Aubrey heaved a breath as she ascended the slope. Ratcheting her pedals she climbed over rocks, relishing the feeling of her suspensions in action. Strong and powerful pedal strokes carried her to the top where she quickly slipped down the slope. The wind toyed with the golden blonde strands of hair that had come loose during her ride, and the exhilaration of her increasing speed took her breath away.
Aubrey could see the finish line in the distance, a mass of people gathered around to cheer her on as she raced to claim her victory. She searched the crowd as she pedaled, her gaze falling on someone motioning toward her. A man, tall and dressed in scrubs, the kind you would find someone wearing at a doctors office. A look of concern was etched across his features as he motioned for her to get off the track, confusion erupted and Aubrey slowed.
Other racers sped past her, the crowd roaring as they slid across the line. One. Two. Three. They passed her in a blur of color and noise, but she too soon found her wheels sliding across that line. When Aubrey looked back at the man, he was staring at her somberly, shaking his head as he faded from view.
“Aubrey. Aubrey are you listening to me?” A female voice laced with worry jerked Aubrey from her daydream.
“Yeah, yeah.” Aubrey mumbled as her gaze refocused on her surroundings. She sat in the waiting room at a doctors office, children moved around restlessly as their parents attempted to keep them contained, the secretary tapped noisily on her keyboard, and her mother stared at her expectantly.
Aubrey's mom was a shorter woman with strawberry blonde hair, sharp facial features, and piercing ochre colored eyes. Aubrey’s own features mirrored her father’s, golden blonde hair framed her softer features, freckles dusted her nose and hazel eyes met her mother’s gaze.
“No, I wasn’t listening.” She admitted,
Her mother sighed, “Aubrey, I was saying that if Dr. Madson were to confirm that you have leukemia, I don’t think you should race again this season.”
Aubrey’s heart dropped as her mother continued, “Just promise me that if you are sick you won’t race. If this just all turns out to be a false alarm you can race, but if not...just do this for me.”
Aubrey’s thoughts raced as she turned her mother's request over in her head. Give up racing? Racing was her life! She studied her mother´s expression, she really was worried. Sighing, Aubrey offered a nod. “Ok, mom. But only if I´m sick.”
“Aubrey Moore, Dr. Madson is ready for you.” The nurse’s silky voice dragged their attention to the door leading to the truth, to the answers that they’d been waiting for. A truth that loomed threateningly down that hall.
Her legs felt as if weights had bound themselves to them, holding her back, causing her to trudge towards that horrid door as if she was marching toward her quietis. Although she refused to admit that term was quite appropropriate in this case, she still found herself soon sitting on a hospital bed. The white paper stretched tight across its surface and her mother sitting across from her.
A strong smell tickled her nose, like medical supplies that had been sitting in the closest for too long. Aubrey’s nerves crawled when the door to the office slid open and she found her gaze falling on the man that had frequented her daydreams. Dr. Madson was a tall man with pointed features, discerning green eyes, a lopsided smile, and wore scrubs that clung to his thin frame.
He offered Aubrey a smile, “Good morning Miss. Moore. Tell me how you’re doing.”
A frown conquered the smile she had plastered on her face, “Just the usual. Abnormal nosebleeds, easy bruising, and I get tired easily.” His smile twitched slightly downward for a second, but Aubrey didn’t miss it.
“What have you decided then?” Her mom’s voice was thick and she sounded like she had to force the words from her throat.
Dr. Madson rendered a sympathetic smile, “Mrs. Moore, I’m sad to report that your daughter has Leukemia.”
Something stabbed at Aubrey’s chest, she couldn’t breathe, someone was talking to her but her ears were ringing. She couldn’t focus, her throat was closing off, she ached, and she could feel the tears carving their salty paths down the curves of her face. She could picture the trail, the exhilaration of crossing the finish line, the rush of air whipping past her. And that image was slowly fading, the darkness setting in. Choking her until it enveloped all that she could see.
Because Aubrey Moore had Leukemia.
Aubrey awoke in her bedroom, inky blackness had long since set in casting shadows in the corners of her room. Confusion fogged her thoughts as she looked around. It wasn’t until the the day’s events hit her that the haze began to fade.
Dr. Masdon's office. The truth. Her emotional reaction. Her mom carrying her to the car. Her Dad tucking her in bed whispering that everything was going to be ok. But the truth was, it wasn’t going to be ok.
Truth was such a horrible thing. It had a way of ripping those unwilling to accept it apart piece by piece. Leaving behind something broken, something that can eventually heal and grow. But people had such a way of running from the truth, and it always finds you. Digging into your thoughts and dragging you down.
Aubrey found herself unable to drag her thoughts from that doctor’s appointment, those small moments that would forever change her life. It’s funny how just a few short and brief minutes can abruptly change the path your life is taking, Aubrey wished she could change those words delivered into the thick air, “Mrs. Moore, I’m sad to report that your daughter has Leukemia.” The words leaked with sympathy in her memories, a type of emotion that dragged and pulled at her heart.
“If only…” Aubrey whispered as her thoughts turned to the team, “Suppose they’d miss me?” She asked the empty room,
“Maybe…” She muttered, her eyes falling on the registration form on her nightstand.
Aubrey could see passing blurs of colors, the roar of the wind mixed with rising voices echoing around her, the memories tempting her as she reached for the paper. She jotted down her information, scribbling fast. The decision was made. She was going to race this season. Leukemia or not.
Author Notes: Ok, so this is going to be the last story that I write until the fall. But I'll submit it in parts, so we'll have to see how it goes. Thanks for reading guys!