So, what do you have to put on your essay?”

“I have to write about basically explaining my disability and determination, and why I need a scholarship.”

“Sounds good. Do you want me to come with you to meet with her?”

“It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just going over what I have to do to get my scholarship.”

“Is it important to you?”

“Yes.”

“Then it’s a big deal. And I’m coming with you for support.”

“Thank you.” I smile up at Leo. “That means a lot to me.”

“You’re welcome.” He slings his arm around me. “I’m proud of you.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………

“Hi!” Jemmy hugs me as soon as I walk in the door. I already texted her that I got accepted into FAU.

“Congratulations!”

“Thank you!” I smile and hug her again.

“When are you meeting with the scholarship counselor?”

“On Monday.”

“I bought you a cake.”

“What?”

She laughs, leading me into the kitchen, presenting me with a small cake that says: Congratulations, Alex.

“Thank you.” I hug her. “Can I help with dinner?”

“No, go have fun with him.” She rolls her eyes. “I’ll make dinner for you two later.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I head up to Leo’s room, so excited that I skip up the stairs, and end up tripping over a step, and falling backwards.

“Leo!” Jenny calls.

“Oh my god.” Leo helps me up. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” I say, not wanting to make a big deal out of it. I don’t feel any different.

“Probably just a rug burn.”

“You have to be careful, honey.” Jenny comes into the foyer, “Do you need some ice?”

“I’m taking you to the doctor on Monday.” Leo says, taking my arm, and leading me to his room.

“Leo, I’m fine. I work on Monday.”

“Alex.” Leo says, patiently. “Please let me take you. Just to get checked out.”

“Okay.” I put my head on Leo’s shoulder.

He kisses my cheek. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” I smile. “I’m sure everything will be fine.”

Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “I hope so.”

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